Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

07 Jan 2006

Smith Edges Dungy for Coach of Year

This was the right call in my book. I thought there were three great coaching jobs this year, all by defense-oriented head coaches: Lovie Smith, Tony Dungy and Marvin Lewis. What gives Smith the edge, I think, is that Dungy and Lewis have two of the best quarterbacks in the league, whereas Smith got his team a first-round bye with Kyle Orton. (The one decision for which Smith deserves criticism is sticking with Orton after Grossman had been cleared to play by the medical staff.)

Bill Belichick was a distant third with two votes, and Mike Holmgren, Tom Coughlin and Lewis got one apiece.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 07 Jan 2006

27 comments, Last at 11 Jan 2006, 7:46am by Akuzed

Comments

1
by Israel (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 3:25pm

Is Lovie a nickname or his birth-certificate name?

(BTW, good choice for Coach of the Year.)

2
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 3:34pm

The one decision for which Smith deserves criticism is sticking with Orton after Grossman had been cleared to play by the medical staff.
On the other hand, the method by which Coach Lovie brought Grossman back, guaranteed that he would not be second-guessed, and that the slumbering dragon, "QB controversy," would remain dormant.

It's possible that he lucked into it, of course, but if he planned all along to bring Grossman off the bench in a game where Orton struggled (which made for no shortage of opportunity), that was very smartly done.

3
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 3:38pm

whereas Smith got his team a first-round bye with Kyle Orton

and Dick Jauron got his team a first round bye with Jim Miller

what does that prove?

4
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 3:47pm

princeton73 (#3 )--

Prove?

None of these awards prove anything. Two League MVPs proved nothing to Peyton-haters; two Superbowl MVPs nothing to Brady-haters.

Since the award proves nothing, what do expect the logic behind it to prove?

5
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 4:06pm

What's your point, princeton73? Are you suggesting that Smith isn't a good coach? What do you base that opinion on?

6
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 4:11pm

Dick Jauron got coach of the year for that.

Dave Wannstedt also got a coach of the year while with the Bears.

Ditka got coach of the year in 85 and 88.

This means that the previous four coaches for the Bears have all recieved coach of the year. Which means they have all royally screwed up the situation by the time they left.

7
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 4:16pm

What’s your point, princeton73? Are you suggesting that Smith isn’t a good coach?

the point is that the coach of the year award is a vote by the sportwriters about themselves

that is, it is the answer to the question "what team were we the most wrong about at the beginning of the season?"

is Smith a good coach?

axe me in 4 years

8
by Patrick Bateman (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 4:25pm

Princeton '73? You aren't by chance my good buddy....Samuel Alito, are you? I tip my cap to you, sir, yes, my cap, for your ability to raise a bitter cloud over a simple award. If I were a Bears fan I'd be surly and bitter over this season too.

9
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 4:30pm

Sam Alito graduated in 1972, I think

and Bill Frist in 1974

That little prick sat next to me in linear algebra class--I used to help him with the problems

(if I had only known)

I have no objection to Lovie (or anybody really) winning COY awards--just pointing out that they're somewhere between relatively meaningless and completely meaningless

and to use, as a "tiebreaker", the fact that the Bears won 11 games with Orton as QB is silly

10
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 4:38pm

What is silly about it? Orton is (perhaps) the worst quarterback in the league, Manning and Palmer (perhaps) the two best. Why is it unreasonable to say a coach who has a good season with a terrible quarterback has done a great job?

11
by brian m (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 4:46pm

Grossman may have been cleared by the medical staff to play, but that doesn't mean he was ready to play. Grossman himself said he didn't feel comfortable until he was warming up before the Pittsburgh game. So the 1st week the coaching staff felt he was ready, he played against Atlanta. I guess a rusty Grossman may be better than Orton, but a rusty Grossman probably would hold onto the ball too long and take some hits, which means the Bears would end up stuck with Orton again. So I don't think you can really criticize Lovie for the way he handled Grossman.

12
by tim (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 4:47pm

from a quantative standpoint, how much does above adequate quarterbacking affect a team's offensive performance?

13
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 5:02pm

Why is it unreasonable to say a coach who has a good season with a terrible quarterback has done a great job?

because it happens too often for it to be taken as meaningful in and of itself

14
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 5:17pm

Please list the other teams that have gotten a first-round bye with a quarterback as bad as Orton.

15
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 5:25pm

He also led the Bears from a 5-11 season to an 11-5 one, not just with a bum QB but also with only one guy who could consistently get open to catch passes from said bum QB. Other coaches have led their teams to the playoffs with bad QBs, but Kyle Orton is no Trent Dilfer even by a long shot. Their second leading pass-catcher was WR Justin Gage and he was the only other guy aside from Muhammad to catch over 30 passes.

16
by overrated (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 6:23pm

Why would Dungy even be on this list, his team was 13-3 if you actually watched the Cardinals game, and they faced a charmin soft schedule with virtually no injuries at all to their starters. All Dungy did this year was show up. Tell me what great challenges his team faced until the very last game or so with the funeral. I know Colts fans are not remotely worried about anything of course, their team is perfect, after all!

17
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 6:29pm

Tony Dungy belongs up there...three guys belong in this discussion who I never hear about in Coach of the Year talk: Mike Shanahan, Nick Saban, and Mike Holmgren. That said, Lovie Smith deserves it hands down this year, but only because - for some reason - Tom Brady isn't eligible. I don't get that.

18
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 6:37pm

but only because - for some reason - Tom Brady isn’t eligible. I don’t get that.

it's because no one gives him any respect

personally I think Tom Coughlin should win COY every year for continuing to maintain a job even though he's a bull-fruit lunatic

19
by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 8:03pm

Lovie is his real name. His parents were hoping to have a girl and name her after an Aunt Lavana. When he turned out to be a boy, they thought "Lovie" was a good alternative.

20
by Patrick Bateman (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 8:37pm

We enjoy nicknames around here. Coughlin is a favorite. We call him "Red Skull" after the Nazi villain from Marvel's Captain America comic, because when he starts screaming and yelling he turns bright red and immediately takes on the death's-head aspect of Red Skull. Redd Skull for COY!

21
by Sean (not verified) :: Sat, 01/07/2006 - 11:19pm

princeton- I think you're drawing the conclusion. The fact that you can coach your team to a division title with Kyle Orton or Jim Miller and then go in the tank doesn't mean that the award is misplaced, it means that it is extremely difficult to sustain success over long periods without good to great quarterback play. That's why no matter the busts, quarterbacks will continue to come off the board at the top of the first round like no other position- because when you hit on one, you set up your franchise for sustained success for the next eight to ten years. When you go without, every year is a new patch job.

22
by FastEddy (not verified) :: Sun, 01/08/2006 - 1:40am

I was picking Lovie Smith for Coach of the Year last year on this very site, but then he got all his players injured and the wheels fell off. This year, not so much, although Grossman got hurt. A truly great coach. While I've always liked Holmgren, don't be surprised if Da Bearssss are in the Supe this year.

23
by NF (not verified) :: Sun, 01/08/2006 - 2:06am

Jim Miller actually was worth a TD more than a replacement level QB in 2001. That's nearly 40 points more than Orton.

24
by ernie cohen (not verified) :: Sun, 01/08/2006 - 2:19pm

I sort of hope IND and CHI make it to the SB just to see the Colts bring out the D word.

25
by ChicagoScott (not verified) :: Sun, 01/08/2006 - 3:31pm

#16 - "Why would Dungy even be on this list, his team was 13-3 if you actually watched the Cardinals game, and they faced a charmin soft schedule with virtually no injuries at all to their starters. All Dungy did this year was show up. Tell me what great challenges his team faced..."

The Colts were 5-1 vs playoff teams. The Bears were 2-3 vs playoff teams. So you cannot belittle the Colts schedule.

Dungy deserved a lot of praise for turning the D into a solid squad-- even though it was more of a gradual improvement vs the Bears big improvement in 2005 over 2004. Frankly, they don't need to vote on COY anymore. Simply give it to the Coach with the biggest improvement in wins over the previous season-- that's why Lovie got it.

26
by turbohappy (not verified) :: Mon, 01/09/2006 - 3:10pm

#16
I don't think being 5-0 against AFC playoff teams is a pillowy soft schedule. The only team they didn't play was Denver. They played some poor teams, but they played the best in the league also.

27
by Akuzed (not verified) :: Wed, 01/11/2006 - 7:46am

Well. Coach of the Year.

1. From 5-11 to 11-5, when -no one- expected you to be above 3-13 this season, muchless be the number 2 seed, and get the division.

2. Asertaining all those wins with a bad rookie. Granted, said rookie was asked to be a downs manager, not a big play maker. Still. Point stands.

3. How about having the best defense in the league?

4. How about getting all those wins with just offensive rushing, and little passing?

Halas got it twice. Ditka got it twice. Dick got it once. Now Lovie.

Let me point something out here. Ditka didn't mess anything up, untill he and upper management had a falling off. Chicago is still his town though. Dave Wandstat sucked. I don't care what he did with Miami when Chicago fired him. He was horrible.

Dick... I feel he was a good coach. Players respected him, and responded well to him. His mess up, was letting the offices dictate who to trade, and who to keep.

On to Lovie... the Best Chocago Coach I have seen since Ditka. Of course, I am only 24, so that limits my area of actually seeing good coaches for the Bears. But every year the Bears had Ditka as the coach, they were in the playoffs, and even won the superbowl with him.

I think Lovie might just be that incarnation revisited. Maybe not the super bowl this year... but maybe next year. Then again... NFC is up for grabs as much as the AFC is. We'll sdee what happens.