Mr. Smith comes to Chicago

LAKE FOREST – While Jerry Angelo seemed on edge after the nearly three-week search came to an end, Lovie Smith's easiest day on the job was Thursday, while standing at the podium at Halas Hall.

Smith was introduced as the Bears' newest head coach before the media, family and Bears brass. He said all the right things, made a few promises, and got plenty of cheers.

But as Bears fans have found out so often the last decade or so, words don't mean anything unless they're backed up. Smith will need to deliver on the field -- not at the podium -- if he plans to survive in Chicago.

The Bears have had just one winning season the last eight years and two playoff appearances since 1992. Smith, the defensive coordinator in St. Louis the last three years, agreed to a four-year deal worth a reported $5.4 million.

"One of the first things Michael McCaskey said to me, he gave me the history behind the Green Bay-Chicago rivalry and the number of times he wanted us to beat them. I understand that," Smith said. "I feel the pain of seven years that the Chicago fans have of losing to them.

"I've been on the winning side the last five times I've played them, so I think we know how to beat them. Hey Michael, that's something we can get done."

Smith, the 13th head coach in the team's history, becomes the first black coach to lead the Bears. Smith joins five other black coaches around the league: Tony Dungy (Colts), Herman Edwards (Jets), Marvin Lewis (Bengals) and newly hired Dennis Green (Cardinals).

While Angelo might have learned something from the process, the education won't help him if Smith fails.

"Irrelevant of what lessons I learned, I'm going to just flush them because I'm never going to do this again," Angelo said. "This is my last time. The next autopsy will be mine. If I did this wrongly, you know, don't worry about me coming back here.

"The thing I feel the best about, that we did our due diligence. When I tell you I jumped in with both feet, and I exasperated everything I knew how to do, and I took myself to the end and everybody else that was involved in this process, and I feel great about our selection, because he's the best fit for this job and I'll never look back and I'll never look back."

Smith, who promised a more explosive offense, will bring in his own people.

Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache -- who interviewed for the same job in Pittsburgh Wednesday -- cleaned out his office Thursday. Blache was rumored to be the third candidate for the job, besides Steelers offensive line coach Russ Grimm, but he said he never got an interview.

"There was a bit of disappointment initially in not having an opportunity to interview for the position, but at the same time I understand. I've made tough decisions at times, I have to do things and I respect people that make the decisions in a decisive manner," Blache said. "So I have no problem with that. Like I said, there was initially some disappointment but past that there's nothing."

Smith wouldn't reveal his choices for offensive and defensive coordinators, but has the two guys in mind. Most of Jauron's staff found new jobs, but it's highly unlikely Smith will keep anybody from the old staff that hasn't.

Smith's background in St. Louis and Tampa Bay should make for interesting offensive and defensive packages, and he said he'd install something offensively similar to Kansas City and St. Louis, high-powered run-and-gun schemes that deliver excitement.

Smith had a chance to meet with some players Thursday. Rookie quarterback Rex Grossman was one of them.

"I just got to know his past a little bit, and what he plans to do in the future with this team," Grossman said. "I'm real happy with what he said. I love what (the Rams) have done in the past. That's definitely the level where we want to get at."

The Rams led the NFL with 46 takeaways this past season. Even though defense wasn't the Bears' problem, Smith thinks he can get the offense turned around quick. The Bears had the NFL's worst offense for most of the season and finished 28th, averaging 273.8 yards a game.

"I don't believe in rebuilding and things like that," Smith said. "I'm looking for us to make that move right away to beat Green Bay, to win the division and to ultimately win that world championship right away."

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