Chicago Sun-Times

Smith insists Bears don't play soft coverage

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Bears coach Lovie Smith said he doesn't expect any problems handling third downs, although it has been an issue throughout the preseason.

"It's simple execution, really, for everything. There's no quick fix or anything for it. In the preseason, you look to a lot of different things," he said. "We put the guys in situations we won't normally do during the regular season.

"If we get those third and longs during the course of the season, we'll be in good shape."

Asked if soft coverage were to blame, Smith said, "We don't play a soft coverage.

"Eventually, you get a guy in a position and he has to make a play," he said. "Most of the problems that we've had has been that for the most part, plays that we'll make later on."

Here are some other highlights from Smith:

* On if anything else jumped out at him, after watching the game back: "No. Disappointed in some of the things we did. It's a 14-9 game. It wasn't 60 to 20 or anything like that. 14-9, you're doing some good things but not enough. We had some critical stretches where we didn't make plays, all three phases, that we need to.

* On Detroit: "We don't like some of the things we've done right now, but everything we do is geared toward being ready for Detroit. And by doing that, you find out some things you don't like and you correct them. And that's what we'll do."

* Getting some of the players back. You guys had a chance to talk to Earl Bennett. It's good to see him start to do more things on the practice field. Brian Urlacher practiced full today. Josh Bullocks practiced. So we're getting some of our players back.
At the same time, this is the fourth preseason game. You try to look at a lot of different things. Some of the players we haven't gotten a look with right now we will. Todd Collins did some good things in practice today.
Now, he's been around, it's big for him to get a few reps to see exactly what he can do. You always want to get back to the practice field.
Detroit is right around the corner for us, and we realize that.
And we're making progress.

* On how much starters will play Thursday in Cleveland: "Protocol as usual. We have a plan, that we're going to go with, that we feel real comfortable with. The record in the preseason, that means a little bit. But, what you want t et from the preseason is just seeing guys in certain situations and hoping you get better. And that's what we're able to do. We're not necessarily going to go out and play three quarters. The plan was to increase their time, until the third preseason game, like we've always done. We'll follow that same formula, for the most part."

* On D.J. Moore pushing for the nickel cornerback job: "He's a guy that was on the outside looking in. But he's done enough where he started this past game. I like some of the things he's done. Excellent hands. Good quickness. Has played the run fairly well, so he's doing some good things. I like some of the things that Corey Graham did at the nickel position, too. They'll keep battling, to see who is the guy."

* On what Caleb Hanie is doing: "Caleb is getting back into the mix, as far as being able to do a few things. He's not there yet, but he doesn't have to be. He is making progress. He's a lot better along this week, naturally, than he was."

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23 Comments

I'd like to ask the Bears beat reporter who asked Lovie Smith if the Bears play "soft coverage" if he even knows what "soft coverage" is.

That's kind of funny to me....ask a question like you know what the hell you're talking about when you don't and the coach will give you a stupid answer like he did.

I would like to know what Ditka, Sayers, Butkus, and O'B really think of Smith's capabilities as head coach. AS a fan for 60 years and a person who attended the 63' championship game Lovie Smith is an embarrassment to anyone who actually has knowledge of football.

We have a plan." This from the grand stooge of football.

That guy's an idiot...he's totally in denial. Does anyone have Bill Cowher's phone number ? Bill for head coach and GM and get rid of those two twits that are killing football in Chicago !!!

Here is some sound advice from a few NFL head coaches too Lovie Smith.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zLlIdZikDk

You play to win the game!

Lovie Smith is not a good coach, but he is a far and away the best coach since Ditka. Wannstead and Jauron were terrible. Wanny had only 2 winning seasons, and 1 playoff. Jauron had one winning season and one playoff.

Smith has at least accumulated a .500 record so far.

But I still hope he is fired at season's end, and Angelo as well. Angelo is a terrible drafter.

He is a big source of the problem with getting crap talent on the roster.

Listen... Obviously the Bears' play in the field the last three weeks is unsettling, but keep things in perspective: It's preseason. As a player you don't get hurt; as a team you don't give anything away, or you throw some curves out there to give scouts something to think about... and that is that. In five days an 0-4 preaseason record counts for nothing. Anyone take the time to look at the Dallas Cowboys preseason record? Not much better than Chicago's. And then there's Romo's preseason performance, has anyone looked at his numbers? Not much better than Cutler's. Think about it and remember this: the smart money knows that preseason is what it is and that is not very much at all.

The intelligent measure of this Bears team will come after the second regular season game. Let's see how they handle themselves first against a team that's weak, and then against one that's strong.

We'll know by Monday night beginning week 3 how the offensive line's going to work. We'll know if the defense is as predictable (and thus easy to beat) to opposing teams as it has been in the past. We'll know if Lovie can game-prep this team to play a first quarter strong and not have to end up in the position where they're reacting to situations when they've fallen behind by double digits after 15 minutes. We'll know if Lovie's learned anything about using the replay flag, and if he's figured out how to game-manage time outs. We'll see if this year's special teams are overrated (a very valid suspician). And we'll find out if this defense can consistantly wrap up a tackle. That's the meat of it. Every other concern's overblown. -LH

#1: Saying Lovie Smith is the best coach since Ditka is like saying a 4'1" guy is the tallest midget since the 4'7" guy. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Ditka was a moron as well. Once the "us against the world" crap wore off {roughly by the 86/87 season}, Ditka was mediocre at best. On top of that, I can name 3 or 4 Bear's teams he personally ruined. {86, 87, & 89, just off the top of my head.} Having said that, Lovie, despite all the guffaws, and "awe shucks" is a stubborn ego maniac. Look at the Rivera situation and look at his comments from the infamous 3 headed press conference back in Jan/Feb. And let's not forget that he's terrible at responsibility delegation, game preparation, and in game adjustments. {See the AZ, Cincy, first MN, and Atlanta games last year.}
As for the soft coverage, all you have to do is go back to the 2008 game vs. Matt Ryan and the Falcons in the Dome. Anyone remember that game or better yet, have it DVR'd? All Ryan did was 3 step drops and I don't remember him looking off 1 receiver all day long. He didn't have to go through his progressions because the Bear's played so soft. His primary receiver was always open. They made Ryan look like an all pro. And then there is the Cincy game from last year where I had a 37 yard line, 3 rows behind the Bear's bench, seat. Palmer never checked down. In order to give your front 4 or 5 any type of chance, the QB has to go to option #2 or 3 at some point. But to Lovie's defense, he's got no "lockdown" corner and his nickel backs over the years have been, for the most part, undersized guys. On top of that, he has had safety issues every year except for 1 or 2. Lovie is afraid of having Tillman and Bowman jam at the line of scrimmage because one slip and the receiver is by the corner. And with a division and conference with good-great WR's over 6'3", Lovie is doomed with his defensive backfield. {Once again, let's all say "Thank You Jerry" for the 5'9" D.J. Moore, the "2 rep bench pressing" Josh Moore, and the 5' 8" Jennings.}

I wish you media guys would start going after Ange"loof".

Anyday now would be nice Jensen...


BEARS

I feel that Coach Smith is a victim in this process. It's becoming quite apparent that he really doesn't have a say in what goes on. JA handles the drafting for the team. He worked with Mr. Dungy so he does know football, the problem is that his management team doesn't understand their jobs. Dungy has an eye for talent so in order for hm to be his understudy he did learn alot. I'm quite sure he would change alot if he could, but his hands are tied. Alot of people are saying they'll be glad when he's gone because they think that'll cure the problems, but all if will do is place another person in the same situation. No coach will accept any job until they're certain that the Cowboys won't need a coach, that includes Cowher. If you lose that job then you can honestly say it was your fault because you had the talent to win games. When Smith loses his job, it will be because he was used as a scapegoat. He's not the problem, the ownership/management team caused this disaster. If it opens, I can see him getting an interview with Dallas and he would look very different. JJ may be bothersome, but if you need a player he's on the case. Paying Lovie doesn't mean the team believes in him, they didn't want to take the salary hit. I wish he had simply walked away, taken a year off to relax, and come back energized.I respect him because he's been through alot with the Bears and had he stayed with Dungy he could've taken over in Indy. Talk about a golden opportunity. His day will come.

Yeah smith ...and the next thing you are going to tell me is that the sky isn't blue. That mirage talk won't work in this city anymore.

Lovie, How did you say it after you fired your only chance to get back to the big game, when you fired Ron Rivera?
You told us fans this..."Trust Me"....everything is ok. We don't need Ron Rivera.
I'm still laughing and I am going to be very happy when the bears organization show you the door along with angelo and phillips and marinelli and babbage. You guys are way over your head. You can't coach, you can draft, you can't judge talent, you can't develop, you can't create game plans, you can't use your players to get the best out of them, you can't change game plans in the middle of the game and finally, you can't be consistent at calling plays on either side of the ball. None of you belong in the NFL. Try the pee-wee league. You might have a chance there...and that is a big maybe.

Ron Rivera is coming home in 2011 as HC of Da Beloved... He never should have been told to leave and now that injustice will be made right.

Lovie's only problem is that he is a hard-head. He sees things one way and won't change...........
Chris Harris is NOT a free safety...
Danieal Manning is NOT a strong safety...
Devin Hester is NOT a #1 receiver....
The Cover 2 is NOT a good defense (unless you have a big lead)...
Etc, etc, etc.......
I think it's too late for Lovie to see the light and it will cost him his job and us fans another frustrating year!!

Maybe Lovie is being glib...They don't play a soft coverage, they just flat out don't cover....They don't tackle either, but Lovie would never believe that his shiny, happy people approach in training camp is to blame for that. Take a look at Rex Ryan, or Mike Singletary, and how they run their camps. They start with establishing an attitude for their team, one of toughness and aggression. We set our attitude like we are running an old folk's home, not a football team.

That is why this team gets out-toughed and outmuscled regularly. Lovie wants the team to embrace the Monsters of the Midway moniker, but he does nothing to instill that mentality in his team. Marinelli and Tice are the only ones who make their position groups work hard at being physical, and that is not good enough. When the best hits of the previous season come from Tim Shaw on special teams, there is a problem. This year, the best hits will be on our quarterback, not the opponents....That's a pretty big difference

Party Up, What have you been watching? I agree that JA sucks at drafting, but Lovie can not make adjustments during a game. He has not realized that every other team knows that the cover2 is no longer the next big scheme. By the way Dungy had nothing to do with the talent at Indy. Bill Polian is the master mind there.

Tripper you realize Lovie is not a X's and O's coach and never has been. He is a players coach, which mean he basically sucks up to his own team and lets them do what they want. He is not an inovator he plays a very basic Tampa 2.

If I may. The third preseason game is about making adjustments. The worst series for the Bears was the first series after the half. The best play for the Bears was Taylors 35 yard run, which was a broken play. I have not seen anyone write about that by the way but I have not read much in the last week. 35 yard run? Yes. Broken play? No. Olin got beat easy, and Omiyale missed his block despite what Eric Kramer thinks he saw.

Brando I see now you don't like Smith, although you claimed he was the best coach in the NFL. Now? Not so much, but hey it only took you 3 1/2 years. Way to show that insight. The way you pick up on trends is amazing. "Hey wait a sec, I think Smith might be bad"

Gearhead, not to support Smith because he wouldn't Jam if he could, but you can't Jam if you can't rush the passer.

Hey Sean I have been out of town for a few days. Did you or Hayes cover the Forbes piece about the under achieving Bears franchise?

Oh and Sean if you want to continue that little debat we had about when you first got here, I would be happy to. The one about Run blocking and pass blocking and how Tice excells in one area. I think my argument is looking pretty good right now. Take away the help on the right and Omiyale would be looking like Williams.

Where oh where is Kevin? I mean Brando is already jumping ship and double talking, will Kevin be next?

Sean can you also answer me one question. Well maybe two. How come nobody will ask Lovie or Angelo about their lack of effort and concern in drafting and aquiring offensive line talent? I have posted the list many times of linemen drafted and aquired by the Bears. It is less than impressive, while the Bears continue to go after D-Line talent every chance they get. Although they are bad at picking them to.

I just want to know why a simple question about draft philosophy is being dodged by reporters and beat writers. This has been going on for years, I know it, the fans know it, everyone knows it, and everyone is sick of it. I think the fans want that question answered and while Lovie does not care for the fans, we are the reason he is a rich and he needs to answer that question and so does Angelo.

Now my second question is why is it that an organization would hire a guy like Smith? Who since he has been here has never shown any reguard for the fans. Most coaches would kill for this job and these fans in this city. We get a guy who doesn't like fans the media or tackling. And the organization supprots him for this. Am I missing something? I don't think he even likes being a head coach, I think he is doing it out of spite to try and show everyone 2006 was not a fluke. The guy keeps trying to change his job. He want's to coach the safeties and be the DC but doesn't want to learn how to make adjustments or how to time manage a game. Not to mention not wanting to deal with the media or fans.

If you don't want to make adjustments, your not an x's and o's guy, you could care less about the offense, the o-line means nothing to you, you only want to focus on the defense, you don't want to deal with the media, you don't like the fans, you don't know how to run a training camp, you don't believe in practicing tackling, has a poor eye for talent, can't manage a game clock, is challenged by challenge flags, and you don't know how to develop young talent. Well I am gonna say you probably should not be an NFL head coach.

What are the requirments up at Halas hall these days? Be a company pitch man and treat the rest of the world like garbage person and the job is yours, just be sure you are football in incompetent.

The "Mosters of the Midway" as Lovie likes to call his defense now was not a bend don't break, poor takling, soft hitting, sideline to sideline style defense. No they where big strong and nasty and wanted to hurt the other team. Not the fast and delicate Lovie defense.

Do the Bears seem like are worried about his year? Just looking at the moves and what they are doing tells me, they are not building a team for this year, but two or three years down the road. All the moves the organization has made suggest Lovie and the gang will be back. My guess is unless they go below five wins or come in last in the north.


How are we still sitting here talking about a guy who is challenged by challenge flags? There is a giant TV right above your head Lovie, look at it, they replay the play in slow motion. It doesn't get much easier than that.

I still say we should play the "wait and see" game. Preseason is pre-season and means next to nothing. If one pays too much attention to it, he would simply concede the season to Aaron R. and the Packers and start thinking about next year. There have been a few positives along with the many negatives for the Bears, and they start the season even with the board. I would like to see a vast improvement on Thursday, but the Detroit game is the one that means a whole lot more.

Just look how far our corners play off the line, easy first down each time..ya that is what I call soft. Jam em and kick some hiney on the line, knock them on the ground.

BEAR DOWN..its going to be a long year... 4-12

I picked the wrong year to goto 3 games this year... Its funny how everyone else knows what the Bears Problems. But this thick headed soft "friendly guy" has no freaking BA**s.

We are the team who will blitz andand not bump the receivers

Creighton,

**How come nobody will ask Lovie or Angelo about their lack of effort and concern in drafting and aquiring offensive line talent?**

First off, the question wouldn't be candidly answered--for Pete's sake, this is Lovie we're talking about--therefore there wouldn't be much value in asking it. Second, a reporter who asked too many hard questions would eventually get shunned/ignored and maybe even booted from the locker room. Access is the lifeblood of a reporter, and when it's cut off, so is his job. That's why the profession is so skewed toward suckups, but not all.

Lovie and Angelo obviously think they have sounder judgement in evaluating talent on the defensive side of the ball (regardless of whether it's actually true), so that's the area they focus on while neglecting the OL.

**Now my second question is why is it that an organization would hire a guy like Smith?**

The interesting question is not so much why they'd hire him, but whey they would keep him this long. The same reason explained in the Forbes article: indifference and ineptitude by the McCaskeys.

If you compare the Chicago Bears pass coverage to a baby's bottom. The Bears pass defense is softer and certainly a baby could tackle better as well. With that said they still make the playoffs, have faith in the Bears although they do practice like little girls and Lovie's practice routine does not prepare the team well for the season. It is usually game four before the Bears truly start tackling and hitting like they should from game one forward.

Creighton,

Which comes first the chicken or the egg? Does great coverage make a pass rush or vice versa. I am going to say it's the coverage since poor coverage can dictate how quickly a pass is going to a reciever. Once again a QB can have a 120+ rtg game if he's always hitting his first option. I think about teams like Denver where Dumerville is a sack machine. I am sure some of those are from just flat out beating his man. But not all of them. And even on the ones where he does beat his man, I wonder how many times the QB had to look off his primary target due to the coverage of say a Champ Bailey. A QB is generally not going to throw a ball {concievably} where a CB his tight press coverage.
I am going to scrounge up a stop watch for the Detroit game, DVR it and go back {win or lose} and see how long Stafford holds onto the ball before releasing it. The 7 step drops don't count. Those should be instances where your pass rush should disrupt the flow of the play. It is on 3 and 5 step drops where the coverage has to play a key role. Rivera played a little more press and the Bear's pass rush was supposedly better in 06.
If I were game planning against Lovie and this defense, I would run a no huddle, 3 and 5 step drop quick passes. When you have the DE's winded a bit, then double move and strke deep. But that's just me.

Gearheadboy they do go hand in hand. The two most important positions in football are in order QB and then LT. After that you can debate DE or Cover Corner. The drop doesn't matter though a pass rush should always disrupt the play. Quick drops are used to counter this and that is where the jam comes in.

You need both we all know that. The Tampa two however does not use cover corners. They use zone corners.

However no matter what, you give a good QB time and he will destroy a defense. No corner in the league can cover for long periods of time. The longer a QB has the more of a threat he becomes, just looking at league rules I would say the pass rush has become more important than coverage ability. Not saying coverage is not important but if you can't hit a QB you may as well call it a night.

Sure you will always get coverage sacks, but it is a pretty bad idea to give a QB 7 seconds. Besides, against a 3 reciever set you would need at least two really good corners who can play man and a good pair of safeties. One good corner can only defend 1 reciever at a time. A jam works best against small recievers in a timing offense, but big recievers can destroy a corner playing bump and run and in a read react offense a reciever blowing up a corner on a quick drop is now open for an easy gain.

By the way I wouldn't be running a lot of no huddle this year. Cause it's pretty much been killed by the league. The teams that killed the Bears last year where able to run up the middle first. Once you can run on Lovie, his LB's have to play honest cause the middle of his line is weak and can't be dropping into coverage all the time. Once that happens it's all over for secondary. Briggs is not great coverage, and the secondary is bad. Without Urlacher constantly dropping that can;t defend the pass.

The Tampa two is a garbage defense, built to play against a lateral passing game. It's always been weak against power games, people always think the Safeties are defending the deep pass, but in truth they are set up in this system to stop the big run after the catch, they take a wrong angle and it's a huge gain. They are in a pure support role, support the run, support the blitz, support the corners.

The defense is pretty easy to beat only really bad teams have had little success against it. Remember the Bengals game, it's not like Palmer was having a great year, Benson established the run and it was all over. This defense want's everything on the outside. Corners playing soft, and safeties playing deeper than any other safeties in football. It's pretty much nothing more than a front 4 aggressive prevent. It's not like Lovie mixes it up or even knows how too. He basically needs a ton of really talented players to make it work because he can't scheme to save his life so his guys need to be better than their guys. Not to mention after every team in the league figured out the Bears like to strip players became more conscious of ball security(insert joke here) while playing the Bears. That's the core of Lovie's brain child, "create turnovers", thats what he came up with. Run a basic tampa 2 and try to get turnovers, his second brain child was to stack the box and call it his mug up front. Rex Ryan has been more crative running his kids pee wee team.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on August 30, 2010 4:07 PM.

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