Chicago Sun-Times

Lovie Smith talks about coaching moves; offensive staff will remain in tact, Babich to coach LB's

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Bears coach Lovie Smith is holding a teleconference at this moment, addressing changes that have been made to his staff in the beginning of the offseason.

We will have a complete breakdown and analysis when it is over. Some key points already:

*** He said a nine-win team is going to the Super Bowl, proof the Bears are not far away after a 9-7 season.

*** Said he is excited about the additions to the staff, and said the offensive coaching staff will remain in tact.

*** Smith said Rod Marinelli will be the assistant head coach and work with the defensive line, as we know.

Bob Babich will continue to be the defensive coordinator, and he will also be the linebackers coach. That means the staff was completed today when Jon Hoke was named secondary coach.

*** Gill Byrd will remain the assistant secondary coach. Eric Washington will remain the assistant defensive line coach.

*** Smith said with Babich working with the linebackers that Smith will help coordinate the defense, and he will be more involved this season.

"I'm excited about taking a more hands-on approach," Smith said.

Check back soon for more details.

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20 Comments

Smith said Urlacher was pro bowl and MVP when Babich was his LB coach so he's going back to the position he excels at. Smith also said he will call defensive calls next season during games. Should be interesting, Smith actually calls a good game and has a much better feel for defensive adjustments than Babich ever showed. Now hopefully they stop doing that stupid Mug Up look when the QB is in shotgun.

Just great...now Babich has even more responsibility. Brilliant!

Great job, Lovie!!! I can hardly wait to read what all you negative losers will say now. The "fans" in this town suck!!

what this really means is that Marinelli is most likely the DC now and this is a way for Babich to save face.

I really can't argue with Babich as the linebackers coach. The linebackers played at a very high level between 2004 and 2006. What's becoming apparent though is that he had some incredible talent to work with. What's also becoming apparent is that much like Lovie, Babich seems to be a real "hands-off" guy. That's great when your job is to say "alright guys, just do that thing where you absolutely hammer someone" to Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. That's not so great when you're the coordinator of the whole defense. But then again, it seems pretty clear that Lovie installed Babich as the defensive coordinator because he had or was willing to adopt that same attitude in his new role.

The Cover 2 only delivers consistently positive results if the front four is able to create an effective pass rush and disrupt the quarterback by itself. If that threat isn't there, the entire defense gets exposed and falls apart. The other quarterback tends to make less mistakes when he could do his taxes in the time in takes for someone from the defense to get in his face. It doesn't matter if the Bears don't call a Cover 2 on every play because an opposing team doesn't need to score or even gain yardage on every play to win a game. Plus, if you're the Bears, there's the psychological disadvantage of knowing your team isn't equipped to run the plays that are being called.

The Bears haven't had a front four that could consistently apply pressure by itself since December '06, when Tommie Harris got hurt and Tank Johnson was finally let go. Some people say Tommie Harris hasn't returned to the level he was at in the '06 season since, and virtually everyone agrees that Mark Anderson hasn't either. On top of that you've got a declining Ogunleye, a second-round bust in Bazuin, and the obviously injury-prone Dusty Dvoracek. As if that weren't enough...hey, I liked Darwin Walker and I like Anthony Adams too, but shouldn't that playing time being going toward guys like Idonije or Marcus Harrison who have a chance of being on the next Bears Super Bowl team, whenever that happens? I'm all for having depth, but I think we need to figure out who our long-term starters are first. Man I hope Rod Marinelli works out, otherwise we're going to be in 2nd-place-in-the-NFC-North territory for years.

Good move I think. should work out but why does lovie keep goin to bat for babich?

Why beat around the bush? Just make Rod the head coach and Lovie the DC.

No, it sounds to me like Babich has less responsibility. At least on game days, when it counts.

Dennis Gentry,

I love old #29!!

Your comments about the Cover 2 and the impact of the declining DL play is spot on. You hit the nail on the head. Without pressure from the DL, this scheme can be exposed. It was in 2008.

Both in Tampa and here when you have a NT that requires the double team, it forces the opposing OTs to go solo with speed rushers. So you can put pressure on the QB without a blitz.

As was mentioned at the end of the year, the Bears D were among the high percentage of blitzes per play. IOW, we couldn't get pressure on the QB with only the front four. Leaving huge holes in the seam between the safeties and the LBs.

Football still is a game from the line of scrimmage out. DL and OL play is the key determinant.

Again, good post. Thanks.

As long as we play cover-2; i.e. cover-0, prevent, give-up defense, the Bears will NEVER amount to much.

The philosophy of the Bears seems to be like that of our government. Over-spending (by individuals plus the government) got our economy into the mess we are in, so we are going to spend even more money to fix things. For the Bears, playing back, via the cover-0 defense cost us dearly vs. Carolina, Tampa, Atlanta, gb, and Minnesota . . . so now the face of the cover-0 Defense himself will be taking the reins. Does anybody remember what happened in the Super Bowl when we stopped attacking.

Somebody wake me when we decide to play REAL football.

Lovie's plan of calling D plays is a good one. Babich moving back to the linebackers is good. Keeping the Offensive coaches is ok only if they fire them next year if the play calling still remains so predicable.
Can't someone from the Bears offense copy some of the route patterns etc of teams like the Cardinals?

It does seem to me that the Bears are starting to show signs of making progress for next year. What they do in Free Agency and the draft is paramount to taking the next step.

Only one last thing to add and that is the intangible word passion that teams like Baltimore and Pittsburgh seem to always have and what the BEARs used to have...... JA, Lovie and company how can the Bears get the passion back?

By Shemp: "Great job, Lovie!!! I can hardly wait to read what all you negative losers will say now. The "fans" in this town suck!!"

A++++++++++++++!!! Would read again!!!

Holy hell that was the funniest comment I've read on this board in a long, long, long time.

Hey there, Pot? Kettle's on line 1 and he told me to tell you "You're black!" LOL

JPCZ

you are aware that every team plays the cover-2 defense in some form...and that its not our "base" defense...the 4-3 is the base...the bears only are in cover-2 1/3 of the time and this season they blitzed the most out of any other team in the nfl

AND

if the cover-2 is such a bad defense then how has it managed to be around since at least the 60's and they are current teams who "cover-2 teams" who are very successful with it

the scheme isnt the issue...

nor was it an issue in 05 and 06

can we please put this fallacy into the same casket as the bears are cheap. PLEASE

I think this could work. But too much time and money is spent on the defense. More time and focus should be spent on the offense.

That was a test. For some reason, I have trouble posting on this blog.
I agree with the moves that have been made. Lovie is the best defensive play caller on the team. So why not use that resource that we already are paying for. I really don't understand why it wasn't done sooner. Many offensive minded coaches call their offensive plays, so this doesn't hurt the team at all. It's been done before. Rod had success as a D-line coach, so hopefully he helps with the pass rush and penetration at the point of attack. I still believe that a pass rushing DE still needs to brought in. Babich has had success with the LB's, but I believe that is mostly due to the talent we had. Briggs continues to play at a high level. But Urlacher has lost his motivation and Hunter has lost a step. Roach has already replaced Hunter, so that should help us out. Now if Babich can find a way to motivate Big Url, the LB's should be alright. As far as the secondary goes, I'm still an advocate of Peanut at FS. He has the range needed at that position, and has never shown any fear of sticking his helmet in there to make a play. Graham and Vasher (if still here) makes a decent tandem. But we still have Mcbride, who played well in Vasher's absence, and Bowman. Payne and Brown (if around) will continue to man the SS. Payne should be better after having a year under his belt. I do wish that Brown stays with the organization in some capacity. Either as a player or as a Coach. He's a solid guy. These moves should help our defense. We have the talent. We just have to put it all together and find that word "Passion" to throw into the mix. Go Bears!

As I said, hopefully these coaching moves help the team. JUSTINCREDIBLE, great post. You are absolutely correct. I've said the same thing before. But you'll continue to see posters yapping about cover-2, when they have no clue what they are talking about. Most just heard someone else say it and jumped on the bandwagon.

My biggest concern with this team is the offense. So much time and money is spent on the defense, while the offense continues to struggle. For years, this offense is constantly in the bottom half of the league in just about every statistical category. That is a problem to me. In todays league of High Powered Offenses, all defenses get scored on. That's just a reality. So, we need an offense that can score points consistently and with the best of them. We've seen the changes made to the coaching staff on the defensive side. Why non on the offense? We see numerous players go to other teams and shine. But when they were here, they hardly played or were busted. Shouldn't our WR coach be looked at for not developing players here? Shouldn't our O-line coach be looked at when we see former players starting and playing well else where? Shouldn't our play design and playcalling be looked at when everyone calls our offense predictable? We draft many players, but none are developed here. They hang around on the practice squad or are released. Shouldn't our scouting crew be looked at? We have True WR's on the roster (Bennet and Rideau), yet they are not playing. While we have invented WR's (Hester and Davis) on the field constantly. Why do fast, athletic guys play cornerback? Because they can't catch well enough to be a WR. Thus, all the dropped passes. Both Hester and Davis came to us as Cornerbacks. My point is this, we should stop relying on the defense to carry this team. We need an offense that is formidable and can score points consistently. So all areas of that side of the ball should be looked at with just as much diligence as is on the defense. Much money was spent to build the defense. Now put some money into the offense. And don't send me a has-been WR and say that the offense is better. We have talent on the offense. We just have to develope them and play them. There is no reason for Bennett and Rideau to have been on the bench, when our starters are dropping easy passes on a regular. Go Bears!

the offense pre orton injury was actually one of the highest scoring in the nfl

and in 06 they were the highest scoring offense in the nfl(and dont give me crap about special teams and defense scoring other posters...i did the math they avg 24 pts per minus d and special teams...which is still more than enuff to win most games)

and they HAVE spent big money on the offesne...you can question whether it was good money...but benson left out of chicago with a lot of money...so did mushin...JA BOUGHT Himself a good o-line...no one who's played on that line since like 05 was home grown and drafted except beekman and kreutz...

not to mention the money spent on williams to get back surgery

and the fact that the playoff teams left are 1,2,3 and 16th in defense shows you why so much money was and is pumped into it...defense wins championships...
i think the bears could stand to spend money on offense a little more wisely...BUT they have spent a lot of money attempting to fix the offense...bring in free agents...draft offensive 1st round picks (pun intended)they just havent really gotten bang for thier buck...with the exception of thomas jones...

Reggie & JustIncredible,

Nice comments. One idea that seems interesting based on our personnel is a heavy TE set for the O. I think it plays to team's skills. We have a QB who is best at throwing the screens and to big targets across the short and intermediate middle and not so going deep. We have the receivers that are better in the short and intermediate routes. Our two best receiving threats are Forte and Olsen. Clark is equally good. One of their best formations this year was Olsen or Clark replacing the FB and working as a H back. Multiple TEs allows a team to have strong formations to both sides of the ball. If you go to 3 TEs and no FB you'll still have a lone WR. If Kellen Davis develops then we have 3 big pass catching TEs in a formation. Now Davis is best known for his missed block on 4 & 1 in Carolina but he was a monster of a pass catching TE at MSU. So going 3 TEs would force other teams to get out of a nickle package and put 8 or 9 in the box (to prevent the run) because of the multiple TEs. But the speed/size of our TEs means a D that overcommits to the run is vulnerable to mismatches in the D backfield.

The key to this formation is not those already mentioned rather it is having an OL that becomes better at drive blocking -- to force teams to put 8 or 9 in the box. Dan Buenning (sp?) is a drive blocker; Garza not so much. St. Clair is a better drive blocker than he is a pass protector. The OL outperformed expectations last year it was one of the biggest surprises of the year. An upgrade in this unit would have a beneficial impact on the rest of the O.

Still the main point is having a 3 TE set is something plays to our strengths. I would love to see it in action in '09.

Reggie & Just(notvery)Incredible,

I've probably missed less than 5 plays from Bears games in the last 10 years, and have probably missed less than 10 games in the last 30, so I am indeed watching. 'The bears are only in cover-2 about 1/3 of the time' . . . talk about spewing someone else's talking points. YIKES!

What I see the cover-0 as is a defense that bets that the other team can't put together 8-12 play drives and go 80 yards for TDs. It prides itself on not getting beat deep, but rather having receivers catch the ball underneath and having the first defender there making the tackle (something the Bears as a whole are NOT particularly adept at doing). I also see it relying on turnovers and/or penalties to help keep the other team from scoring, but you guys REALLY know your football, so I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.

Now, go ask Lovie, and any other proponent of this SISSY defense, and my guess is they will tell you the same as I just did. Then again, I might have just heard someone else say this.

I would prefer a defense that attacks . . . if you don't get there with 5 (which we send on a regular basis . . . where are the sacks?), you bring 6; if not with 6, you bring 7 . . . etc. Buddy Ryan understood this very well, as does his son.

If you look back to the Bears-Colts Super Bowl and what happened after Daniel Manning was burned badly by being out of place (I saw Reggie Wayne in my nightmares for a long time) . . . the defense loosened up; i.e. cover-0, we stopped attacking and had no chance. Do you really think it was Ron Rivera calling the plays from that point forward?

It seems the teams that have beaten us since that game have it figured out: be patient and take the 7 yard quick slant that is available on nearly every snap, and you'll beat the Bears.

Then again, you guys already knew all of this . . . I'm just helping remind you!

JPCZ, how are you my man. I see that you made comments about my post. But I'm not sure why. I talked about people complaining about Cover-2 and how it is not used that often. You replied to that with talk of the Cover-0. That sorta solidifies my point. You also said that they send 5 on a regular (a blitz). Which is true. But, that also solidifes my point once again. If they're running Cover-0 or blitzing, then that cancels out the cover-2. So I truly don't understand the cause of your comments. I too watch all of the games. And I too have been doing so for over thirty years. You are not the only fan on this site. But if we are both fans, then lets focus on the real issues instead of personal attacks on one another. It's senseless. Go Bears!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on January 13, 2009 1:00 PM.

Bears agree to terms with Hoke as new secondary coach was the previous entry in this blog.

Lovie to call the defense; Babich retains coordinator title and will coach LB's is the next entry in this blog.

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