Israel Idonije made the switch from the Chicago Bears to the Detroit Lions for the 2013 season; could a former Bears coach make a similar move? It is possible with Lovie Smith expected to be one of the Lions’ top candidates as they seek their next coach.
Dave Birkett quotes John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, as someone close with Mayhew who expects him to interview Smith:
Wooten said he’s talked “extensively” with Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and he expects former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith to interview for the position left vacant after Jim Schwartz was fired on Monday.
Smith may be considered the favorite to land the head coaching job in Tampa, but the Lions are thought to be serious players as well.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) January 1, 2014
The Bears did reach Super Bowl XLI with Smith as coach but they made the playoffs just three times in his nine seasons, including just once in his last six. The Bears fired Smith after missing the playoffs in 2012 despite a 10-6 record.
Of concern to most fans is likely to be the fact that Smith comes from a defensive background, leaving the issue of Matthew Stafford’s development unresolved. According to reports, Lovie already has an offensive plan in place should he return to the sidelines as a head coach in 2014. From the National Football Post’s Jason Cole regarding Tampa’s pursuit of Smith:
According to a source, if Smith gets the job, he has lined up former University of California coach Jeff Tedford to be his offensive coordinator, a source said Monday.
Smith has several other coaches in mind for his staff, but getting Tedford is seen as a key for Smith, whose offensive philosophy has been questioned severely since his days with the Bears.
Tedford is noted for developing college quarterbacks into high NFL draft choices such as Aaron Rodgers, David Carr and yes, Joey Harrington. While he’s noted for his work with quarterbacks, the list of running backs he worked with as the head coach at Cal is more impressive from an NFL production standpoint. That list includes Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett, Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen.