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Columnist
Nobody at Halas Hall should be safe
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 12/21/2009 12:03 AM

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Bears GM Jerry Angelo was merely answering a question Sunday when he said no decision had been made yet on Lovie Smith's future.

And that will be the big headline Monday.

But the premise is flawed, because who ever said Angelo was safe?

There's plenty of room under that bus where Angelo pitched Smith on Sunday, space for both Angelo and team president Ted Phillips.

And Angelo's non-answer on Smith also was before the Bears got smoked by the Ravens 31-7 in Baltimore.

So, yeah, you can believe Angelo when he says he wants to use all the time available to him to make the call on Smith.

That makes sense, but Angelo should be in just as much trouble, having collected this lack of talent, having failed miserably to produce an NFL-caliber offensive or defensive line.

He has no more business keeping his job than Smith, maybe less, so you have to hope he's being evaluated, too.

Of course, that's if this were a real football organization.

The fact that it's not is why I have to see it to believe it when anyone talks about Angelo or Smith getting fired.

Those two, along with Phillips - the third of the Three Stooges - have a nice little club they formed a few years ago, one in which they get paid a lot to do a little and grant themselves raises and extensions whenever they feel it appropriate.

If any one of them is gone they should all be gone, and it's still hard to imagine the McCaskey family dumping the trio and eating those salaries.

Another disappointing Sunday might not change that, though Jay Cutler continued to do everything he could to get them all fired by throwing 3 more interceptions, giving him 25 for the year and an unconscionable 6 in the red zone.

The first 2 Sunday led to Ravens TDs, and 2 more Bears turnovers also led to Baltimore scores, giving the Ravens 24 points off gifts. Cutler was generally horrible, as he has been for months, posting a Rex-like, 7.9 QB rating, going 10-for-27 for 94 yards.

As usual, Cutler was strangled by the assorted drops, missed blocks and poorly run routes, but it's still no excuse - no excuse - for failing to protect the football, something Cutler has never proven that he knows how to do, or cares to do.

And he's going to get all kinds of people fired in his career if he continues down this road, not that he gives any appearance of caring about that, either.

When asked about coaches' job security Sunday, Cutler said, for all intents and purposes, that it's just the way it goes.

Most players in that instance take some of the blame and stick up for their coaches, but Cutler passed on that chance twice this week, once completely burying Ron Turner in the process.

Whether you like Turner or not, that was a shocking and cruel public display by a veteran NFL player.

So blame any play call or any coach you want, but if Cutler keeps throwing it to the other team, the Bears will keep losing, be it this year, next year or the year after. Be it this coach, that coach, or any other coach.

Really, is it coaching when Matt Forte and Cutler both run out of bounds deep in their own end before the half, thus giving the ball back to the Ravens with more than a minute left on the clock?

Some people would call it coaching. Maybe it is. It's also unbelievably dumb, not to mention a complete lack of football instinct and field presence.

On the other side Sunday, the defense was again porous, and about the only good news was Earl Bennett did something on a punt return that Devin Hester hasn't done all season: He tried.

That turned into a 49-yard TD and cut the Ravens' lead at the time to 14-7 in the second quarter, but that was as close as the Bears would come to making it a game while committing 6 turnovers.

Meanwhile, there were some truly disturbing third-down plays late in the third and early in the fourth that gave every indication of the Bears giving up the fight.

On a third-and-10, Cutler threw it 20 yards out of bounds as though he had no intention of trying to make a play and simply wanted to get off the field and go home.

"It looked like one team was playing for something," Smith said, "and the other team wasn't."

On another third-and-10, Cutler handed off to Forte, the equivalent of taking a knee, trailing 31-7 with an entire quarter to play.

Embarrassing.

So, admittedly, it would be a cheap shot to say the Bears would have been better off had their plane never left Chicago, and just too simple to suggest the outcome would have been the same had the blizzard prevented them from ever reaching Baltimore.

Simple, but entirely accurate.

Sure, the Bears made it to Baltimore - a day late and about half a team short.