Chicago Sun-Times

Win or else? Lovie Smith optimistic about 2012 season

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Lovie Smith said he feels he is in a ''win-or-else'' situation in 2012 -- but no moreso than in the previous eight seasons as the Bears' head coach.

''Every year I've been a head football coach and pretty much as a position coach, I felt like we had to win the next year or else,'' Smith said Thursday morning at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. ''There's a standard that we're going to try to get accomplished. That hasn't changed at all.''

New Bears general manager Phil Emery was hired to replace Jerry Angelo with the stipulation that he retain Smith as head coach for at least the 2012 season. Emery doesn't come across as one of those guys who needs his own head coach, but he's free to make a change after the upcoming season. If the Bears don't make the playoffs in 2012, it will be the fifth time in six seasons they will not have played in the postseason.

''As far as more pressure, [the] new GM having to keep me, I don't think any of the guys looked at it that way. Hopefully they looked at it as a great situation they were coming into, a team that two years ago was in the NFC Championship game, a team that was 7-3 this past year before injuries happened. I don't look at it that way."

Smith had not met the media since the season review the day after the Bears concluded the 2011 season with a victory over the Vikings. So while he typically avoided specifics (''We're trying to get better at all positions.'') he did address some key issues for the first time. To wit:

On the firing of Jerry Angelo:

''We know our profession and what's at stake always and changes can happen at any time. I'm here primarily because of what Jerry Angelo did for me, leading the charge to give me an opportunity to be the head football coach here.

''I can't necessarily say it was a surprise at the end of the year. I don't think any coach or GM in the league is surprised by anything that happens. Again, Jerry did an awful lot for us. But you move on. And that's what we've done. Jerry will be fine. He's a lifetime friend. But you do move on.''

On hiring Mike Tice to replace Mike Martz as offensive coordinator:

''When you start over, I always look at what we need to do to take another step and I thought this is what we needed to do.

''As far as why I went with Mike Tice, the last couple of years I've had a chance to see Mike in a lot of different roles, with what he was able to do with the offensive line. And I just thought what Mike believed in and what I really believe in would be a good fit. And a good fit for us.''

On upgrading the wide receiver position:

''In the offseason we look to improve our ballclub - wide receiver, linebacker, defensive line, o-line, running back, the works, coaching staff. Wide receiver is a part of that."
Will Gabe Carimi be ready to start the offseason program?
''Hopefully so. He's working hard. When I say hopefully, I don't know exactly when Gabe will be ready right now off the top of my head. I just know I see him every day working and everything is going as planned and there's no reason to think ... we're excited about what Gabe Carimi will bring. We talk adding pieces and I look at him as a free agent we're adding to the mix. He's a first-round draft pick who barely played for us last year."

On Johnny Knox's recovery from a spinal fracture:

''I'm just counting on him to get better each day and we'll see how it all plays out. There's a long road to recovery. We have time. So we'll just see how it plays out. Johnny's ready to go. Of course, he's one of our guys. And I'm hoping that he'll be OK.''

On Jay Cutler's thumb injury:

''Jay Cutler's thumb is fine. So we can't see anything major with injuries that we're going to have to deal with coming up.''

On upgrading the backup quarterback position:

''We thought we had a better plan at the quarterback position. I knew how valuable Jay was to us. That won't change. But we do need to get ourselves in a better position at that backup quarterback position.

''We have a lot of options out there. I think this is an attractive place for a quarterback. We're going to look at all people. And I'm talking Caleb, Josh and free-agent quarterbacks out there. I just feel like we'll be able to strengthen that position more than we were this past year.''


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Why, why, why? What is wrong with him? Is Lovie a moron? Please explain to me what is wrong with him? He looks at Gabe Carimi as a Free Agent signing this year????? How does he even correlate Carimi being injured last year, to him being like a free agent signing this year? He doesn't even know if he will be ready for the off-season program, but he is like a Free Agent signing. He was your first pick in the draft last year and he got hurt, that's it. Is Jay also a Free Agent signing, or how about Urlacher, cause he missed a season a couple years ago do to injury. How about all the other injured guys are they Free agent signings too? Or is it just Carimi? Oh wait maybe I am confused, I thought Carimi was a redshirt last year right? Cause it was his first year with the Bears, I thought that was redshirt year, so if it's red shirt doesn't that make Carimi a first round pick this year? That's what he said about Chris Williams when he got hurt his first year. When Williams was back for his second year Lovie said it was like haveing an extra first round pick that year. So what's Gabe? Is a 2 time first round pick in his second redshirt year, who happens to be like a Free Agent signing as well.

Does he always have to try to suger coat everything and make everything sem better than it is? Can't he just say I am really glad Gabe will be back this year. Or we are looking forward to having him back. But no, he has to slop some Lovie juice on everything and say wierd things for no reason.

Like what is this?

''Jay Cutler's thumb is fine. So we can't see anything major with injuries that we're going to have to deal with coming up.''

Just end it at his thumb is fine, why go on about not being able to see future injuries with anyone? Really Lovie you can't see the future, thanks for explaining that you don;t know if people will be hurt in the future. It's damn combine, does he really need to be setting the foundation for his excuse making this early.

''As far as why I went with Mike Tice, the last couple of years I've had a chance to see Mike in a lot of different roles, with what he was able to do with the offensive line. And I just thought what Mike believed in and what I really believe in would be a good fit. And a good fit for us.''

First off he went with Mike Tice because nobody else wants the job because Lovie's OC's always seem to find their way under Lovies bus. Tice's great job with the O-Line over the last couple of years has led them to be ranked the worst line in football for two years in a row.

"Run Rank 31st, Pass Rank 31st, Penalties Rank 25th"

"Does this really surprise anyone? The Bears at least attempted to rectify their horrible offensive line by drafting Gabe Carimi, only for the tackle to manage 100 snaps before a dislocated knee ended his year. It left them with a group of individuals who struggle to get much push in the run game, and aren’t much better in pass protection. You’d struggle to find a line that performed as badly as the Bears over the years."

"Best Player: By default, this was Edwin Williams (+0.5), though this is more of a reflection on the rest of the line which amassed a combined -116.1 grade."

"Worst Player: Take your pick. J’Marcus Webb (-26.2) was a failure on the left side, but even he was outdone by Lance Louis (-35.6). Louis should never have moved out to tackle and it really showed down the stretch; in no game more so than when he gave up five sacks to a Chiefs defense that simply destroyed him."

So lets say for the sake of argument Tice did do a brilliant job with the line the last two years.Well if a net result of that brilliance is 105 sacks, 63 hits, 326 pressures and 123 penalties, then you better get yourself a new line. If that is the most a brilliant coaching performance can get out of this line then you are screwed. Either Tice was brilliant and this is the worst collection of offensive line talent in league history, or Tice sucks cause Lovie sure does love his guys and think all do a great job and team has done little to upgrade the line outside of Carimi and let me tell you one guy is not enough to fix this mess.

At no point should anyone be getting a pat on the back for this line, not the coach, and not the players.

Ohh my! Such words of wisdom by the Greatest Head Coach in all of football, Coach Lovie Smith! I especially love the part where he hinted that the unmatched Caleb Hanie could stay with te Bears! Oh niddly diddly foo foo happy sunshine smiles!

Now just sign up the legendary Mike Hass at WR, keep the oline as is and we are set to go for the 2012 season!

I have to agree, Creighton, but perhaps you are a bit rough on Tice. Injuries certainly impacted the line's performance, and they did get better. Tice did not make a silk purse out of sows' ears, but I think he did a decent job under the circumstances and did not bewail his fate or whine when things did not work out. I also think Hanie was partly to blame for the line's rating, as was Cutler at times and Matz's play-calling.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on February 23, 2012 11:07 AM.

Jay Cutler excited about Bears' offseason changes was the previous entry in this blog.

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