Lovie Smith Is Right: Bears' Final 3 Games Are Important
"These next three weeks are important for our football team, starting with the Ravens this week," Smith said at his Monday press conference. "As far as what's our mindset on what we're going to do now that we're out [of the playoffs], we're going to do everything we possibly can to win the football game. That's what we're going to do, whatever that entails."
The Bears' final three games are important to Smith in large part because he may be coaching for his job. My best guess is that Smith will be back as the head coach in Chicago in 2010, but if they completely go in the tank over the final three weeks of the season, there's a chance that Smith will get fired.
But beyond Smith's job security, I think Smith is right that the final three weeks of the Bears' season are important for another reason: Three more games for Jay Cutler to develop a rapport with the Bears' wide receivers.
In Sunday's loss to the Packers, with Devin Hester out, I liked the way Cutler worked with Johnny Knox and Devin Aromashodu, and I think the Bears can start to develop the foundation of a good passing attack. Yes, I know, Cutler threw two interceptions and could have thrown about three more. But as I wrote in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, a quarterback who throws a lot of interceptions can have a great future ahead of him. Most of the quarterbacks in the Pro Football Hall of Fame led the legue in interceptions at some point in their careers.
The bottom line, then, is Lovie Smith is right: These are three important games the Bears have ahead of them. Not because anything can be done to salvage 2009, but because the groundwork can be laid for 2010. Whether Smith is the coach or not.