If you read the first comment on my profile, you'll notice that I got on the air on the local sports radio station this week. Lawrence Holmes is one of my favorite personalities on WSCR 670 AM. He is always prepared and doesn't open his mouth unless he's done his homework. I took a half-day off work Tuesday for personal reasons (that's for another blog) and heard Holmes filling in for the normal guy. It was 12:00 noon. I thought I'd be able to get in, so I called.
I got through and they put me in the queue. The subject was this: Do you have faith in Lovie Smith that he will be able to fix the Bears' problems on defense.
I said yes. The problem as I see it is that the Bears defense came into the season as one of the highest rated defenses in the league. They knew how good they were, and half expected to show up and just scare the opposing offenses off the field. (Even though at first they put forth some really good efforts on the field.) But the injuries started piling up. Despite missing half the starting lineup, the defense continued to operate under the assumption that the were the vaunted Bears defense from 2006. And that's the trap my beloved Bears stepped into.
The fact is, they are NOT the same defense right now. Alex Brown made the comment of the year after the Vikings game. He said the defense just isn't very good right now. He's right. Now they have to accept that fact. From what I've seen and heard this week, it sounds like the team has accepted reality, forgotten about 2006, and come to the realization that they are a pedestrian defense at best. The next step is for every player and coach involved with the defense to start thinking, "what can *I* do to make this squad a championship-caliber defense?"
Will Lovie Smith make the right moves to improve his team? Yes, I think so. I think he needs to bench Adam Archuleta and let Brandon McGowan play strong safety. I think he needs to leave Daniel Manning at free safety. Let Truman McBride take his lumps at corner until Nate Vasher returns.
I think he'll make those moves. He's not stupid. He's seen Archuleta's miscues and Manning's struggles at CB. He knows the season is officially on the line now. Having said that, Lovie can't get on the field and make tackles for his defense. He'll make the right moves, his players have to do the rest.
One more thing, can we please stop talking about Bob Babich? His unit has been decimated by injuries. Ron Rivera wouldn't be able to do any better with this mess than Babich. How quickly we forget that Rivera is the guy who stubbornly insisted on single coverage on Steve Smith in the playoffs... And three months later was quoted as saying "I still don't know what we could have done differently."