User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Bears GM: Playoff misses did in Smith

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - The Chicago Bears had too many playoff misses and too many problems on offense. That's why general manager Phil Emery fired coach Lovie Smith.

The Bears let Smith go Monday even though they won 10 games.

Missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years and the inability to fix the offense were simply too much to overlook, so they cut ties with their coach after a nine-year run that included three division titles, two NFC championship game appearances and a trip to the Super Bowl.

``Our No. 1 goal has to be to win championships and to win championships we must be in contention on a consistent basis,'' Emery said. ``And to be in contention, we have to be in the playoffs on a consistent basis. Five out of the last six years, we have not been there. We have fallen short.''

He pointed out that while the Bears consistently boasted an effective defense under Smith with stars such as Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and later Julius Peppers, they never could get it right on offense. Smith had four offensive coordinators during his tenure. The Bears made big trades for quarterback Jay Cutler and receiver Brandon Marshall, but they continued to struggle through the years whether it was because of poor play-calling, poor execution or poor blocking.

Either way, the team is moving on. Emery had discussions with chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips, but ultimately, the decision to change coaches was his.

Now, the search is on.

Emery said Tuesday he'll be interviewing potential replacements over the next two weeks and would like to have one in place by the college All-Star games later this month. A person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press they will interview Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy this week. Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan and Atlanta Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong are also expected to interview, according to reports.

Emery wouldn't rule out candidates with defensive backgrounds or college coaches. He was also asked if special teams coordinator Dave Toub is in the running.

``No one's been excluded,'' Emery said. ``We have some excellent coaches on our staff and I'm not excluding anybody.''

He also said he has no preference for a 4-3 or 3-4 defense, but added the personnel is geared for a 4-3.

The coaching search isn't the only big issue facing the Bears at the moment.

Urlacher has an expiring contract and could be gone after being limited by injuries this season. He was slowed by a knee issue and missed the final four games because of a hamstring problem. Emery was noncommittal about the eight-time Pro Bowl player's future.

Then, there's Cutler. Are the Bears convinced he is the long-term solution for them at quarterback?

He has one year left on his contract, and although Emery talked about building around him, he also said `` That answer is going to come as we move forward with a new head coach.

``Am I convinced that Jay has the talent to be that? Yes, I am.,'' Emery said. ``I'll say the same thing that I said this summer: I see Jay as a franchise quarterback. We've got to build around him. That's been the goal from the beginning, to build around Jay and to build our team toward championships.''

For now, Emery is focused on finding a coach.

He replaced the fired Jerry Angelo after last season with the mandate that he keep Smith for at least this year. With lofty expectations, the Bears won seven of their first eight games before everything crumbled. Yet, Emery insisted having to work with the coach for a year didn't set him back in executing his long-term plan.


Online: and

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

Rogers: MNF - Texans at Broncos
Roberts: SNF - Seahawks at Cardinals
Giants' 4 INTs key in 17-10 win over Rams
Ajayi rushes for 214, Dolphins tops Bills
Eagles tame Bradford, deal Vikes 1st loss
Lions top 'Skins on Stafford's late TD
Chiefs beat mistake-prone Saints 27-21
Luck, Colts pull out 34-26 win at Titans
A.J. Green fuels Bengals' win over Browns
Why Buy Picks From
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
7-1 L2 Sundays, 25-12 NFL Run
12-3 G-Play Run, +1,115 TY
8-1 Last 9 NFL Guarantees
8-1 L9 Totals, 11-4 L15 Selections
8-3 NFL Last Sunday
7-1 L8 G-Plays, 11-5 Totals TY
4-0 Record Last Sunday
9-3 L12 G-Plays, 3-1 L4 Mondays
15-7 Last 22 NFL G-Plays
3-0 NFL Week 6 Record
6-1 Thursdays TY, 11-6 L17 GPlays
5-2 Last 7 NFL Guarantees
3-0 Record L3 NFL Totals
8-3 Last 11 Guaranteed Plays
7-2 L9 Over/Under Plays
3-0 L3 Thurs., 7-3 L10 Picks
NFL Pro Football Expert Picks - Houston Texans at Denver Broncos
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 1115
Chip Chirimbes + 402
The Gold Sheet + 347
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 450
Bruce Marshall + 364
Dave Cokin + 300
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Pat Hawkins 61 %
Michael Black 58 %
Chip Chirimbes 56 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 960
Chip Chirimbes + 565
Greg Smith + 395
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Paul Bovi + 562
Kevin Rogers + 480
Pat Hawkins + 370
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 720
Gary Bart + 544
Mark Franco + 395
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership