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posted: 11/16/2013 8:11 PM

Bears miss Lovie? A painful notion

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Some headaches are self-induced and completely deserved.

But sometimes it's the external factors, like barometric pressure, allergies, noise or authentic frontier gibberish.

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The latter was the culprit last week when a media acquaintance suggested, for all intents and purposes, that the Bears' offense would not be this good if Lovie Smith were still around.

That, obviously, is true. But, he continued, the defense would not be as bad if Lovie Smith were still around.

Yeah, that's the insipid part that brought the familiar feeling of a fire ax to the back of the head.

Is this Bears season really that hard for some to comprehend?

It's been obvious since March that the Bears were going to rebuild the offense at the expense of the defense. It had to be done in this era of the NFL, and it was decades overdue.

The Bears had to bolster the offensive line, add offensive weapons and bring in an offensive coach if they were to find out if they had a franchise quarterback, while putting themselves in a position to think about a Super Bowl run in the next couple years.

That can't be done without an offense. That can't be done without an offensive mind. That can't be done without a quarterback.

Smith's plan was to bend and break, get turnovers, hope for luck and maybe make the playoffs, while completely ignoring the offensive side of the ball.

Hardly a plan for winning the Super Bowl.

So the offense is progressing under Phil Emery and Marc Trestman, while the defense has taken a step back.

The defense is at all spots bad, old or inexperienced, having finally succumbed to the calendar, which was inevitable.

Injuries have taken a serious toll. Gone are Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, Henry Melton, Nate Collins and D.J. Williams.

So what would be different about the defense under Lovie Smith? Well, Brian Urlacher would still be here, adding just another older player who can no longer perform.

What you wouldn't have is some younger players in the mix gaining experience, and the defense would still be bending and breaking.

So what's the huge surprise here?

When you change coaches, you eliminate any chance to win the Super Bowl, but that was also long overdue, as was the upgrade to the offensive personnel and philosophy.

That means growing pains and suffering for other parts of the roster, and that's a formula for a .500 season and missing the playoffs, with the greater goal of winning big down the road.

That's why I picked the Bears 8-8 this season. Anything better than that and it would have been a surprise. It might still be, but it's really beside the point.

This was a rebuilding season and it has shown all the signs of it, both good and bad, and it was completely necessary.

The playoffs are looking less and less likely, what with a pair of losses to Detroit making the division a problem, and with one wild card coming from the NFC West.

Carolina is now in a position for the other, displaying the best front seven in football and having won five in a row and six of seven.

At the same time, the Bears (5-4) should beat Baltimore and Minnesota, but the rest of the schedule no longer looks as easy as it once did considering the Bears' injuries and the better play of sub.-500 teams like St. Louis, off a bye at home, and Cleveland, which is giving up 20.4 points per game at home this season.

If the Bears somehow make the playoffs, it's a bonus in a year littered with growing pains. If they don't, well, there should have been little expectation of such.

What's certain is that if Lovie Smith had been here this season, the defense would have been just as bad as it is now and the offense would have been as bad as it always was under Smith.

The offense would have still been a generation behind the times, 6 wins would have been difficult, and the playoffs would have been a memory by mid-October.

And what a headache that would have been.

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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