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Ten-Point Stance: You can smell panicking Bears from here

by | CBSSports.com National NFL Insider

Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo have produced a solid era for Chicago. (Getty Images)  
Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo have produced a solid era for Chicago. (Getty Images)  

One of the NFL's most historic franchises has no general manager.

The head coach might also not be around in a year (if that). The face of the defense has torn knee ligaments and may never be the same. The starting running back is coming off injury and needs a new contract. The starting quarterback is the same.

The offensive coordinator, whose contract is up, won't return because of in-fighting on the staff. The quarterbacks coach is gone, too. Other than all of that, the Chicago Bears are just fine.

The way things are going for Chicago, by the end of the week Jim McMahon will be GM/coach and Ditka the offensive coordinator.

The Bears organization is in a total state of disarray. Will the franchise rebound? It probably will at some point. The Bears will hire a general manager and offensive coordinator. Ligaments heal. Coaches will be replaced. This is the ebb and flow of NFL life.

But what's happening with Chicago feels different. Most concerning about what the Bears have done, particularly in firing Jerry Angelo, is that it reeks of utter panic. While Angelo did indeed mishandle the contract situation of runner Matt Forte -- and Angelo is far from perfect -- he wasn't the reason Chicago missed the playoffs. Injuries are the reason Chicago missed the playoffs.

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Panic, indeed. In speaking with several NFL team executives throughout the day there was a genuine sense of puzzlement about what the Bears were doing. Most said they couldn't remember a day when the general manager and offensive coordinator left (and likely the quarterbacks coach) while the head coach stayed but was still on tenuous footing.

"I don't know what the philosophy of the Bears is now," one AFC scout said. "What's the plan?"

Why, some in football are asking, do you keep Lovie Smith and not allow a new GM to select his own head coach? It's a valid question.

Part of the reason for Martz leaving, I'm told by a Chicago team source, was ego. Martz wanted to return to an offense that threw the ball more despite having Forte, who is one of the best runners in the sport. We'll know how true that is once Martz speaks, but that notion gained credence when former Bears tight end Desmond Clark tweeted: "Egos and head butting led to the departures of Jerry Angelo and Mike Martz. Not a good situation the last 2 years. Awful environment to work."

Then later he tweeted: "Talking about tension in a coaching staff, I was there to witness it."

In some ways maybe there needed to be a certain amount of housecleaning, but what the Bears are doing seems almost frantic.

What's left will be interesting to watch. Cutler will now work for his third offensive coordinator in four years. I'm told one potential replacement for Martz would be Brian Billick, if he were interested in the job. I don't know if offensive coordinator is a big enough position for the huge ego of Billick. Mike Tice, the Bears' offensive line coach, is considered the favorite to replace Martz.

I'm also told don't look for Bill Polian to join the Bears as general manager, although the way things are going in Chicago anything could happen.

For the moment, the Chicago Bears are in disarray. Things will settle, but the question is, when that happens what exactly will this team look like?

And can it win?

2. A source confirms the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have contacted former Green Bay coach Mike Sherman about their vacant head coaching position. That wouldn't be a terrible hire, at all. Sherman led the Packers to five straight winning seasons and three division titles.

3. Keep this in mind regarding the Miami job: the owner of the Dolphins, Stephen Ross, will pay huge bucks and that might help in landing Jeff Fisher, but I'm told some other big-time candidates like Jon Gruden have been scared off by how Ross tried to hire Jim Harbaugh while Tony Sparano was still the head coach.

4. Champ of the week: Maurice Jones-Drew. One of the toughest players I've ever seen. His team season rushing record was well-earned. He ran hard, all year, on a bad team. No complaining. No ripping of teammates. Just production.

B) Chump of the week: Ndamukong Suh. Did the Aaron Rodgers belt thingy after making a play. You'd think Suh would lay low for a bit. Just a bit. Jeez.

C). Tweet of the week: Fan gets tattoo of the face of wide receiver Stevie Johnson. Let me repeat that. Fan gets tattoo of the face of wide receiver Stevie Johnson. Johnson tweeted a photo. Not much more to say.

5. The NFL is deciding if the one-finger salute issued to a cameraman by Jets player Bart Scott is fineable. My guess: he's looking at a $5,000 to $10,000 fine. There's something about the Jets and obscene gestures. Coach Rex Ryan was fined $50,000 for making an obscene gesture at an MMA event and then $75,000 for telling a fan to "shut the f--- up."

6. If Tom Coughlin wins another Super Bowl, and he might this year, he retires.

7. No one truly believed the Eagles would fire Andy Reid despite what was a dismal season, and indeed on Tuesday the team announced Reid would return for his 14th year. The fact a coach can last that long in Philadelphia while not winning a Super Bowl is almost incomprehensible. Nonetheless, there's little question this coming season will likely be Reid's most pressurized. Another subpar year will almost certainly lead to his firing.

8. There are assistant coaches around the NFL who give the Lions a serious chance to beat New Orleans. I'd like some of what they're smoking.

9. Denver player to me on Tim Tebow: "Great person, well liked in the locker room, tries his best but it's clear to see he has major accuracy issues." Well, um, yeah.

10. Shanny's way ... this could go viral.


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