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Big Day In Bear-Land

January 9th, 2010

Tuesday afternoon Halas Hall was home to a press conference that provided a window into the Chicago Bear's future.

The focus of the conference was to give insight into the coaching changes that the organization made following a less than stellar season. The news of the day? Head Coach Lovie Smith and General Manager Jerry Angelo would both return for another season.

On the other side of their good fortune, six assistant coaches were let go or would not be returning. And guess what, all of these coaches on the offensive side of the football.

So what does this say about the organizational view of a letdown following the era of good feelings that followed the Cutler trade? I'll tell you.

An organization built on defense, possession, and as Lovie Smith puts it "getting off the buss running the football." Simply put, the Bears will not own up to flaws within its scheme. As the Chicago Bear Cover 2 defense slowly but surely has become less and less effective, some will blame scheme, some will blame aging players, all should blame stubborn coaching.

The lack of youth injected into an aging defense is puzzling, as draft picks are traded away (2nd round pick for Defensive End Gaines Adams), Charles Tillman, Brian Urlacher, and Tommie Harris are not getting any younger. The window of opportunity for the Bears is dwindling.

Lovie Smith also announced on Tuesday that he would be relinquishing his role as Defensive Coordinator, a wonder considering he also has the title of Head Coach. A flawed idea in the first place, now it is time for the Bears to go out and hire a real Defensive Coordinator.

Original reports and thinking showed Rod Marinelli to be the top candidate, however Lovie revealed at the conference that they would be going outside the organization to fill both the Offensive and Defensive Coordinating positions.

Top choices for the Offensive Coordinator position are Mike Martz and Jay Cutler's favorie candidate Jeremy Bates, his ex Quarterback Coach with the Denver Broncos.

The best option for the Bears seems to be Jeremy Bates who was contacted by Bear's Brass on Tuesday regarding the Offensive Coordinator position. Whoever the Bears decide on hiring must be able to straighten out Jay Cutler, and Bates has experience and has shown results with Cutler.

As for Defensive Coordinator Lovie is looking for a coach with similar ideas and scheme beliefs as he. This is not the bests news for Bear's fans, as Lovie Smith desperatley needs to inject some life into the hibernating Bear's defense.

Ron Rivera might be the exception. A proven winner with the Bears, and a coach that should never have gotten away from Chicago. Now the Defensive Coordinator with the San Diego Chargers, if the Bears could lure Rivera back to Chicago he may be the quick fix the Windy City is looking for.

For an organization that outwardly states winning now is of the highest priority, there is a lot that needs to go right in their search to fill these coaching vacancies. But possibly more important than that is finding the players to add to what is a decent core team. A number one receiver, offensive line help, and young defensive talent is on this year's wish list. But above all the right coaches for a difficult task must be found.

Impossible? Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo better hope not.

- Taylor Abbott


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