The Chicago Bears once again find themselves in a late season free fall. Chicago started the season 7-3 in 2011 and missed the playoffs. This season, the Bears started 7-1 but have now lost four of their last five games. Yes, injuries have played a role again this season, but the pattern of late season collapses has become disturbing, especially with the possibility of the Bears missing post-season play once again. If the Chicago Bears miss the playoffs this season, should head coach Lovie Smith be fired?
Last season, the Bears decided to switch up offensive coordinators. Mike Martz was allowed to leave while the team brought in Mike Tice to assume the role. The Bears traded for a deep threat, legitimate number one wide receiver. The club reunited QB Jay Cutler with his former teammate, Brandon Marshall. Jason Campbell was brought in as the new backup for Cutler. The team added free agent RB Michael Bush.Finally, there were supposed to be offensive weapons for Jay Cutler, other than just RB Matt Forte.
However, the team did little to address the greatest need the Bears have had in the last two seasons, the offensive line.
With the loss on Sunday, the Bears have now lost five consecutive games in December, dating back to the day after Christmas in 2010. At what point do the late season collapses fall on the shoulders of the head coach?
Lovie Smith took the 2006 Chicago Bears to Super Bowl XLI, losing to the Indianapolis Colts. Since their Super Bowl appearance, the Bears have won the division just once, and have played just two playoffs games. Since 2006, Smith has compiled an overall record of 50-43 to this point.
The Indianapolis Colts have won 9 games with a rookie quarterback this season. The Seattle Seahawks won just their second road game of the season against Chicago, playing a rookie quarterback under center. This year was supposed to be different for the Bears. Chicago was supposed to stake their claim for the NFC North title and now, there is talk of scrambling just to land the last wildcard seed.
Even if the Bears manage to advance into the playoffs but make an early exit, is that going to be enough to secure Smith’s job going forward? The Bears hired a new general manager this season and if the only part of the front office and coaching staff that hasn’t been changed is Smith, while repeating the pattern of behavior, something must change.
Perhaps the time has come for someone else to patrol the sidelines for the Bears in 2013.