Chicago Sun-Times

Lovie Smith talks Tommie Harris, accountability

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Lovie Smith insisted he's got no "complaints" about Tommie Harris, yet the Bears coach also made it clear he's got high expectations of his players.

Asked if the decision to deactivate Harris might motivate the former three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, Smith said, "Tommie is always motivated.

"I have no complaints about how Tommie Harris has done anything this offseason, what he's done on the practice field. We just thought, based on performance and where we were at the time, that someone else deserved an opportunity..."

Smith didn't finish his thought but quickly switched gears, mentioning Marcus Harrison, who had been inactive the first two weeks.

Smith said Harris will practice this week and "may be up this week."

In an interesting twist, Harris has been durable, regularly practicing in training camp and during the season. Asked why that hasn't translated onto the field, Smith said, "That's what we're trying to figure out, all right.

"But you don't have to figure all that out after three games. Again, we're going to go back to the practice field again, and turn the recorder on. We like what Tommie's done. Sometimes, taking a week off, helps for whatever reason, too. But Tommie is still a big part of what we're going to do around here."

Smith was then asked if any job is safe.

"Every job, if you're performing well, your position is safe," he said. "It's always been like that. If you're the starter, you have to play a certain way, or else the next guy gets an opportunity. Our guys, they know that, and they're OK with that."

Earlier, Smith cut off a reporter who asked if his philosophy on holding players accountable has changed.

"No, I'll stop you right there. No. Not at all. Same philosophy we've always had," Smith said. "We hold the players accountable on the football field. We look at what they do on the field, and we play the guys that give us the best opportunity to win. Go back over the video. That's what I've said from the start, that's what we're saying right now. Players realize that, too.

"That's why they're anxious to go out there on the football field and prove that they can help the team win that week, and that's who we're going to go with."

This is a delicate issue for Smith and the Bears.

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I think this is exactly true, same style that Lovie has always had. Say what you want about him, but he is as sound and disciplined as they come to his strategy.

The same cannot be said for Jerry Angelo. I bet dollars to donuts it was Angelo who pushed for the underachieving Benson's move up the depth chart in `06. The only time we couldn't move the ball that year is when he was forced in front of perrenial hard@$$ Tom Jones. Then there was controversy... gee I wonder why players and fans would mind management overruling the coaches on which player to feature - the journeyman or the overpaid overhyped primadonna holdout locker room whiner?

Fastforward a year to Marc Anderson's jump over Alex Brown on the depth chart before training camp. Sure took a while for Lovie to get the reigns back on that one.

Its been obvious for years Angelo isn't happy squandering draft picks and trading away core players for squat. this season, I think Angelo has been handcuffed and Lovie is being allowed to earn or lose his job on his own. Thank God.

I never considered the possibility that Angelo was the one pushing for more playing time for Benson and Mark Anderson. I thought that it was a joint decision. After all, with all the big bucks handed to holdout Benson, what realistic choice was there but to play him? As for Anderson, he looked like the next Richard Dent at first. That said, I think the decisions to bench Tommie Harris and Zach Bowman were Lovie's and that he deserves our praise for doing so. Tommie Harris hasn't been the same since he tore his hamstring. It's sad but true. As for Bowman, let me put it this way: on the very first drive he apparently missed a tackle. The strategy was to keep everything in front of you on defense; let Aaron Rodgers complete 40 passes or whatever, just tackle the guy immediately - no running after the catch. Let them march to our red zone all night, but then tighten up, which is much easier to do on a reduced playing field. This is the right strategy with the Bears' personnel and, moreover, it is the one Lovie knows best. The Bears can win a lot of games that way, especially now that they have a quarterback who can score a few points, making life for the defense a little easier. We can win a lot of games this way. Forget how many yards the opposing teams get passing; otherwise you'll drive yourself nuts like I do. I'm sure this philosophy was imparted to the players very clearly. So what happens? Well, Zach Bowman immediately misses tackles on the first drive. Can't do it. Just can't. So, Lovie takes him out. Good for Lovie. I think I OWE LOVIE AN APOLOGY; he's doing a very good job with the mediocre roster Angelo has given him.

Same philosophy we've always had," Smith said. "We hold the players accountable on the football field.

Sorry Lovie.....gotta call BS on that statement.

If that is a true statement, then why did Grossman, Benson, Archuletta, Fred Miller, St. Clair, Tommie Harris, Dvoracek, Chris Williams, among others, ever get on the field at all?

Because they were high draft picks....that's why. Not because of their ability or effort.

Same goes for running Rivera out of town and not holding Babich "accountable".

Only when (this year) it because apparent that you were about to be shown the door, did you change your behavior.

Shame on you for wasting the last three seasons when you knew you were safe.

I agree with ChiD.

Good job by Lovie, for the most part. Be a motivator, that is the job of the head coach.

Angelo is bad at the job he is supposed to the best at for his job.....drafting. I am glad he signed Peppers, but I am sad for the reason it had to be done. Because he has struck out time after time with the draft.

He has been good in free agency though. The good outweighs the bad in that regard. But, eventually, the Bears will need good young talent from the draft to be good year after year.

2004 was his best year in free agency to date. Getting Thomas Jones, and trading for Oguleye. Yes, this does trump trading for Cutler so far, but that could change.

2003 was his best draft sadly. He got Lance Briggs, and Charles Tillman. Both starters since their rookie year. Kinda makes up for complete bust Michael Haynes, and not quite good enough Grossman.

But who is still on the team from his draft picks? How many of those have been to at least one probowl?

I will look it up. Bet it isn't pretty.

I think Smith can stay. But if Angelo stays, he better get someone to help him draft from now on.

Looked up the Bears draft history. Here we go.

During Ditka's tenure, most of the early round picks were O-lineman, defense or running backs. In Wanny and Jauron's tenures, the picks were scattered with lots of TE's, and WR's. Wanny even used a 2nd rounder on a punter named Todd Sauerbraun in the 1994. Bwahaha. Idiot!

Here is Angelo's drafts:
2001: A-Train Anthony Thomas was the best pick in the 2nd round. 6 picks total. Total bust was David Terrel in the first. None ever made the pro bowl. None on the current roster.

2002: Alex Brown was a steal in the 4th round. Can't recall him making the probowl. Mark Columbo was a great pick, just had bad luck. And Adrian Peterson was a good player for a lot of years in Chicago. This was a good draft for Angelo. None on the current roster, but I wish Brown still was. What a compliment he would be to Peppers right now. 9 picks total, and 3 players were on the superbowl roster.

2003: 12 picks total. Total bust was Michael Haynes with the 14th overall pick. Did absolutely nothing. But 5 players were on the superbowl roster, and 2 are on the current squad. Tillman has been great for years, and Briggs is hands down the best pick Angelo ever has made. This was a good draft.

2004: 8 picks total. After 3 years, this draft looked like a shoe-in for a great draft. The first 4 picks were Tommie Harris, Tank Johnson, Bernard Berrian, and Nathan Vasher. Of course, now it looks bad in terms of longevity. None of the other 4 picks panned out at all. The recent fates of all 4 of the top picks now is rendered to be useless to this Bears team. The only hope for this draft is if Harris can make a comeback. Right now, it looks like a bad draft with little value after year 3.

2005: 4 players were on the superbowl roster, but only Chris Harris remains on the squad now. Benson is a good player, but bad character. We know his story. Bradley was always injured. Orton has turned out to be a decent, but not great, QB in the NFL. And the piece that turned out to be Jay Cutler. But make no mistake, this draft was horrible.

2006: 7 picks. Highlighted by Hester. He has been great at returning. So great, that we don't really care if he never will an elite receiver. 3 players on the current squad (Anderson and Manning). This was not a bad draft, but not a good one either. Just OK.

2007: Only Olsen, Wolfe, and Graham are still on the team. The rest sucked. And you can argue that Wolfe isn't much use right now. This was a terrible draft.

2008: This one ticks me off. Great pick with Matt Forte. Maybe Bowman will turn out good. But how can Angelo pick the only O-lineman that appears to suck (Williams), out that pool of O-lineman that went in the first round that year? Jeff Otah, and Sam Baker were still available when the Bears picked. Pretty bad judgment there. It would be great if Williams and Harrison turned out to be good, but it doesn't look so good so far. So far, this draft is below average only because of Matt Forte.

2009: We all know this story. No point in repeating.
2010: Ditto

Angelo did good in 02, and 03. Those players turned out good for the superbowl run a few years after. There is no coincidence that when his drafts got bad (05 and 07), that the team struggled afterwards.

Must get better at drafting Angelo.

If any of you actually read this whole post, you are truly dedicated.

They should trade Harris for Haynesworth. Both players are not helping their current teams, but a fresh start in new positions might revitalize both. Haynesworth should be a 3 technique in a four fron, and now that Tommie has lost his burst, his only chance is to play DE on the front of a 3-4 team. I think he could be productive there. Heck to sweeten the deal, the Bears could even trade Aromashadoo with him, as the Redskins really needs some WR help. If Haynsesworth was revitalized in Chicago, with Peppers and lach and Briggs, they truly would be Monsters of the Midway again. They would dominate. Do it Lovie and Angelo, that trade could take us over the top, and the Redskins would take it cause it could help them in two ways.

Appreciate the blog, but don't think it's accurate to be calling somebody durable three weeks into a season.

I don't recall Lovie being such the disciplinarian in the past. Poor play has been accepted of Harris for years now, yes he was suspended last year and held out this year.

Lovie accepted BS from Benson also and others.

Maybe we owe the recent holding people accountable to Marinelli, who may be the silent enforcer holding the D responsible and making the suggestion to not play T Harris and Bowman when he pussed out on the tackling.

Maybe it was MArtz that held out Aromashodu instead of Lovie?

I am not sold yet on Lovie although I do believe the Bears have dramatically improved, so he should get some credit and finally LOvie and Angelo have hired coaching talent with Tice, MArtz and MArinelli.

Keep up the tough love like Parcells did and the team will perform, great to see.

The Offense in the top 5 and the Defense tied for 9th for points allowed, which is the real barometer of defensive performance.


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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on September 29, 2010 1:05 PM.

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