DETROIT Coaches universally will say that they dont cut players; players cut players. To a certain extent, the same can be said about head coaches.
They, like the players, make the decisions for their bosses.
So a dismal Bears performance against the feckless Detroit Lions theoretically puts Lovie Smith squarely over the trap door with ownership and management. Missing the playoffs five of six years running makes a compelling case against his return for 2013.
But heres a better, sounder resolution:
Regardless of outcome in Detroit, Lovie Smith should be the Bears coach for 2013.
After his opening year in 2004, Smith has never had a season with fewer than seven wins and only two of those in the past eight. That is a run not to be dismissed lightly. Mike Ditka had two of those (1989, 1992) in his final four.
Smith has one year remaining on his contract. There is NFL precedent for a coach, just like a player, going through his so-called lame duck year without an extension. Players wont play for him? Does anyone seriously think this team and its veterans would ever go that route with Smith?
Jay Cutler also is in a contract year for 2013. Cutler has shown less than Smith to spur the Bears toward a contract extension. Brian Urlacher played without a 2013 deal this season. So did Nick Roach. So did Henry Melton. And how did Matt Forte perform last season without an extension?
The overall is that the soundest strategy for GM Phil Emery, President Ted Phillips and Chairman George McCaskey is to let the 2013 season play out with the head coach, quarterback and even offensive coordinator (Mike Tice) in place.
If the group fails to effect a satisfactory turnaround, they wont have to blow the whole thing up. It blows itself up.
And a new head coach comes in with the prospect of picking his own quarterback. If the Bears have a terrible 2013, that draft choice will be high enough to make a move.
But to throw the franchise into freefall after a winning season, with a coach who has had just two losing seasons in the past eight just doesnt make real sense.