With the news of Mike Tice being promoted to Offensive Coordinator and a passing game coach as of yet to be hired, I wanted to look at just what kind of situation he'll be getting into. Not from a personnel standpoint, since we'll be beating that horse for the next six months, but from a historical perspective. So, join me below the fold to look at just how offensive the Bears have been under Lovie Smith.
The Bears are historically known for their defense and running game; if you look at the Bears inducted into the Hall of Fame, you'll see why. Not only have we, historically, had great players on both defense and in the backfield, but until Cutler came to town we all knew that Mr. Luckman was the best Bears' QB of all-time, hands down. With Lovie Smith entering his ninth season as the Bears' Head Coach and hiring his fourth offensive coordinator, I wanted to see just what kind of numbers we've put up under Lovie. Gird your loins and prepare to be unshocked and non-awed.
Below we have the offensive rankings for each Bears' season under the guidance of Lovie Smith, including total offense, passing and rushing yardage ranks respectively, points scored, and turnovers. These are all offensive numbers (yes, I mean in both ways) and give us an idea of what kind of history we've had under Lovie.
|*denotes playoff year|
Now lets be honest, if you're surprised that these numbers are as bad as they are, then you're on the wrong website. We know the Bears struggle offensively, and have had numerous reasons for why that is the case. You can blame Lovie, whomever our OC was that year, Jerry Angelo, our quarterback, schedule, etc, but the fact is that Mike Tice is going against eight years of terrible offensive numbers. Only once under Lovie have we finished higher than 23rd in total offense, and even his vaunted "get off the bus running strategy" only placed us in the top ten in rushing yards twice.
Obviously pure offensive yardage stats don't tell the whole story, but what the information provides us with is a heavy dose of skepticism over whether or not Tice and Lovie (and the new passing coach) can truly turn this around next year. We are in a unique situation having our best QB and RB tandem of the Lovie era (hopefully healthy) no longer saddled by Mad Martz, but the Bears' offense is still in need of changes to personnel in both the receiving corp and offensive line.
Later in the week we'll take a look at the defensive ranking numbers under Lovie, where things get alot prettier and underscore the Bears' obvious strength over the past eight years (along with special teams - don't go Toub!). The team's offensive production next season may be the biggest determining factor for just how successful we could be, but history tells us not raise our expectations too high. Just remember, before Tice, there was Martz, Turner and Shea, each with a new vision for our offense.