Bears focus on Lions, not possible changes
By The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, 6:52 p.m.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Bears linebacker Lance Briggs insisted all he's thinking about is Chicago beating the Detroit Lions and reaching the playoffs.
The idea that this could be the last go-around with his coaches and some teammates?
The seven-time Pro Bowler said he's not thinking about what might happen if the Bears (9-6) lose Sunday at Detroit. They're in danger of missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years, and even if they beat the Lions, they would need help from rival Green Bay.
If they don't reach the postseason, there is speculation that coach Lovie Smith could be gone. Brian Urlacher has an expiring contract and might be on his way out, too, but Briggs wasn't thinking about those possibilities.
“My job right now is to focus on beating the Detroit Lions,” he said Thursday. “I think that's what all of our jobs are right now. That's what we need to focus on — trying to get ourselves into the postseason.”
These are awkward times for the Bears. They're in a situation they never would have envisioned after a 7-1 start, trying to slip into the playoffs and in need of a big assist even if they do their part against the Lions. They would also need Green Bay to beat or tie Minnesota. Chicago could also get in with a tie if the Packers beat the Vikings, but if they don't make it, there's a feeling that an era could be ending.
If management is ready to pull the plug on Smith, special teams coordinator Dave Toub urged them to reconsider.
“Lovie's a great coach,” he said. “He needs to stay here.”
If the speculation is bothering Smith, Toub doesn't see it.
“He's been steady,” Toub said. “We've been very lucky — the Chicago Bears are very lucky — to have Lovie Smith. You better realize that. Everybody better realize that.”
It's not just Smith's job possibly on the line. The rest of the staff could be gone, too, but defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said he's not worrying about that. He sees a game coming up that the Bears can't afford to lose. He sees a once-promising season coming down to this — one final chance — and sees no time to worry about the what-ifs.
“To me, it's not difficult at all,” he said. “You've got a job at hand, do your job. Do what men are supposed to do.”
But what about human nature?
“You take human nature, I take a man's responsibility,” Marinelli said.
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice seems to be taking more of a Zen-like approach. If he's feeling more pressure, he's keeping it to himself.
“That would be bad because then the guys would think I'm uptight,” he said. “So I don't want to be uptight. That's the worst thing that I can be is uptight.”
Briggs put in a plug for Smith and said the players want to win this one for him. More than that, though, he doesn't want to see the wrecking ball hit the Bears.
“More than just Lovie,” he said. “You want to win it for us. Win it for us. If you've enjoyed your time here in Chicago and the way that Lovie has treated you. ... then win for that. If Lovie is not here, that goes — that goes with him. I've enjoyed every moment of being here, here in Chicago. And I don't intend on that changing. So it's time to go out and beat Detroit, and then we'll pull for the Packers.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL notebook: Cardinals hire Roger Kingdom as speed coach
- NFL notebook: Browns cut troubled WR Bess
- Former Steel Valley, Pitt star Ezell eyes WWE if NFL doesn’t work out
- NFL notebook: League may experiment with 42-yard PAT
- Combine notebook: Steelers, Cowboys projected to be over new cap figure
- Steelers GM Colbert: Another playoff miss was ‘devastating’