The readjack.com All-Bears Post-Ditka Team: COACHING STAFF

READJACK.com presents…
The readjack.com All-Bears Post-Ditka Team

October 19, 2009: COACHING STAFF

 

Lovie Smith: the best head coach in the Post-Ditka Era.
Lovie Smith: the best head coach in the Post-Ditka Era.

HEAD COACH-Lovie Smith

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR-Ron Turner (please don’t leave…we’ll explain)

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR-Ron Rivera

In contention: Greg Blache, Gary Crowton, Dick Jauron, Ron Rivera, Bob Slowik, Lovie Smith, Ron Turner, Dave Wannstedt

As a fan, do you know what makes evaluating coaches so difficult? They get fired too soon. Sometimes that means that they were hired too soon, but that just goes to show the difficulty that executives have in evaluating coaches.

The Post-Ditka Bears are a perfect example of this problem. We have had three head coaches since Ditka’s final days, and all three have achieved some level of NFL success. All three have won coach of the year awards (Wanny was named the NFC’s COY in ’94), and all three took the Bears to the playoffs. Additionally, after Papa Bear and Iron Mike, the next three coaches with the most wins in Bears history are, in order, Lovie, Wanny, Jauron.

 

Halas died, Ditka was canned, and coaching chaos ensued.
Halas died, Ditka was canned, and coaching chaos ensued.

For head coach of the readjack.com All-Bears Post-Ditka Team, then, Lovie Smith is the obvious choice. His .563 winning percentage is third behind Halas and Ditka among Bears coaches of at least five seasons. He is—along with Halas, Ditka, and the Johnsos/Anderson co-coaching duo—one of only four Bears head coaches to lead the team to multiple postseason appearances. (And he is likely to break his tie with Johnsos and Anderson this season.) He guided the team to only its second Super Bowl. And unlike Wannstedt and Jauron, Lovie’s Bears have possessed a consistent identity—a defense that gets sacks and forces turnovers. His worst season was his first—a 5-11 2004—and since then the Bears have only finished under .500 once. He is, undoubtedly, the man to guide our beloved RJ AB PD Team to glory.

Like head coach, coordinators are tough to figure as well. Is it the coach, the personnel, or the scheme? We’ll start with defense, where our choice is Ron Rivera, who edges Greg Blache. Blache’s tenure from ’99 to ’03 produced one great D, the 2001 playoff group that allowed a league-low 203 points, shutting out two opponents and holding another five to ten points or fewer. However, Blache’s other four defenses finished 20th, 20th, 25th, and 22nd in points allowed. Among the team’s four D-coordinators following the exit of Ditka and Vince Tobin, Rivera’s team allowed the fewest total yards per game (304.3), points per game (16.4), and passing yards per game (194.3). His D was the best in the NFL in 2005, and damn near the best in ’06.

 

Ron Rivera led the Bears defense to outstanding seasons in 2005 and 2006.
Ron Rivera led the Bears defense to outstanding seasons in 2005 and 2006.

(But was it Rivera or Lovie? An in-depth look at the Bears’ offensive and defensive units below…)

Now comes the trickiest of the tricky parts: offensive coordinator.

Following the Green Bay on opening night, Committee Chairman Silverstein wrote: “My hate-love-hate-hate relationship with Ron Turner’s play-calling continued in the hate direction.”

The Chairman’s feelings towards Mr. Turner is understandable to anyone who has followed Da Bears in the Post-Ditka Era. On the one hand, Turner was fired once, sucked it up at U of I, and then returned in ’05 amidst moans and groans, only getting the gig because Shoop was a dud and Shea was a disaster. Rare is the Bears fan who praises Turner, who feels confident in his play-calling, who credits him for any offensive success the Bears have had under his tenure. Are there any Ron Turner supporters not employed by the Bears? We on the Committee have yet to find them.

On the other hand, Turner’s offense over eight seasons scored 20.1 points per game, the highest of all offensive coordinators. That breaks down to 21.8 during his second stint, and 18.4 during his first, which would be first and third on that list. (Incredibly, Shoop is second with 18.8 ppg.) The Bears and Bears fans have always taken pride in running the ball, and Turner’s units run for 108.9 per game (tops among Bears’ O.C.’s). They also turn the ball over less than twice a game…only Shoop matched that.

 

Ron Turner has been moderately competent during his eight+ seasons as the Bears' offensive coordinator. We think. We're pretty sure. Maybe.
Ron Turner has been moderately competent during his eight+ seasons as the Bears' offensive coordinator. We think. We're pretty sure. Maybe.

Crowton’s offense threw for more yards but hardly ran the ball and couldn’t much score.

Shoop’s offense scored a surprising amount, but frustrated the hell out of EVERYONE who cared.

Matt Cavanaugh’s offense ranks second in total yards, third in points (counting Turner’s two terms as one), and second in both passing and rushing yards. But the Bears went 4-12 in both of his seasons, and the best ranking Cavanaugh’s offense ever put up in the NFL in a big category was 15th (passing yards in ’97).

And of course, Turner is the only guy who lasted more than three seasons. He must be doing something right? Right?

(Right?)

Coming Friday, October 23rd: Final cuts…the full 53 man roster…

BREAKING DOWN THE COACHES…you be the judge…

HEAD COACHES (per game: total yards, points, passing yards, rushing yards, turnovers)

 

Bears fans got used to the image of a bummed out Wanny dazing on the sideline and fumbling through press conferences.
Bears fans got used to the image of a bummed out Wanny dazing on the sideline and fumbling through press conferences...

Dave Wannstedt ’93-’98
OFFENSE299.3, 17.9, 191.2, 108.1, 1.9
DEFENSE312.3, 20.7, 202.4, 109.9, 1.7

Dick Jauron ’99-’03
OFFENSE…294.2, 17.4, 194.5, 99.7, 1.9
DEFENSE…330.9, 20.3, 218.8, 112.0, 1.7

Lovie Smith ’04-’08
OFFENSE…281.8, 20.3, 173.7, 108.1, 2.0
DEFENSE…320.4, 18.6, 211.2, 109.3, 2.2

OFFENSIVE COORDINATORS

Ron Turner ’93-’96: 296.5, 18.4, 188.4, 108.0, 1.7
Matt Cavanaugh ’97-’98: 304.9, 16.8, 196.8, 108.1, 2.3
Gary Crowton ’99-’00: 314.5, 15.3, 216.9, 97.6, 2.1
John Shoop ’01-’03: 280.6, 18.8, 179.6, 101.0, 1.8
Terry Shea 2004: 238.5, 14.4, 137.0, 101.5, 2.3
Ron Turner ’05-’08: 292.6, 21.8, 182.9, 109.7, 2.0
TURNER TOTAL: 294.5, 20.1, 185.7, 108.9, 1.8

 

a
...and our experience with Dick Jauron wasn't much different.

TOP TEN FINISHES
Yards gained: 9th in ’95, 8th in ‘99
Points scored: 8th in ’95, 2nd in ’06
Passing yards: 3rd in ’99
Rushing yards: 9th in ’95, 8th in ’05
Fewest giveaways: 9th in ’94, 8th in ’95, 10th in ’96, 6th in ’01

DEFENSIVE COORDINATORS
Bob Slowik ’93-’98: 312.3, 20.7, 202.4, 109.9, 1.7
Greg Blache ’99-’03: 330.9, 20.3, 218.8, 112.0, 1.7
Ron Rivera ’04-’06: 304.3, 16.4, 194.3, 109.9, 2.2
Bob Babich ’07-’08: 344.7, 21.8, 236.5, 108.2, 2.0

TOP TEN FINISHES
Yards allowed: 4th in ’93, 2nd in ’05, 5th in ’06
Points allowed: 3rd in ’93, 10th in ’94, 1st in ’01, 1st in ’05, 3rd in ’06
Passing yards allowed: 3rd in ’93, 5th in ’94, 5th in ’05
Rushing yards allowed: 5th in ’95, 2nd in ’01, 6th in ’06, 5th in ’08
Most takeaways: 10th in ’99, 5th in ’01, 6th in ’05, 1st in ’06, 8th in ’07, 2nd in ’08

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