Bears

Toub: Lovie 'needs to stay here'

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Toub: Lovie 'needs to stay here'

Special teams coordinator Dave Toub has been with coach Lovie Smith since the start of the Smith era in 2004. If Smith is dismissed after this season, Toub and the assistants also could stand to lose jobs.

So obviously count Toub among those who would like to see Smith get at least a 10th season as Bears coach.

But the reasons for Toub supporting the man who hired him appear to be more than simple loyalty.

We are very lucky -- the Chicago Bears are very lucky -- to have Lovie Smith, and we better realize that, Toub said in comments clearly directed to more than the questioner. Everybody better realize that.

Detractors have criticized a lack of outer fire from Smith. Toub says that is missing the real picture.

Hes always going to be the same, Toub said. I think thats a great character trait to have as a head coach. He doesnt waver. If it is bothering him, hes not letting the players see it; hes not letting the coaches see it. Hes been steady.

He lets coaches coach. He lets me do my job. He has total trust in everything that I do. And as a coach, you cant ask for a better situation. Hes somebody that is going to let you call obviously, I dont call everything without going through him but he lets me design our schemes and doesnt second-guess what we do. You cant get a better situation as a coach

Lovie is a great coach, and he needs to stay here.

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Only three of John Fox’s 12 wins as Bears coach have been against NFC North opponents, while 12 of his 29 losses have come against divisional opponents. 

That’s a recipe for back-to-back-to-back last place finishes in the NFC North. And if the Bears can’t beat an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers team, why could it beat a Detroit Lions team that has a healthy franchise quarterback?

The positive end of that answer is the Bears do have wins over two playoff teams (Pittsburgh and Carolina) while six of their four losses have been by eight points or fewer. Sunday’s game will probably be close, again (if it’s not, and the Bears are on the losing end of it, it would raise some significant concerns about the state of Fox within the locker room). 

So if the game is decided by one possession or less, this could be the difference: Detroit has one of the best special teams units in the NFL, ranking second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, while the Bears are 28th by the same measure. 

Getting Sherrick McManis back this week should help solidify Jeff Rodgers’ special teams units, but Jamal Agnew has two punt return scores and is averaging 18.3 yards per return. 

“Tough guy — he’ll return inside and outside,” Rodgers said. “He’s got multiple longer returns against people this year. it’s not just, ‘I had a long return in Week 2 or Week 1,’ and kinda held onto that. he’s been productive in a lot of games. certainly a guy that we’ve gotta do a good job against.”

If the Bears don’t do a good job bottling up Agnew, though, he could be the reason why the game flips to Detroit — or, at least, why the Lions keep the Bears at arm’s length. 

Prediction: Lions 24, Bears 16

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How hot is John Fox's seat?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How hot is John Fox's seat?

Seth Gruen (Bleacher Report/”Big Ten Unfiltered” podcast), Chris Emma (670TheScore.com) and Matt Zahn (CBS 2) join Kap on the panel. If the Bears lose badly to the Lions, should Sunday be John Fox’s last game? 

Plus Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill joins the panel to talk Bulls as well as the Niko/Portis cold war.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: