Yesterday on CBSSports.com, Senior NFL Blogger Will Brinson revealed his 10 hottest coaching seats in the NFL. And to no ones surprise Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith made the list. When the Bears hired general manager Phil Emery, he was hired with the understanding that he would retain Lovie as his coach for 2012. After that it's his call.
With a new offensive coordinator in place, a few new weapons for quarterback Jay Cutler to throw to, and a talented defense returning, there's no reason the Bears couldn't be a playoff team this season. But is it playoffs or bust for Lovie Smith? After the jump a look at where Brinson had Lovie on his list.
7. Lovie Smith, Bears
2011 was so odd for Smith: He could've avoided a spot here if Jay Cutler hadn't been injured or even if Chicago had a capable backup. Of course, if they had a capable backup, Phil Emery wouldn't be the new GM in town. And a new GM in town can always mean trouble for a head coach. It was a little surprising to see Chicago retain Lovie, and it's going to be tough for him in 2012 with the NFC North theoretically only becoming stronger. The Bears have plenty of expectations as well, and went out and landed Brandon Marshall this offseason to reunite with Cutler, as well as picking up Jason Campbell to serve as the aforementioned capable backup. Serious defensive regression, injury or aging could spell doom for Smith, especially if the Bears don't challenge for the division title.
I'm not sure how warm the number 7 bum* is, but it's warm enough to land on his list. I agree with his reasoning and I do think it's playoffs or bust for Coach Smith. Not because I think firing him if the Bears miss the playoffs is the right thing to do, but because I think it's what Phil Emery will do if the Bears are home in the post season.
What do you guys think of his list, and do you think it's playoffs or bust for Lovie?
*British slang for ass