EFFINGHAM — Some numbers to put out there. 81-63, 3-3 and 10-6. Those numbers represent Lovie Smith’s career regular season record, career postseason record and the Chicago Bears’ record in 2012. Even though most franchises in the NFL would love the kind of consistency Smith brought to the Bears in his nine-year tenure, I keep finding myself agreeing with the decision made at Halas Hall on Black Monday. Smith has also brought a different kind of consistency around the Bears; namely, the ability to overachieve when the team has looked weak and to underachieve when the team looks like it’s built to contend. The latter has been the prevailing trend in Chicago the past two seasons. The Bears started this season 7-1, only to collapse down the stretch by going 3-5 and missing the playoffs with a 10-6 record. Chicago started out last season in a similar manner, starting 7-3 before losing five straight and finishing 8-8 overall. Sure, there’s been injuries in both disappointing campaigns, whether they be to Jay Cutler, Matt Forte or Brian Urlacher. That may be an acceptable excuse once; but at some point as an NFL coach, it’s about persevering, changing what needs to be changed and crafting a winning season regardless. Lovie’s set in his ways, which could be one of his worst offenses. In today’s NFL, if you aren’t adapting and maximizing all 53 roster spots, you’ll find yourself with Smith. Take Mike Shanahan, the Super Bowl-winning and well-respected coach of the Washington Redskins. His 2011 squad limped to a 5-11 record, and they jettisoned Donovan McNabb to take Robert Griffin III. Griffin’s a superb talent, but Shanahan also found Alfred Morris, went to the Pistol/zone-read option offense and suddenly, the Redskins are the talk of the NFL. It’s time for the Bears to hire a coach who will do the same. Unless they can get a top-flight coach like Bill Cowher, it’s time to look for an innovative mind who can take an offense with pieces like Cutler, Forte and Brandon Marshall, and get this team back to the playoffs. The Bears are reportedly looking to interview Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements and Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, both of which are steps in the right direction. Clements, in particular, coordinated a passing attack in Green Bay with an offensive line that struggled, very similar to Chicago this year. Give him Cutler, Marshall and Earl Bennett, and a running back like Forte, and the Bears could be on to something. An offensive-minded coach like Clements, Sullivan or a college coach like Chip Kelly is where I’d look; the defense has been solid to great for years, and by all accounts, Rod Marinelli is perfectly suited to lead the Bears on defense without Smith. At this point, it was time to cut the line on Smith. The two sides had been together long enough without the kind of success a franchise like Chicago should be looking for. Even if this backfires on the Bears and they head to a period of mediocrity like before they hired Smith, I’ll still tout the decision as the right one. The process wasn’t working, and a new one needs to begin for the Bears to take any significant step forward.
Cardinals fly by Blackhawks 16-0
The frustrations from a tough 7-6 loss by North Clay to South Central Tuesday were relieved on the field Wednesday, as the Cardinals blasted the Sandoval Blackhawks 16-0 in five innings.
Czachorski: My own field of dreams
A few weeks ago, I sat behind the backstop at Evergreen Park, watching St. Anthony and South Central play baseball and taking photos when I overheard a conversation.
It was a few seven- or eight-year-old kids, just talking about the game in front of them, nearly gushing over some of their favorite players on St. Anthony.
Green settling into Whitecaps rotation
Since inking his pro deal, Effingham and University of Louisville alum Chad Green has donned a number of different jerseys.
In just over a year, Green's played for the Gulf Coast League Tigers, the Lakeland Flying Tigers, the West Michigan Whitecaps and, even just for a day or two, the Detroit Tigers.
Windsor/Stew-Stras combines for five-inning no-hitter
The second inning was good to Windsor/Stew-Stras again.
The Blue Devils scored 17 runs in the second inning of their 19-7 win against Cumberland on Tuesday, then scored 10 more in the same frame of a 16-0 rout of Ramsey on Wednesday, all while being shut out in the first inning of both games.
Altamont downs Charleston 6-2
At least it’s the last year of the Ohnesorges for Altamont’s opponents.
That’s the sister duo of Madison and Lauren that have been top athletes at Altamont High School. The pair produced once again in a 6-2 win over Charleston at Karch Field.
Pitcher's duel: Gardewine leads St. Anthony over Teutopolis 1-0
Zach Gardewine gripped the game ball tightly in his right hand and smiled.
It’s not every day a pitcher shuts out the loaded Teutopolis lineup and he knew it. Gardewine became the first player to blank the Wooden Shoes, in St. Anthony’s 1-0 win on Tuesday, since Dieterich duo Tanner Traub and Jake Bohnhoff on March 22, 2013.
Ziegler's choice an easy one
Lake Land College’s Grace Ziegler had a choice after her two years playing were up.
The Altamont alumna basically whittled her options down to this: continue to play basketball collegiately at a four-year institution, or transfer to a four-year institution to have a traditional college student experience.
Vonderheide, W/SS win at Charleston 12-0
Christian Vonderheide had the luxury of choosing which was better.
It was either the grand slam, or a complete game shutout thrown by the right hander.
“They are both pretty equal,” Vonderheide said. “Pitching is more of my thing. The grand slam I got lucky. I swung hard, and I was lucky enough for it to go over the fence."
The win could be more important as Windsor/Stew-Stras pounded a 12-0 win over Charleston at CHS Field.
Czachorski: Time to catch Cup fever
I woke up early Friday morning and did something I never do these days -- I flipped on SportsCenter.
It was the top of the 7 a.m. hour, and unshockingly, ESPN led with discussion of the playoffs.
What left me flabbergasted was they were leading with the NHL playoffs, as I was truly unaware ESPN remembered that hockey was a sport.
Indians' bats too much for Eagles
An 11 a.m. start on Good Friday wasn't too early for Altamont, as the Indians pushed 10 across in the first frame and bested Newton 16-1 in five innings.
- More Sports Headlines
- Cardinals fly by Blackhawks 16-0