Lovie Smith is the Defensive Version of Andy Reid | Eagles Addict
Lovie Smith

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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.


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8 Responses to Lovie Smith is the Defensive Version of Andy Reid

  1. Fábio Campos says:

    Hey Dave,

    Mike McCoy(HC) and Lovie Smith(DC) would be a great combo… Do I ask to much?

    • That would be great, but unfortunately it’s not likely. I won’t say it can’t happen, because it’s not like teams are breaking down Lovie’s door for HC interviews. He very well could end up taking a DC job somewhere so you never know. Much will depend on who becomes HC.

  2. Ryan says:

    I tend to agree with your assessment and comparison of Andy Reid Vs. Lovie Smith. Both are certainly single minded coaches, with Andy being Offensive and Lovie being Defensive. Additionally the Personality types do seem quite similar But; one thing you mentioned really just didn’t seem right to me.

    Lovie Smith’s Offensive drafting Vs. Andy Reid Defensive drafting, just seemed to be something I couldn’t agree on. And to a large extent the drafting overall. I’d GLADLY take a Lovie drafted offense over a Reid drafted Defense any year (2004-12).

    Andy Reid had two good drafts in 14 years: 02 (Lito Sheppard, Micheal Lewis, Sheldon Brown & Westbrook) and 09 (Maclin & McCoy). Reid Has had 12 first round selections and 6 were used on D-line, just 1 had a single probowl season(Corey Simon-Drafted 2000) and Sheppard(2002) add 2 at CB.

    Reid drafted players have a total of 13 probowls, 8 from the defensive side But since 2004 just 7 overall and 2 from defense(Mcnabb Had 6 alone). Lovie smith had 10 overall and 5 from offensive players(though Hester[3] does skew that).

    So yes Andy has had a few good picks in his tenure, but he has also wasted far more high draft picks. Lovie has been able to sustain a good defense essentially his entire tenure some years they didn’t rank as high but they were always one of the most feared and respected groups.

    The way I see it Jim Johnson carried Andy Reid and covered many of his flaws and inabilities; and even on offense it was McNabb’s show even once Westbrook showed up. Once JJ sadly passed it marked an immediately recognizable downfall of the team.

    It took Andy 9 years to finally draft a true Starting NFL wide receiver. In 2009 he drafted Desean Jackson and Maclin the year after. And it wasn’t just a position he avoided, having drafted Freddie Mitchell, Todd Pinkston and Reggie Brown all pick 36 or earlier.

    But let’s not focus solely on Andy Reid here, let’s also take a look at who Lovie Smith has Drafted. I’ve already discussed Lovies ability to keep a solid defense on the feild year in and out(despite that side being more volatile year to year). But has he really missed THAT badly on offense? or was he always a victim of circumstance that were largely out of his control?

    In 05 he drafted Benson, things got off to rough start there when they couldn’t agree on a contract and Benson started late. But he would go on to have multiple 1000+ yard seasons in Cincy. He also drafted Orton that year, Who did well enough for a 4 round choice. Going 21-12 under center in Chitown before having a breakout season in Denver the following season only to fall apart the next year(at least record wise).

    Then in 06 He drafted Hester in the second round who will probably go down as one the all time best return men. And Olsen came in 07 who went largely under-used as a bear but has now shown he’s a talented tightend in Carolina.

    08 brought Forte, who has been a very good RB even despite having some injury issues. And again we see Contract issues arise yet again. Which i have to think is an ownership issue rather than a headcoach problem.

    09 Knox came out of the 5th and showed some talent and has a probowl under his belt. I really expected to see him or Hester excel with Marshall now on the other side.

    Surely that is Lovie’s downfall, he was never able to put together a strong offense to go with the defense. But surely it wasn’t because he drafted the wrong guys. Perhaps he could have taken more picks on the offensive side but unlike Andy the chances he did take on his weak side weren’t complete wastes.

    I already talked about how many probowls years they have gotten from players they drafted(from 2004-2012 7 for Andy and 10 for Lovie[2 and 5 for the respective “weak sides”] but even if we take out the 3 for Hester since he’s really more of a specialist/return guy, they are even in probowls over that span.

    However they are not even in how much they spent(in picks) to get those 2 probowl seasons. From 2004-2012 both used 4 first round selections on their weak side. But Reid used 7 top 50 picks, 12 top 75, 18 top 100, and 23 top 125 selections on defensive players. While Smith Used 4(all first round),8,11,and 13 in those same groupings on offensive players. So Smith’s success rate on drafting offense is much better than Reid’s success with Defense.

    Neither really strike me as great drafters, and neither are bad coaches, but tend to think if Smith had the Jim Johnson equivalent as his offensive coordinator we’d have a much different view on this comparison.

    All that Said I’d Much rather see Lovie as a DC than if he were to end up in Philly, but If i honestly had to choose one or the other no strings attached, I’d honestly probably rather have Lovie Smith right now.

    McCoy and Lovie together would be about the only thing better than landing Jon Gruden and Bradley or one of the other sought after DCs.

    • Hey Ryan, first of all I just want to say thanks for the great response! Looks like you have done some research on the matter!

      The thing that stood out to me when comparing their drafts…or mainly looking at Smith’s drafts…is the lack of playmakers…on either side of the ball. Lovie drafted some solid players on D like Nathan Vasher, Tommie Harris, Stephen Paea and maybe Major Wright, but no real “playmaker”. When you look at the offensive side, he had *some* ok picks but really only struck gold with Matt Forte.

      Devin Hester has been a great RS so he hit one there, but as a WR he has been less than stellar (and yes, that definitely skews your pro bowl count ;))

      Forte and Hester are arguably the only real playmakers Smith drafted.

      Andy Reid has drafted his share of solid players or role players, but he definitely drafted more playmakers than Smith did. Reid drafted impact players like McNabb, Westbrook, Simon, Sheppard, Brown, Trent Cole, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. After next season we might be able to add Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox to that list as well.

      McCoy and Lovie would be a good combo, I could deal with that.

      • JB says:

        Lovie hasn’t drafted anyone. Jerry Angelo has been the guy making the picks in Chicago. Different set up in the front office there than Andy Reid had here.

        Reid had final say here, Lovie did not. Doesn’t really seem fair to put bad drafts on Lovie.

        • Good point, but to think Lovie had no say in who was drafted would be a little silly, would it not? Maybe he didn’t have final say, but he certainly held some sway as head coach.

          • JBJB says:

            Some sway I’m sure. But you still can’t compare “Andy’s drafts” to “Lovie’s drafts.” It’s just not equivalent. Angelo was a very powerful GM. He actually could hire/fire coaches.

            We know Andy made the pick on every one of those guys. We do not know that about Lovie.

            I mean “final say” vs “some sway.” That really sums up the difference for me.

            I’ll just say that Lovie’s draft ability or lackthereof is not a major concern for me. Angelo was responsible for the drafts there and Roseman will have that role here. The responsibility rests primarily on those GMs.

          • Okay, I can give you that. But ultimately, we have no way of knowing how the Bears came to the decision of who they’d draft. Someone has to have final say, but usually there are multiple people giving input into the decision. How much input Lovie had is what we’ll never know. We can only go by who was drafted. Maybe that point is moot, but it’s something worth pondering anyway.


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