First, he benched Devin Aromashodu. Then Tommie Harris. Finally, Lovie Smith pulled starting cornerback Zack Bowman from Monday night's game against Green Bay and replaced him with Tim Jennings.
Some are convinced the patience coach Lovie Smith has been known for is beginning to wain. Brian Urlacher disagrees. This isn't a new era of accountability, as some have labeled it. In his mind, nothing has changed, least of all his head coach.
"He's the same guy," Urlacher said. "It's maybe more noticeable now because you guys are paying attention more now. But he's been doing the same thing since he's been here."
Smith is so adamant that he making decisions the same way he always has that he interrupted a reporter in the middle of a question about whether his philosophy has changed.
"No. Not at all," Smith said. "It's the same philosophy we've always had. 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."
In Harris' case, it wouldn't be the first time that a coach has benched a player as a motivational ploy, but Smith said that wasn't the case, either.
"For you that really know me and how we do things, we don't try to send messages and things like that," Smith said. "It's pretty simple. As far as who dressed, we look at how they practice and take some other things into consideration. We have a lot of players that we like. Only so many guys can dress. And as far as playing time, we look at that also during the course of a game. Zack had done some good things here, but there's a reason why Tim Jennings is our third corner. I just felt like we needed a boost at the position, to give Tim an opportunity, and he made the most of it."
Urlacher said that while it may appear as if Smith makes spur-of-the-moment judgements, his decision-making process is very methodical.
"Everything he does is thought out," Urlacher said. "It's not, 'That guy missed a tackle, get him out of the game.' It's not that way. 'He blew a coverage; get him out of the game.' Everything he does is over time and thought out. Everyone thinks it was just spur of the moment. I don't think it's that way at all. He thinks things through. It may not [have] been just last game. It may have been building up. I don't know. But he doesn't just do things spur of the moment like that. There are reasons behind what he does. They're usually for the better of our team."