Lovie Smith Puts His Chicago Bears Legacy Directly In The Crosshairs
Posted by sportsmaven on January 29, 2009
Change had to come. You knew it, the guy next to you knew it too. If you’ve watched the Chicago Bears all season, especially on the defensive side of the ball, there was an air of change swirling, rustling the leaves, blowing wildly in the wind. The offense was an early and pleasant surprise that slowly morphed into what we all thought it would be, but the cornerstone unit of this franchise, the defense, was like the two year recession of the American economy. Something had to change.
The media’s favorite fall guy was Bears defensive coordinator Bob Babich, but he was just a front man. The real finger pointing started the day Bears head coach Lovie Smith announced the departure of then defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and naming linebackers coach Babich his replacement. Smith followed that up with a plea for people to trust him when it comes to the welfare of his Chicago Bears football team. When the argument resorts to pulling a “Trust Me” card, that’s was a sure sign to run away, don’t buy it, red-flag warning.
Something had to change after two years of sub-par performance of a unit paid like the elite, but performed very unordinary and uninspired. Just like the legacy of President Barack Obama, who will forever live on his phrases of more accountability, “Yes, we can” and personal responsibility, Lovie Smith’s legacy will live on his most memorable words too, “Trust Me”.
His legacy will also be square in the crosshairs of his decisions concerning the coaching staff, bringing in former Lions head coach Rod Marinelli to coach the defensive line (and take the title of Asst. Head Coach), moving Babich back to linebackers coach (retaining the defensive coordinator title in name only), where he actually experienced great success with LB’s Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher garnering regular Pro Bowl appearances under his tutelage, and hiring veteran defensive backs coach and ex-Chicago Bear defensive back Jon Hoke to coach the secondary for the Bears. The biggest move, however, is the announcement that Smith, himself, will be calling the defensive plays next season.
Smith was arguably one of the best defensive coodinators in the NFL, leading a defense that took the St. Louis Rams to Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002. Smith’s defense was known for being an aggressive defense, forcing 38 turnovers and 4 defensive TD’s. Smith taking over primary play calling duties from Bob Babich is seen as a strong positive move for restoring the bite in the Bears defense. One way or another, it definitely will be the move that cements his Chicago Bears legacy, for good or bad.