Let’s start our Bears Essentials with what I thought was a fantastic long-form piece on former coach Lovie Smith, whom MMQB writer Andrew Lawrence calls “a man who loves football more than he lets on.”
Lawrence’s story captures Smith in a way I thought fans locally didn’t get the chance to see enough of while he coached the Bears. A very guarded man, Smith never gave the media a real glimpse into what he is outside of the confines of the sideline, practice field and news conferences. But on the rare occasions he opened up to me from his office at Halas Hall, I quickly learned he was way smarter, much more thoughtful and articulate -- not to mention fun-loving and humorous -- than the canned responses he gave during interviews. Way more passionate about the game, the organization, his players and people in general, than the emotionless face you saw many Sundays on your TV screen.
Those rare moments always made me understand exactly why Smith’s players would run through a brick wall for him on game days. I’d tell him he should let people see more of the real Lovie. Then he’d laugh and go on to the next subject. His interest wasn’t in pleasing the media. It was about his family, the organization and the players. I always respected that.
“I loved my time here,” Smith told MMQB. “I cannot wait for this next opportunity. Chicago was just a learning experience. I’m so much more of a good football coach now than I was back then.”
Whether Smith actually is won’t ever be determined until an organization finally gives him another shot. But he’s certainly deserving of one, and from what Lawrence writes, preparing intensely for it, too.
-- ESPNChicago.com’s Melissa Isaacson has a nice feature on Bears middle linebacker Jonathan Bostic, who has learned from his father, John, a former Detroit Lions defensive back, to make the most of his chances in the NFL. Interestingly, both of Bostic’s parents have doctoral degrees. So diagnosing plays from the middle of Chicago’s defense on Sunday shouldn’t be too difficult for him, right?
-- Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times suggests that maybe Shea McClellin is in need of a confidence-boosting game. The Bears have started utilizing McClellin as a pass-rusher in some of the spinner packages they’ve been practicing since the offseason. The package originally didn’t feature McClellin in that role, but injuries along the defensive line have forced the staff to be more creative.
-- ESPNChicago.com’s Jeff Dickerson takes readers’ questions in his weekly mailbag.