Giving the Bills a Run For Their Money

It’s already been done ad-nauseum, so I’m not going to go into great detail on yesterday’s games. Indianapolis simply dominated the New York Jets, and New Orleans was lucky it wasn’t dominated. How a team only wins by three when it’s given six fumbles and two interceptions is beyond me. But nonetheless, congratulations to both the Colts and the Saints on reaching the big game.

The real purpose of today’s installment is to shed light on a franchise that’s making the Buffalo Bills’ search for a coach seem like a picnic. And I’m not talking about a team looking for a head coach. I’m looking at the coordinator-less Chicago Bears.

At the end of their disappointing season, the Bears fired their offensive coordinator Ron Turner, as well as defensive coordinator Bob Babich. Both moves were seen as a formality, but I never could have imagined that we’d be past the Conference Championships and Da Bears would still be without men to run their offence and defence. I’ll start chronicling the futility on the defensive side of the ball.

When Lovie Smith relinquished his play-calling duties, Chicago’s focus shifted to Perry Fewell. The interim Buffalo Bills head coach worked under Smith both with the St. Louis Rams and the Bears – but he chose the New York Giants instead. Since then, it’s been all-quiet on the western front for the Bears’ defence. With Smith still on board, a coach with Cover 2 background is a necessity. Some of the candidates being tossed around are Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, current defensive line coach Rod Marinelli (yes, he of the 0-16 Detroit Lions fame), and even, former NY Jets and Kansas City Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards.

Even more upsetting are the prospects at offensive coordinator. The Bears’ (and Jay Cutler’s) first choice was USC o-coordinator Jeremy Bates – Cutler’s confidant in Denver. He decided to join Pete Carroll in Seattle, as did another option, quarterback coach Jedd Fisch. Chicago wanted to interview Green Bay quarterback coach Tom Clements, but were denied. Ken Zampese (QB coach for the Bengals) and Rob Chudzinski (TE coach for the Chargers) have both been interviewed, but neither seem likely for the job. Mike Martz has openly campaigned to be up to the challenge, but he’s known to be quite a handful to work with. This one doesn’t look like it’ll be ending anytime soon.

The harsh reality for the Chicago Bears and their fans is that no one wants either job. We saw this just over a week ago with the Bills, until the ‘settled’ on Chan Gailey. The Bears seem to be stuck with a long list of candidates, yet none of which they’re truly sold on. The solution? Well, the first option is to get rid of Lovie Smith. It’s painfully clear that people are shying away from the Windy City due to Smith’s job security, or lack thereof. If he’s terminated next season, the entire staff may be gutted as well, leaving whoever takes these jobs back in the unemployment line.

A second problem, at least offensively, is the presence of Jay Cutler. Yes Chicago finally has a franchise quarterback, but one who needs special attention and someone he’s comfortable working with. Cutler lobbied hard for Bates and Fisch, but neither wanted to reunite with him.

As for the defence, it’s tough to be motivated to take over a unit that’s statistically declined in the three seasons since Chicago’s Superbowl birth. With the insistence on the Cover 2 defence, potential candidates are clearly scared off by the lack of a pass rush, aging and injured middle linebacker, and questionable at best secondary.

The Chicago Bears are in a position no team wants to be in – respected personnel are staying away from the organization. They need to rectify the problem immediately, or it’s going to be a long season at Halas Hall.


– David Garrard, Pro Bowler. How utterly ridiculous

– the Jets released five coaches today. Interesting philosophy for a team that just exceeded expectations and made the Conference Championships

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