Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010
By John Mullin
Lovie Smith doesnt spout a lot of iambic pentameter from the podium but indications are that he is nothing if not a student of poetry.
How better to sum up the Smith Way since he arrived in 2004 to head up the football play than the lines from Rudyard Kiplings If (which I believe are or at least were at one time inscribed over the players entrance to Centre Court, Wimbledon):
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
Well, the Bears have met triumph (Philadelphia, Green Bay, 8-3) and disaster (NY Giants, Seattle, Washington) and Smith is indeed treating those imposters just the same. Always has.
Weve beaten a lot of good football teams, just like we did Sunday, Smith said almost dismissively about the suggestion that the Eagles win was finally a statement about how good his Bears really were. No more than that.
Greg Olsen has seen Smith operation for going on four years now and his mentality of he doesnt let the ups get him too high, and he doesnt let the downs get him too low, I think is huge.
Not everyone always thinks so.
The amusing reality is that if youre even-dispositioned, at least outwardly, and your team is winning, youre a calming influence. Youre a Zen master. Youre serene.
If youre the same way and your team is losing, youre dull. You lack fire. You dont get your team up. Ask Dick Jauron, who was an enlightened hands-free leader when his team was 13-3 and dull when his team was.
Ask Smith, too, the titan of tranquility with a rookie quarterback getting him to the playoffs in 2005, the caliph of calm behind Rex Grossman and the mercurial 2006 Super Bowl year. And the earl of understatement when he forgot how to coach in 07 and 09. Same guy. Clearly hes a mope when his teams dont win.
Smith doesnt have a runaway look-at-me gene even if he does have a listen-to-me (when I tell you were good) chromosome, but show me a coach who doesnt. If anything, Smith gets some points for not being overly sensitive or remotely guided by what people think of him.
Of course, it the Bears lose in Detroit, itll be a disaster. May he treat that imposter just the same as beating Philadelphia.
Longtime Lions beat guy Tom Kowalski has a solid take on the edginess and finger-pointing that has crept into the Detroit locker room and huddle in the wake of the losing streak there and in particular the demoralizing blowout suffered against New England.
Tom has been around Lions teams ranging from the playoff teams of Barry Sanders to the 0-16 group and he says that coach Jim Schwartz has to arrest any dissension before it reaches the dreaded players-only-meeting stage. If that happens, the Lions are in freefall and the Bears could be looking at a truly fragmented NFC North rival for the second time in a month (Minnesota).
With one more win in 010, Jay Cutler will have his first winning season as a starting quarterback since high school...
If youre a sayer of nay regarding the Bears because of a perceived weak NFL (Im not sure why its somehow supposedly weaker as a league this year than any other year but thats for another discussion), you might be missing the bigger picture. Youre watching history. According to @NFLfootballinfo, through 12 weeks there are 19 teams within one game of first places in the standings and thats the most in NFL history...
Check out former agentNFL exec Andrew Brandts look at the labor situation on National Football Post. Its the first in a series and Andrew gives some very readable, understandable perspectives on how things got to where they are and what forces are at work in the situation...
The Dec. 12 Bears-Patriots game is being moved from noon to 3:15 p.m. but for those of you asking, the Dec. 26 Bears-New York Jets game is confirmed in its noon slot. The Jan. 2 noon game at Green Bay, however, is still subject to flexing and if that is a deciding game in playoff scenarios, best guess is that it gets moved to the more prominent national slot.
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.