By Steve Silverman-
(CBS) The Bears are in the process of trying to find a head coach because of their inability to build a consistent offense in the Lovie Smith tenure.
During Smith’s nine-year run, the offense was far below average for eight of those years and that proved to be unacceptable for general manager Phil Emery.
It was unacceptable for Bears fans long before the 2012 season.
Emery will clearly conduct a thorough search for the next head coach and he needs to come up with a superstar.
The Bears may have finished with a 10-6 record and would have been a playoff team if the Green Bay Packers would have been the team that came up with a last-minute field goal instead of the Minnesota Vikings.
However, that would not have changed the personnel difficulties the Bears are going to have for the foreseeable future.
The Bears have problems on the offensive line and with the production of skill-position players on the offensive side of the ball. That’s no secret and has been an issue for years.
But the other problem the new coach will have to contend with is the aging defense.
That defense may have been the most dynamic unit in football in the first half of the season. However, that was not the case in the second half of the year and it’s unlikely to be the case in the future.
The Bears are getting significantly older on defense and this great strength of the team is not necessarily going to remain powerful in years to come.
Brian Urlacher’s knee problems are not going to go away. He cannot move laterally anymore and his best assets were always his speed and quickness. Those attributes are gone.
He may be well-respected around the league and well-loved in the lockerroom, but he knows that he is not the same player any more.
He has to be considering following in Ray Lewis’s footsteps and considering retirement. He can’t play the way he once did. He can’t dominate any longer.
What about Julius Peppers and Lance Briggs. They are both still excellent players, but Peppers will soon be 33 while Briggs is 32.
All this means is that it will take them longer to recover from injuries should they occur and they can’t recover the way they once did.
Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman has been around nine years and that’s a lot of mileage for a defensive back.
The leading candidates for the head coaching job are Mike McCoy of the Denver Broncos, Mike Sullivan of the Tampa Bay Bucs, Pete Carmichael of the New Orleans Saints and Tom Clements of the Green Bay Packers.
All are offensive coordinators who have a reputation for creativity. He has also met with Keith Armstrong, special teams boss of the Atlanta Falcons.
Emery needs to find a coach who can improve the offense. However, if he believes the defense is just going to take care of itself, he may be making a huge mistake.
The defensive showing in the first half of the year was this unit’s peak performance. It may never come close to that touchdown-producing showing again.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman was with Pro Football Weekly for 10 years and his byline has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Playboy, NFL.com and The Sporting News. He is the author of four books, including Who’s Better, Who’s Best in Football — The Top 60 Players of All-Time. Follow him on Twitter (@profootballboy) and read more of his CBS Chicago columns here.