Chicago Sun-Times

Smith must deal with an obvious obstacle

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Bears coach Lovie Smith downplayed any concern about drawing interest for his coaching vacancies.

"There is an opportunity for you come here to help us do some good things. We have a good nucleus of players here, that they all see," Smith said last Tuesday. "I think an offensive guy would want to come here and have a chance to work with a Jay Cutler, and have a chance to mold some of the young receivers and get the offense back on track.

"I think a defensive guy would want to come here and coordinate a defense with a guy like Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, and guys like that, and fix some of the third downs. I think he is going to look at it and he's not going to see a lot of big holes; he's going to look at us tightening up a couple bolts to get back. Somebody will want to do that."

Yes, somebody will surely want those jobs.

But there's one challenge that Smith can't promise: a long-term future.

Smith will get paid $11 million whether he coaches the Bears through the 2011 season or not.

But the most coveted candidates may not want to join the Bears staff, even if they sign a two-year contract. In essence, they may have only one year to prove themselves. And in the event Smith is let go after the 2010 season, it's quite a risk for a new assistant coach to hope that they can vie for the head coaching position or impress the new guy.

Given the choice, most assistants are going to pursue jobs with some security.

ESPN reported that was one of the reasons Jeremy Bates passed on a chance to re-unite with Cutler. According to ESPN, "long-term security with (Pete) Carroll was a major factor in his decision to join the (Seattle) Seahawks rather than the Bears."

But, people who know Smith may be more inclined to take that risk.

Someone like former Bears defensive backs coach Perry Fewell, who is interview with Smith today, or former St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator and head coach Mike Martz.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on January 11, 2010 12:33 PM.

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