Shift in Philosophy

For years the Bears have been a passive bunch. Players and coaches spouted that every game is no more important than the other, sacks weren't important and an offense that was designed not to make mistakes rather than put up points. Lovie Smith brings a new mentality to the team.

Lovie Smith stated his first goal is to beat Green Bay.

"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. 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.

Some might debate that a 14-2 season that ends with a Super Bowl title wouldn't be complete if the two loses came at the hands of Green Bay. While that's on the ridiculous side it's a refreshing change to make a bold statement about a rivalry that has lost all steam as the Packers have won 7 straight meetings and 18 of the last 20.

Visions of an offense that puts points on the scoreboard and a defense that consistently gives the ball back to Rex Grossman is what Smith described upon taking the head-coaching job.

"The Bears system that we're going to bring will consist of a balanced attack with a lot of shifts, a lot of formation, similar to what the Rams and the Chiefs do today. The passing game, of course, will be very important and we'll do everything possible to see that it's successful. But we won't abandon what makes Chicago Bear football special, the run. The run will be a big part of what we're going to do.

"Defensively, of course, you know my background. I really believe in our system, the system that we'll have here, the CB system, which will really be a combination of and what was done in St. Louis and what is being done now in Tampa and of course the Indianapolis Colts. We'll have a variety of blitzes, and cover 2 will be a big part of the cover package that we'll run, with a big emphasis on getting turnovers, which we've done in the past."

Smith said he's already got his offensive and defensive coordinators in mind, but wouldn't reveal them Thursday.

According to reports Kansas City quarterbacks coach Terry Shea is the choice to lead the offense, while the defensive side of the ball has become more complicated. Jon Gruden and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have denied the Bears permission to talk to defensive line coach Rod Marinelli At this point it's unclear who Smith's second choice would be, but his former mentor Larry Marmie is a possibility. Marmie is a candidate to replace Smith in St. Louis and was his defensive coordinator when he played at Tulsa.

St. Louis had one of the NFL's worst defenses the year before Smith arrived, allowing 471 points in 2000. But one year later, the Rams were the league's third-best defense on their way to the Super Bowl. The Rams were 16th in the league this past season on defense, but led the NFL with 46 takeaways.

Lovie Smith and Pittsburgh offensive line coach Russ Grimm were the "first two finalists" announced by Angelo, but a third one was rumored to be former Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache, but he said Thursday the rumors were just that as he wasn't interviewed for the Bears vacancy.

However he did meet with Bill Cowher about joining his staff Wednesday for the Steelers' defensive coordinator's job, but Dick LeBeau has since been hired to fill the position in Pittsburgh.

There is a chance to Blache could end up in Green Bay as the Packers fired defensive coordinator Ed Donatell He spent 6 seasons with the Packers as a defensive line coach.

On Wednesday, the Bears also lost special teams coach Mike Sweatman, who accepted the same position under Tom Coughlin with the New York Giants. Sweatman, who was the Bears' special teams coach the last three seasons, helped the team to the best field position following a kickoff this season.

Former Bears coach Dick Jauron is also rumored to be going to New York to rejoin Coughlin as assistant head coach.

Also, Bears quarterbacks coach Greg Olson is headed to Detroit to rejoin Steve Mariucci. Olson worked under Mariucci in San Francisco and in the same capacity tutored Jeff Garcia.

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