RIVERA, BEARS PART WAYS
“Parting ways” is the nice way to put it. But it’s evident that Ron Rivera was fired. Maybe not technically, but it was indeed a firing.
And when it came down to the reasoning behind the move, Lovie Smith said things like: “This will give both of us the chance to go forward”, “different directions”, “I don’t see it as a firing or anything like that”. It was Smith’s way of telling everyone it was really none of our business. Perhaps he was also trying to make the best of a bad situation by not laying it on Rivera.
But Rivera was never Smith’s guy. Now Smith will have his own guy, Bob Babich, as the D-Coordinator. Babich is a longtime firend from the Tulsa days. And oh, by the way, the Bears will save a lot of money, which never hurts when you are the Bears.
All the press conferences and columns in the world can’t make it as simple as this: Lovie Smith didn’t want to work with Ron Rivera.
How does this affect the Bears next season? I think it makes Smith’s job more difficult. He has certainly added pressure on himself as any failures on defense will lay squarely at his feet. I think the promotion of a positional coach to run the whole defense also adds another interesting dynamic. The relationships Babich had with his players will be different now. And Babich is a first time coordinator. You’d think that leaves Smith with more work, more managing. And there is this little expectation of defending the NFC crown.
The Lovie honeymoon is certainly over. He’s on his own now. And there’s more room going down than there is up. I wonder if things might start getting messy from here on out.