I'm wondering if the coach is listening to his team's critics more than he ever would admit. Maybe Smith just has a guilty conscience because the high-powered offense his team was supposed to possess has frustrated more than it has dazzled.
But, as the Bears conclude the second quarter of their season, the offense has a terrific opportunity to do something Sunday it hasn't done all year — score touchdowns on consecutive possessions.
The Titans are off-the-chart bad on defense. Then again, so were the four previous opponents the Bears played.
It's staggering how difficult it has been for Mike Tice's offense to put the ball in the end zone. After a touchdown on their first drive in the 23-22 victory over the Panthers, the Bears went almost 43 minutes before scoring another offensive touchdown.
Technically, that's an improvement. They marched right down the field for a touchdown against the Lions in Week 7, then went 56 minutes, 48 seconds with only a pair of Robbie Gould field goals as they muscled out a 13-7 victory.
Smith wants you to know his team is 6-1 and atop the NFC North. Remember only that getting there included a 41-3 blowout of the Jaguars in Week 5. Pay no mind to the fact the Bears technicolor offense didn't score a touchdown until the fourth quarter.
Nobody saw this coming. With Cutler healthy and reunited with Brandon Marshall, with a content and healthy Matt Forte, with Mike Martz removed, the Bears offense finally was going to be so explosive it would be able to carry that aging defense on its back and win shootouts.
What happened? I'm hoping Tice, between stand-up routines in Lake Forest, has figured it out. His prevent offense isn't a fraction as postseason ready as the Bears pick-6 happy defense.
Tice again has an opponent on Sunday that looks like a mere sparring partner. This has to be that breakthrough week for the Bears struggling offense, right?
Monday, following a victory, Smith will let us all know his club approaches the third quarter of its season quite pleased to be 7-1.
How refreshing it would be if unhealthy doses of caffeine weren't required to remain upright through a dozen or so possessions for the Bears not-yet-21st-Century offense.
Observations from around the NFL:
•Bears center Roberto Garza has been flagged for a false start three times in the past two weeks. That's hard to do.
•I'm not a Philip Rivers fan, but I like when the Chargers play on prime time so the entire nation can see. The AFC should have a grumpy quarterback whose body language and sideline demeanor are over-analyzed too.
•Bucs rookie head coach Greg Schiano is fulfilling his promise to rid the roster of questionable characters. Thursday the Bucs sent cornerback Aqib Talib to the Patriots for fourth- and seventh-round draft picks. Talib is serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
•Never said before prior to last weekend: The NFL just isn't as spectacular when the Texans are off a week.
•If you're a trend player, take the Ravens and lay the points against the Browns in Cleveland. The Ravens are 4-0 straight up and against the spread after off weeks under John Harbaugh. Throw in extended time to prepare after a Thursday assignment and the Ravens are 10-0 in both categories.
Special contributor Dan McNeil hosts "The McNeil and Spiegel Show" weekdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on WSCR-AM 670.