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Lovie Smith calls Mike Glennon Bucs’ QB of the future

Mike Glennon BucsWhen the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Josh McCown over the offseason, new head coach Lovie Smith said immediately that McCown was the team’s starting quarterback. That came as a surprise to many people because Mike Glennon played fairly well for the Bucs as a rookie last season. But despite bringing in McCown and planning to role with the veteran backup as his starter this season, Smith is now calling Glennon the team’s quarterback of the future.

Lovie made his remarks Thursday night when discussing the team’s decision to pass on Johnny Manziel — and any other quarterback in the first round — for receiver Mike Evans.

“Just talking about our quarterback position, our quarterback position is as strong as any quarterback position I’ve had when I’ve been a head coach,” said Smith, whose Bears teams were mostly led by the likes of Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton. “You know how much I like Josh McCown as our starter. I love Mike Glennon. Mike Glennon is our quarterback of the future here. So why would you want to add a third quarterback to the mix? We needed other positions. Forget just the quarterback position, we thought this was the best available player for us. It was an easy decision for us.”

Well that certainly is interesting. If Smith really believed in Glennon as the team’s quarterback of the future, would he really bring in McCown and name him the starter? His words don’t really match his actions on this one, though the team’s draft strategy seemed to. The Bucs didn’t take a quarterback, but they took offensive players with all six picks, including a wide receiver and tight end in the first two rounds. They must believe they have a quarterback already, because they’re obviously trying to give them playmakers.

Lovie Smith first coach to be interviewed by Houston Texans

Lovie-Smith-Preparing-to-Face-SaintsFormer Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith was the first head coaching candidate to be interviewed by the Houston Texans, according to a report.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle says Smith interviewed for the position earlier this week. The Texans are searching for a new coach after firing Gary Kubiak two weeks ago.

Smith coached the Bears for nine seasons and led them to a Super Bowl, where they lost to the Indianapolis Colts. The 55-year-old was 81-63 as Chicago’s head coach, including a 3-3 record in the playoffs. He has not been coaching this year since being fired after last season.

McClain reports that interim head coach Wade Phillips, Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, and San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt are also candidates for the job.

Houston is currently 2-12 and has lost 12 in a row. They fired Kubiak after losing their 11th straight game.

Bears GM Phil Emery basically admits he fired Lovie Smith because of Jay Cutler

Lovie-Smith-Preparing-to-Face-SaintsThe firing of former head coach Lovie Smith back in December was an unpopular move among Chicago Bears fans. The Bears failed to reach the playoffs in 2012, but they finished the season with a 10-6 record. That type of success is usually enough for a coach to keep his job, especially one who had an 81-63 record and Super Bowl appearance during his nine-year tenure.

In an interview with Peter King of Sports Illustrated on Wednesday, Bears GM Phil Emery was asked about the team’s decision to fire Smith and replace him with Marc Trestman, who spent his last five seasons in the CFL. Emery implied that Jay Cutler had something to do with it.

“We were in a position where if he stayed, he would be picking his fifth offensive coordinator,” Emery explained. “Part of it was because I really believe looking at a team that if you’re going to have success, the most important relationship is between the head coach and the quarterback.

“I like our quarterback. I think Jay Cutler is very talented. He wants to improve. I know he needed to improve for us to be a championship team. When we were looking at making a change we knew that if we were going to do it we were going to make that the focus point. We had to work from that end.”

Incidents like this made it seem as though Cutler was very frustrated with the Bears’ offensive approach last season. He has already made it clear that he is excited to work with Trestman and unleash some new plays, so Emery’s comments aren’t all that surprising. They do, however, remind us that quarterbacks with big contracts generally get their way in the end.

H/T Around the League

Ravens CB Corey Graham rips Lovie Smith for never giving him a chance

Corey-Graham-RavensBaltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Graham spent the first five seasons of his NFL career playing special teams with the Chicago Bears. Last Saturday, he proved that he can be incredibly valuable in areas other than kickoff and kick return.

Graham intercepted two Peyton Manning passes in Baltimore’s playoff win over the Denver Broncos, helping send the Ravens to their second AFC Championship in as many years. Injuries like the one to starting cornerback Lardarius Webb have given Graham a chance to contribute — something he says former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith was never willing to provide.

“Lovie Smith, he loved what I did as a special teamer and that’s what he wanted from me, no matter what,” Graham told USA Today. “So I could go out and practice, get six interceptions at corner, but no matter what I was going to be Corey Graham, special teamer. That’s just how it was. That’s what he wanted from me, so I went out there and tried to be the best special-teamer I could possibly be.”

Baltimore linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, also a former Bear, started three games for the Ravens this season following injuries to Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain and Dannell Ellerbe. Graham insists Smith would never have given Ayanbadejo a chance to play on defense in Chicago.

“In Chicago there was no way (Ayanbadejo) was going to touch the field on defense,” he explained. “There’s no way. Then I come here and I’m watching games and I’m seeing him out there playing and I’m like, ‘Wow, he’s getting a chance.’ And that’s all you want as a player, is a chance to play.”

Ayanbadejo gave up his starting position when Lewis returned. The important thing to remember is that Graham and Ayanbadejo have been given a chance to contribute because of injuries to other players. Did Smith not trust them, or did he simply not need the depth in the way that the Ravens have needed it this season? Whatever the case, Graham is clearly confident that he is a viable starting NFL corner. Baltimore will need that confidence when they head to Gillette Stadium this weekend.

Mike Ditka rips Bears for firing Lovie Smith

The Chicago Bears made a surprising move on Monday when they fired head coach Lovie Smith. According to Mike Ditka, the move was idiotic. On Monday, the former Bears coach ripped the team for what he thinks is a big mistake.

“If Minnesota would have lost (Sunday) night and the Bears were in the playoffs this wouldn’t have happened,” Ditka told The Waddle & Silvy Show on ESPN 1000. “That’s a fact. So how stupid is it then? It really is stupid. If they would have made the playoffs this would not have happened. They did what they did. They took care of their business and Minnesota played a great game against Green Bay.”

Ditka certainly has a point. Chicago has only made the playoffs three times in nine years with Smith as its head coach, but oftentimes teams overreact to missing the playoffs. The Bears were not a bad team this year and were a Vikings loss away from making the playoffs. Is a coaching change really what they needed to take the next step?

“I think Lovie is a very good coach,” Ditka said. “Everybody is a little bit different in their manner. I think that’s a 10-win season. They started 7-1. This team, there’s a reason they lost some games in between. A lot of the wins they got in the 7-1 run were because of turnovers by the defense were turned into points. The offense didn’t score enough points in those other games. That’s the bottom line.”

The Bears struggled mightily down the stretch, and it’s not uncommon for a head coach to take the fall when something like that happens. In this case, I’m not sure he should have. Do I think it’s tragic enough where Devin Hester needs to be overreacting and contemplating retirement because of it? No, but I tend to agree with Ditka. Smith should have no trouble filling one of the vacant head coaching positions.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Devin Hester says he is considering retirement after Lovie Smith firing

Lovie Smith was one of a number of NFL coaches that were fired on Monday morning, as the Chicago Bears have decided to go in a different direction after missing the playoffs for a second straight season. After the announcement was made, Bears receiver Devin Hester became one of the first players to overract to his coach being shown the door.

“I don’t even know if I want to play again,” Hester said, via ESPNChicago.com. “That’s been something on my mind for two years.

“It’s not (much fun for me anymore). I’ve got my workers comp papers in my pocket. We’ll see how I feel. I’m going to go home and talk to my wife and talk to my family and see where we go from there. I got two beautiful kids, man, two boys. A lot of stress has been on my mind lately.”

Hester has mentioned in the past how he is unhappy with his role — or lack thereof — in the Bears passing attack. He has been one of the best kick returners in the game over the past several seasons, but the 30-year-old pondered on Monday if a change of scenery would better suit him. That’s when the delusional thoughts kicked in

“Who knows?” Hester said when asked if he wants to play somewhere else. “If it’s the right place … if not, I feel like I’ve done enough in the league to where I established myself (as) one of the elite players to ever play the game. God blessed me with seven years. The average years of an NFL player is about three. I made some accomplishments on my own, some goals I reached, some other goals I felt I could have achieved.”

Alright, Devin — this is clearly an emotional time for you so its probably best to just withhold any further comments until you get a good night’s rest. One of the elite players to ever play the game? Smith’s firing is an unpopular one for many people, but he led the Bears to the playoffs only three times in nine seasons. That doesn’t cut it in a place like Chicago. Let’s not get carried away.

Bears, Lovie Smith Expect to Face Saints in Divisional Round

Although they have the luxury of playing in front of their home crowd, the Seahawks are going to be extremely outmatched when they take on the Saints this Saturday.  Like almost everyone else, the Bears expect the Saints to advance beyond the first round with relative ease. According to ESPNChicago.com, Chicago head coach Lovie Smith said this week that the Bears are preparing to face the Saints.

Smith claims they’re scouting the Saints because they haven’t played them yet (whereas they’ve played Seattle and Philadelphia), but in reality he’s assuming the Saints are going to win.  The Seahawks shouldn’t even be playing right now and you’d be hard pressed to find a team hotter than the Packers, but the fact that Smith was so open about it is a bit surprising. Coaches who aren’t named Rex Ryan usually refrain from saying anything that’s not a tired cliche, such as “we’re not worried about who we’re going to be playing” or “we’re focused on our own team.”

In reality, Smith and his squad would probably love nothing more than to face Seattle after their first-round bye. However, he’s taking the angle of being realistic and honest without coming off as arrogant, giving a little more than guys like former Browns head coach Eric Mangini without joining the likes of Ryan — something rarely seen in professional sports.  Needless to say, it would shock the football world if the Bears have to face the 7-9 Seahawks in the Divisional Round.