Two weeks ago, I wrote at length about Lovie Smith’s tenure as head coach of the Chicago Bears and the outlook for his 2012 season. The obstacles facing Lovie as he enters his ninth season in the Windy City were not lost on the NFL.com’s Around The League Blog, whose Gregg Rosenthal labeled Smith as the Bear facing the most pressure to perform this season.
This is a dangerous season for Smith. He has the third most talented team in the NFC North and expectations are very high. Anything short of a playoff appearance will probably get Smith fired.
I’ll have to respectfully disagree with Gregg’s assertion that the Bears are “the third most talented team in the NFC North”. The rise of the feisty, young Lions has caused analysts around the league to fall in love with them and forecast great things for them in the near future. The Lions have responded to this newfound love by repeatedly stepping in dog pooh during this offseason. Detroit is coming off their first winning season since Barry Sanders was running circles around the competition over a decade ago. I’d like to see a little more consistency out of them before they are labeled The Next Big Thing.
As for Lovie and the Bears? I fully believe that they will right the ship in 2012.
So, with his back once again up against the proverbial wall, what does Lovie have in store for us in 2012? Barring another disastrous set of injuries, I’m expecting nothing less than a playoff run this season. Lovie has spent his entire tenure in Chicago making chicken salad out of chicken sh!t . Jerry Angelo never really equipped him with a roster that was expected to succeed. Now, with a competent GM running the show in Phil Emery, Lovie is coaching the most talented set of players he has ever had here. After finding success with lesser parts over the last decade, it’s not a stretch to assume that the Bears will be back in the thick of things this upcoming Fall. Lovie Smith has shocked us all before. Reaching new heights of success this season and retaining his job is definitely within reach.
This season cannot begin soon enough …