Throughout what was a weird, indefinable, and ultimately meaningless Bears season, there were scattered calls for the heads of various coaches. All of these are requisite to the profession; nary a season goes by the someone on the Bears' staff is accused of something warranting immediate dismissal. (For example: "WHY DOES JOHN SHOOP KEEP THROWING SLIP SCREENS?" In that case, at least the calls were on the money.)
Head coach Lovie Smith heard his name called by the media at least once in 2008, but if a big-name axe does fall this offseason, Lovie won't be the recipient. That will probably be defensive coordinator Bob Babich, who has turned an admittedly aging, formerly dominant Bears defense into something mediocre and confused. It doesn't help that Babich's predecessor, the still-successful Ron Rivera, was fired after a season much better than the one Babich just turned in for the Bears. What gives?
Today, Babich's name was brought up in not one but two less-than-positive pieces -- one from Mike Mulligan in the Sun-Times, and one from the ever-so-bloggy Steve Rosenbloom in the Chicago Tribune. The consensus? Ron Rivera rules; Bob Babich drools. Which, actually, is hard to argue with. Take this point from Mike Mulligan: Rivera was fired after a good season, thanks to disagreements with Lovie Smith, but after mediocre defensive seasons, Babich has been promoted each time. He's now the highest-paid assistant on Lovie's staff -- and arguably the poorest performing.
Meanwhile, Rivera is preparing the San Diego Chargers for a second-round AFC playoff game.
Sometimes the media piles on. Sometimes Lovie (and other coaches) plainly don't deserve it. This time is not one of those times.