The Philadelphia Eagles announced that they will interview ex-Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith on Thursday. He is the most accomplished NFL coach of any other candidate the Eagles have interviewed to date.
Smith has spent the last nine seasons coaching the Bears. He has a career regular season record of 81-63 and post-season record of 3-3. Like Andy Reid, he made it to one Super Bowl but didn’t win. Smith is a defensive-minded coach and his Bears have generally had a decent defense during his era.
So, why am I not excited about this interview?
Because Smith reminds me of an Andy Reid-type on the defensive side of the ball, only just not quite as successful.
First of all, his demeanor is like Reid in that he doesn’t get overly emotional. He has a cool, calm and confident presence. He has the respect of his players because he rarely calls them out publicly.
He’s a defensive guru who has struggled with handling the offensive side of things (i.e., Andy without Jim Johnson). In his nine seasons with Chicago, Smith had four offensive coordinators and five different starting quarterbacks.
Smith’s tenure in Chicago has been marred by offensive inconsistency due several changes in personnel and coaches. They’ve also suffered from a serious lack of play-makers for the majority of Smith’s tenure.
They now have Brandon Marshall and some stability at QB with Jay Cutler, thanks to a couple of trades. Matt Forte is arguably the only play-maker drafted by the Bears during Smith’s time there.
As a matter of fact, if you think Reid’s drafting of defensive players was brutal, Smith’s drafting of offensive players is worse. And if you want to compare overall drafting, Smith’s drafts actually make Reid’s drafts look like pure genius.
Here, check it out for yourself. Look at their drafts from 2004-2012 and tell me they’re any better than Reid’s. Or at least look at his drafting on the offensive side of the ball and tell me it wasn’t brutal.
Furthermore, Smith had a top-10 offense just once, the year Chicago went to the Super Bowl. Like Reid, his teams have typically been competitive but could never quite be good enough. Smith has only had three losing seasons as a head coach, but he’s also only had three playoff seasons.
I’m not trying to bash Smith here because in reality the Eagles could do much worse than him. However, I think they can do better and I’d rather take a chance on someone else at this point. Out of the candidates they have or will interview, I’d rank him as my third choice behind Mike McCoy and Gus Bradley.
Ultimately, I’d love me some Lovie at defensive coordinator, but not at head coach.