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Blame Lovie

By George Ofman

Jay Cutler threw for 369 yards, the seventh most in Bears history, yet the considerable angst Bears fans were feeling has now turned into total anger.

Do you blame them?

Their anger is vented mostly at one man, Lovie Smith, who is starting to resemble a punching bag more than an NFL head coach.

Blistered after a 45-10 loss at Cincinnati and highly criticized following an ugly 24-point victory over Cleveland, Lovie is feeling the brunt force of yesterday's flogging by Arizona as if Hurricane Katrina found new life off Lake Michigan.

And he deserves it.

Lovie is not only the head coach but the man who wrested the defensive play-calling from Bob Babich.

Here's a suggestion: Give it back!

When a team scores on its first six possessions and marches through your defense as if butter was re-invented to look like football players, you've got problems.

And Lovie's got them.

When a team manages to be successful on third down eight straight times, you've got problems.

And Lovie's got lots of them.

When the worst rushing team in the NFL (dead last averaging 65 yards per game) gains nearly three times as many, you've got problems.

And Lovie apparently has more than we can imagine.

When your overpaid defensive tackle decides to act like a pro wrestler in front of over 60,000 paying customers, you've got problems.

And in this case, Tommie Harris may have more than Lovie.

I'd like to say look at the bright side but there's a game at San Francisco this Thursday followed by one against Philadelphia followed by one at Minnesota and the Bears have to play the Vikings and Packers again plus travel to Baltimore. But there is a bright side.

The Bears still have games left against Detroit and St. Louis.

Is there another way of saying 6-10? How about 7-9? Maybe an upset in is the cards.

And maybe Ahmedinejad is sending President Obama a congratulations e-mail for passing health care in the House.

In all honesty, Cutler deserves better. But he better understand it isn't going to get better around here for quite some time. Remember, the Bears don't have a first-round pick in next year's draft because of him and they don't have a second-round pick because of Gaines Adams, whose name doesn't appear in the stat sheet. Being invisible for a game like this may be a plus.

Being Lovie Smith means you can't hide.

By the end of the season, Lovie may be on the run.

Losing a close game is one thing. Getting blown out when two teams manage 31 points in the first half is another.

The blame doesn't rest solely with Lovie. Jerry Angelo handed him this motley group. But Lovie and his staff are in charge of scheming.

Please, whatever you do, don't apply for jobs with the CIA.

How is it possible you game-plan for a team that just got beat by Carolina in which Kurt Warner was picked off five times and he throws passes against your defense as if it hasn't left the bench yet?


How is it possible for guys like Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells run as if Moses parted the Blue and Orange Sea.


Is it because Lovie and his staff can't coach? Is it because Lovie and his staff can't make adjustments? Is it because Lovie and his staff are coaching lousy talent?

I think the answer is yes to all of the above.

Firing Lovie now won't change a thing. The same players will still be there, though I must admit the defense would be in better hands if Brian Urlacher and Pisa Tinoisamoa were healthy. But I'm not sure their presence would change the won-loss record.

So the only thing to do is wait. If the Bears wind up 7-9 or 6-10, Ted Phillips will be on the hot seat. Will the President and CEO pull the trigger and tell Lovie and his staff to take a hike.

I know what I would do. I might even do it now.

Check resumes.


George Ofman, an original member of The Score and a veteran of NPR, has covered more than 3,500 sporting events over the course of his career. Comments welcome.

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