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The Bears Den: January 01, 2013 - Lovie Smith edition

Julius Peppers is a huge, huge fan of The Matrix.

Leon Halip

Change best for Lovie Smith and Bears - Jon Greenberg: There are half a dozen lousy NFL teams who could use some Lovie. But the Bears didn't win enough important games to garner another contract, and it was time to try something new in Chicago.

Bears gave Lovie Smith a fair opportunity - Kevin Seifert: Smith got a fair time period to take a championship step with the Bears, but in the end he could never replicate the magic of 2006. It was time to shake up the too-cozy environment a long-tenured coach tends to create.

Fired Smith too arrogant for own good - Barry Rozner: Insulated from reality, the sense of humility that was such a great part of Lovie Smith's personality when he arrived in Chicago became a distant memory. He didn't have the fan support to survive a bad season because he never once tried to get it, and now he has paid the price.

Dumping winning coach shows commitment to winning championships - Don Pierson: Owner Virginia McCaskey remembers when the Chicago Bears truly were the Monsters of the Midway she and her family want to restore.

Black Monday observations - Don Banks: Between Brian Urlacher's steady stream of complaints about how they're treated harshly by the Chicago fans and media, and Devin Hester's quasi-retirement threat in the wake of Lovie Smith's firing, I think I have a better idea of what ails the mediocre Bears. They've got a locker room that needs to grow up a bit and take some accountability.

Peter King's MMQB - What a regular season. What a year. What a Sunday.

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Lovie Smith's tenure ends

Smith relieved of duties as Bears head coach - Larry Mayer: Smith's downfall was a Bears offense that consistently struggled under four different coordinators.

Seven NFL head coaches, five GMs fired on busy Black Monday - Sam Farmer: In a head-spinning blizzard of pink slips, seven NFL head coaches were fired Monday, leaving openings in Arizona, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Kansas City, Philadelphia and San Diego.

Smith fired after latest second half collapse - Moon Mullin: The “bad” outweighed the “good” in the end, according to multiple sources. The news that the Bears had sent out forms requesting permission to interview assistants with other NFL teams points to the Bears looking first and fast at current pro coaches ahead of college prospects.

Bears fire coach Lovie Smith - Sean Jensen & Adam L. Jahns: What was Smith’s final message? “That he loves us all,” nickeback D.J. Moore said. “That he’s proud of us. Thanks for the effort. It’s the way the league is. Continue on with your goals.”

Weak offense costs Lovie Smith job - Brad Biggs & Dan Pompei: For all the good things Smith did in his nine years in Chicago, his undoing was his inability to take care of the side of the ball in which he had no background.

[Video] ESPN - Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter discuss the Bears' firing of Lovie Smith.

Only a deep postseason run would have saved Lovie's job - David Kaplan: Emery has quietly been evaluating the situation and, according to sources, he had come to the decision that the Bears offensive woes could not be fixed under Smith, and that for the team to build a foundation for long term success, a change had to be made.

New Bears regime sends Lovie Smith packing - Bob LeGere: While his defenses were generally among the best in the NFL and created more take-aways than any team in the league during his tenure, the offense was a completely different story.

A decision made for obvious reasons - Moon Mullin: Lovie Smith's nine-year tenure as Bears head coach ended Monday when he was fired after his team failed to make the postseason for the fifth time in the past six seasons.


Further reaction and analysis

[Video] ESPN - Ron Jaworski Merril and Hoge discuss the Bears' firing of Lovie Smith after a 10-6 season.

Bears fire Lovie Smith after nine seasons - Alex Marvez: He had no bigger supporter than team matriarch Virginia McCaskey, but while Angelo took the fall after last season, Smith was not without blame in the personnel issues over the years.

[Video] CTL discussion - Reactions to Lovie Smith's firing and whether it was time for change.

New coach will have to right the ship as Emery changes course - David Haugh: Changing coaches after a 10-6 season, in which they were slowly slipping away from a Super Bowl instead of getting closer, says Bears veterans no longer can feel comfortable and a Bears management structure easy to criticize no longer can be called complacent.

Coaches like Lovie Smith hard to find - Dan Pompei: There didn't seem to be a way out of the offensive tar pit for the Bears as long as Smith was the coach. Really, all of this was evident one year ago. Nothing has changed.

[Video] Kip Lewis & Dan Pompei - Reaction to Lovie Smith's firing and why, ultimately, it didn't work out for him.

Notable Chicago coaching firings - Vaughn McClure: Mike Ditka, Dick Jauron among those sent packing by Bears before Smith.


Timeline, player reactions, effects on roster

The Lovie Smith firing: A downward spiraling timeline - Moon Mullin: The Bears have ousted Lovie Smith as head coach, ending a tenure that included a Super Bowl appearance, but also significant disappointments, including one playoff appearance in the last six seasons.

The Best and Worst of the Lovie Era - Maggie Hendricks: In the end, it's not about an overall win or loss record. It's that Chicago wants football teams that will have a chance to win Super Bowls. Smith was well-liked by his players, but that still didn't earn him any rings.

Lovie Smith’s tenure with the Bears - Mark Potash charts the timeline from January 15th, 2004, to December 31st, 2012.

[Video] Hunter Hillenmeyer on Lovie's goodbye - The former Bear gives his reaction and discusses potential replacements and how things will change with the team.

Failures on offense cost Bears, Lovie Smith - Larry Mayer: Co-captains Jay Cutler and Roberto Garza wish that a struggling offense had done more to get the Bears into the playoffs and save coach Lovie Smith's job.

Bears players react to firing of coach Lovie Smith - Larry Mayer: The respect and admiration Bears players have for Lovie Smith was clear when they spoke to reporters Monday after the head coach was fired following nine seasons with the team.

Players, fans unsettled after Lovie Smith firing - Jim Miller discusses how he feels the team should approach the job hunt.

Players lament Lovie Smith departure - Brad Biggs: "The media, the false fans, you all got what you all wanted," Hester said. "Majority of you all wanted him out. As players, we wanted him in. I guess the false fans outruled us." ... The last time the Bears changed coaches, the locker room was upset with the dismissal of Dick Jauron after the 2003 season.

Your complete guide to Black Monday - Josh Alper: Bears players have not reacted well to Lovie's ousting, blaming it on "false fans" and the media instead of their own underachieving.

After Lovie Smith? Bears have issues to consider - Moon Mullin: The Bears have different issues to consider as their search for a new head coach begins, as player contracts expire and age becomes a factor.

Lovie Smith's firing will ripple throughout the Bears roster - Matt Bowen: Veterans are especially vulnerable to staff changes and many familiar faces can expect to follow their coach out the door.


Potential candidates for the Head Coach role

What's the answer for the Bears? - Mike Mulligan: Coaching candidates are sure to have plenty of questions about how the team does business.

Who's next? Candidates for Bears coach - Michael C. Wright looks at 16 potential replacements for Lovie.

[Video] ESPN - John Clayton breaks down the coaching situation in Chicago.

Five names to watch early in the Bears’ coaching search - Adam Hoge runs down two NFL and three college coaches. (Not literally.)

Predictions for coach, GM openings -'s Daniel Jeremiah thinks Dirk Koetter would be a good fit for the Bears' HC vacancy, and has Lovie replacing Chan Gailey in Buffalo.

Mike McCoy to talk with Bears, Cardinals - Arnie Stapleton: The man who dusted off the old read-option for Tim Tebow a year ago and helped guide Peyton Manning through his outstanding comeback in Denver this season is a hot head coaching candidate.

[Video] ESPN - Tim Hasselbeck and Merril Hoge discuss which open head-coaching position is the most attractive and the least. Are the Bears the best landing spot?

Most attractive NFL head-coaching opening? - Clark Judge ranks the seven head-coach openings in order of attractiveness, and places the Bears at #1.

[Video] Best coaching vacancies - Brian Billick breaks down the teams that present appealing scenarios for any prospective head coaches; two in particular stand out due to there being a QB in place.

Best coaching/GM options team by team as smoke clears - Jason La Canfora: Fixing that woeful offense and erratic QB Jay Cutler is clearly one of the biggest chores in Chicago.


All the Bears-Lions postgame analysis from week 17 is available in Scribbles and in yesterday's Den.

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