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Lovie Smith on Bears’ season so far: Less panic, more practice

Bears head coach Lovie Smith watches play second half Chicago Bears 27-17 loss Green Bay Packers Sunday September 25 2011

Bears head coach Lovie Smith watches the play in the second half of the Chicago Bears 27-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday September 25, 2011 at Soldier Field in Chicago. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 11, 2011 2:58PM



Coach Lovie Smith acknowledged the Bears’ obvious shortcomings in a 27-17 loss Sunday to the Green Bay Packers that dropped them to 1-2. He just doesn’t think they’re an indication the Bears need to fire Mike Martz, cut Roy Williams and rebuild the offensive line from scratch.

‘‘I don’t think we need to go back to the drawing board,’’ Smith said Monday as the Bears prepared to face the Carolina Panthers and former Bear Ron Rivera on Sunday at Soldier Field. ‘‘It’s not like we’re getting blown out of games or anything like that.

“It’s a long season, and during the course of each year, there’ll be a few games where you say, ‘We didn’t play well. Let’s go back to the practice field’ — not the drawing board. We’ll go back to the practice field, clean up some things and be ready to go.’’

Most of those ‘‘things’’ center on the Bears’ discombobulated offense. The run-pass issue in a loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 18 was trumped by an even bigger problem against the Packers — they couldn’t run at all. Matt Forte, who gained 49 yards on 10 carries against the Saints, gained two yards on nine carries against the Packers — including six rushes for negative yardage.

‘‘We weren’t able to run the football as well as we would have liked early on,’’ Smith said. ‘‘Then you get behind. Last week, I thought it was a totally different situation in the game, and we needed to run the football more. I can’t say that [about the Packers game]. We did what we needed to do on a day like that — when the run’s not working, start throwing the football.’’

The Bears committed 12 penalties, including eight pre-snap infractions — four neutral-zone penalties or offside calls, three false starts and a delay of game. Devin Hester had a false start as a wide receiver on a Wildcat play and an unnecessary-roughness penalty. Corey Graham was called for holding, nullifying Johnny Knox’s 89-yard punt return.

‘‘We don’t normally do [that],’’ Smith said. ‘‘Penalties will happen, just hard, aggressive play. But some of the penalties after the play and the pre-snap penalties — those are the ones we have to eliminate.’’

It wasn’t a total disaster.

‘‘The one bright spot [was] we didn’t lose a lot of guys [to] injuries,’’ Smith said. ‘‘Hopefully, we’ll get some [injured players] back.’’



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