Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo
The Chicago Bears have problems. Most of them start at the top of the organization.
Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith are at the root of just about all of them, leading many fans to quietly hope for their ouster from the organization. But is the time right for the Bears to get rid of them and start fresh?
GM Angelo brought in Jay Cutler, but failed to draft or sign an offensive line who could protect the young star. He then cut ties with Mark Anderson, a defensive lineman for not doing his job. He picked up UFL player Charles Grant to replace him, then dropped him, too. The O-line, which has given up a league-high 31 sacks, has gone largely untouched by the flinty GM. He'd rather spend time fiddling with the defense that is the second-best in the league.
Smith has seemingly put on blinders. He likes to point to the Bears record of 4-3, but conveniently forgets that of those four wins, one came off of a lucky call late in the game, one came against the worst team in the league, and another was largely due to the 18 penalties committed by the other team. In the standings, wins are wins, but a coach should look beyond his record to constantly improve his team. Smith has not done that. He also has let his offensive coordinator Mike Martz continue to hold onto a game plan that is not only not working, but is hazardous for Jay Cutler's health.
In any other season, the Bears should pull the plug on both Angelo and Smith. The two are not getting the job done, but more than that, they have no idea how to make changes to improve.
But this is not any other season. With the impending labor struggles between the NFL and the players' union, a lock-out is likely. If the Bears were to fire Angelo and Smith right now, they would be responsible not only for the remainder of their contracts, but also the salary of whomever replaces them through the lockout. That waste of money -- money that could be spent on more qualified replacements -- would be dumber than anything Angelo and Smith have done.