There probably wasn’t a single person reading this story that felt that the Bears would end up winning the NFC North and participating in the NFC Championship game last year. The Bears went into the season with a lot of questions including whether or not they would be able to work well in the new offensive system that was brought to the team by Mike Martz. It was also wondered just how well the defense would do with Peppers (who had been accused of taking plays off) in place.
It’s believed that none of this would be possible without the efforts of one of the longest tenured coaches in the NFL, Lovie Smith. Smith, having joined the Bears in 2004 Smith has taken the Bears to the Super Bowl once and gotten them to the playoffs three times. There are also some “less than productive seasons” sprinkled in there as well.
Last year’s run to the NFC Championship game was unexpected and it has made Smith look very good in the eyes of owners and some fans. In fact it helped Smith get a contract extension allowing him to try to finish what he has started.
But did Smith have a successful season on his own? What was it that took the Bears out of perpetual mediocrity and propelled them to the NFC Championship game? Was it all Smith’s doing or did he have a lot of help?
There are some that feel that Smith and the Bears would not have gotten anywhere close to the NFC Championship game hand they not been able to work a few miracles on their offensive line and who was the miracle worker there? Mike Tice. And Tice may have had a hand in other things done this past season that helped the Bears win.
Tice has been head coach in the NFL and knows what it takes to win. He can offer suggestions as to what might work not only on the offensive line but on offense overall. You can bet that he was a strong voice in the middle of the season last year in getting Martz to run the ball more often.
With an experienced coaching staff like Smith has (Martz is a former head coach as well) you can bet that Smith had a lot of success due to this experience rather than with his own ability to coach and come up with solutions. In fact some of the obvious coaching decisions that Smith has made (including replay calls) have come back to bit the team in the end.
With all of this experience surrounding him there should have been no excuse for the Bears to not do what they did last year (except for the lack of talent at some positions on the team of course) and the Bears could have another good season. If Tice can help put that line together and make it work the Bears offense will work much better, will be much more productive and could help lead the Bears to the playoff promised land once again.
So you have to give the coaching staff surrounding Smith a lot of credit for what they have been able to help Smith do (last year) and what they will be able to do in the upcoming season. Without this experience it’s clear that the Bears would not have had as much success as they did last season.