— Jonathan Dyer, San Francisco
Lot of questions this week along those lines. I will say this. If
were fighting for his job, the loss to San Francisco was the kind of game that could get a coach fired. But firing Smith is not a legitimate topic because the Bears are 7-3. It’s tempting for all of us to overreact every week to whatever happens in the
. You have to look at the big picture, which is that the Bears still are well positioned to win 10 or 11 games and make the playoffs. And they will be even if they lose Sunday to the
. If I said Smith should be fired after the Bears’ loss to the
, I would have had to say he should have had his contract extended after they rolled over the
. Using this logic, you would say the 49ers should have fired
after his team lost 26-3 to the
. And he never would have been around to stick it to the Bears. Good coaches can have bad games. Good teams can have bad games. It even happened to the 1985 Bears, one of the greatest teams ever. The
took it to them 38-24. But bad games are not an issue unless there is a string of them.
If the Bears don't end up making the playoffs this year, do you see Lovie Smith's job being in jeopardy?
— Daniel Gutstein, Lincolnwood
For the Bears not to make the playoffs, they probably would have to lose four of their remaining six games. They might have to lose five of six. That would be a significant collapse. And, assuming there weren’t extenuating circumstances that led to the collapse, I think that kind of late-season failure could put Smith’s job in jeopardy.
If they fired Lovie, who is better that they could bring in? Jeff Fisher/Bill Cowher resumes are about exactly where Lovie is.
— @Qstache, from
Good point. Fisher and Cowher are regarded as potential franchise saviors. If the Bears fired Smith, he wouldn’t be likely be held in very high regard in other NFL cities. The big names who have had NFL success that are going to be pursued in the offseason are Cowher,
, Mike Holmgren and
, assuming he is fired by the
. Smith’s winning percentage as a head coach is .565. Cowher’s is .623. Gruden’s is .540. Holmgren’s is .592. Reid’s is .594. Smith is the only one of the five who never has had a
When was the last time the Bears had what would be called a "signature" win? It seems more times than not when the Bears are on national TV (Sunday or Monday nights) their performance is not one to remember. And what, if anything, does this say about Lovie Smith as a head coach?
— Thomas Borich, Superior, Wis.
To find the kind of win you are talking about, you probably have to go back to the third game of the 2010 season (not including their playoff victory against the
, who would be eventual
champions, were 2-0 and coming off an 11-5 season, and the Bears beat them 20-17 with two fourth quarter
field goals at
. Since that time, they have had five chances at “signature wins.” Later in the 2010 season, the Bears had a chance to beat the Super Bowl-bound
but fell 36-7 at Soldier Field. They had a chance to beat the 4-0
last year in Detroit but failed to do so. Defeating the Packers,
or 49ers this season would have qualified as “signature wins, but the Bears lost all three. I’m not sure what all of this says about Smith, other than he was coaching teams on those days that couldn’t beat their opponents.
— Ryan, Fort Wayne, Ind.
I’ll be surprised if Scott isn’t at least on the field at right tackle for a couple of series Sunday. And I won’t be surprised if he is in the starting lineup. The Bears don’t want to give up on Carimi. He essentially is a rookie from an experience standpoint, and he is a talented player. I’ve had personnel men on other teams express surprise to me that Carimi has struggled. There still is hope for him. But it’s not working now, and Smith and
do not want Carimi to be the reason the Bears don’t achieve their potential.
What is the rule for holding? I can't get over how Bears offensive linemen can't stop anyone for even a second, and other teams' quarterbacks have what it seems like all day to throw. I watch other games and their offensive linemen have both hands grabbing the jersey of the defensive linemen. Isn't that holding?
— Ron Koji, La Crosse, Wis.
Section 1, Article 3 of The 2012 Official Rules and Casebook of the National Football League says it is holding if a blocker “use[s] his hands or arms to materially restrict an opponent or alter the defender’s path or angle of pursuit. Material restrictions include but are not limited to: I. grabbing or tackling an opponent; II. Hooking, jerking, twisting or tuning him; or; III. Pulling him to the ground.” Officials usually allow blockers to get away with a subtle jersey grab as long as the blocker gets the front of the jersey in between the shoulder pads and the grab doesn’t give him too big of an advantage.
— Mark Early, Arlington, Va.
I think you have to look at each case individually Mark. If a guard can’t switch from the left side to the right, how good is he? If you think Gabe Carimi has struggled at right tackle, you don’t want to see how he would be blocking on the left side. Roberto Garza has played no worse at center than he did at guard. Lance Louis played right tackle out of necessity last year. I think both rookies, McClellan and Rodriguez, have looked pretty promising at their positions. The one guy who was really hurt by position switching, in my opinion, was Danieal Manning.
— @Geensey, from Twitter
I think there has to be a concerted effort to get Bennett more involved, which there has not been. That effort has to come from three sources: the game plan, the play calls and the quarterback’s reads. Bennett is not going to catch six or seven passes by accident. He’s been a forgotten man, and the Bears offense is worse because of it.
— @URlyle, from Twitter
I think Cutler’s concussion history is something the Bears have to take into account regarding a contract extension because it could impact his long-term ability to play the game. I’m not saying it will, because I don’t have access to his medical records. But the more concussions he suffers, the less valuable he becomes. A quarterback who is a durability risk is worth less. And a quarterback who could have his career shortened is worth less still.
Putting all other issues aside, how much does it cost taxpayers each time the playing surface needs repairs or replacement? If we multiply that figure by the number of repairs needed over the years, the sum will no doubt be staggering. If the Bears are opposed to an artificial grass playing surface, they should pay for the constant repairs and maintenance. The current arrangement is ridiculous.
— Bill Zolla
It costs $250,000 to completely resod Soldier Field. It is in the Bears’ contract with the city that the Bears do not pay for resoddings. That’s one of the reasons the city would be in favor of replacing natural grass with an infill surface. The Bears, however, have been resistant to a change. They believe natural grass better protects their most natural resources — their players.