Lovie says league owes debt of gratitude to late Raiders owner Davis
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org October 8, 2011 8:50PM
Updated: November 16, 2011 11:29AM
Bears coach Lovie Smith, as conservative a football personality as Al Davis was a combative one, paid homage to the longtime Raiders owner, who died Saturday at 82 at his home in Oakland, Calif.
‘‘You have to be sad a little bit when we lose one of our icons, one of our titans, innovators . . . in Al Davis,’’ Smith said. ‘‘You think about him, you think about the vertical passing game, deep balls. And as a defensive guy, man coverage, bump-and-run.
‘‘We definitely lost one of the guys that has a lot to do with us having an opportunity to play a game on Monday night.’’
Smith said Davis’ aggressive offensive philosophy played a part in developing the cover-2 defense. Davis also broke new ground when he hired Art Shell as the first black coach in the NFL, a move that indirectly paved the way for Smith to become an NFL head coach.
Wide receiver Earl Bennett (bruised chest) and right tackle Gabe Carimi (partially dislocated knee) were ruled out of the game Monday against the Lions. Safety Chris Harris, who missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, is expected to start.
‘‘Besides Gabe and Earl, we should have the rest of the group ready to go,’’ Smith said.
Monday night streak
‘‘Monday Night Football’’ was one of many places where the Bears and Raiders were on opposite ends of the NFL spectrum. Through the 1989 season, the Bears were 10-18 on ‘‘MNF’’; the Raiders were 27-6-1.
The Bears, though, are 6-1 on ‘‘MNF’’ under Smith, winning the last four. Only one of them has been on the road, though, and even that was at a makeshift site: a
40-14 victory last season against the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium.
The Lions haven’t been on ‘‘MNF’’ since a 35-0 loss to the Rams in 2001. The Lions’ last victory on ‘‘MNF’’ was a 27-6 triumph against the Buccaneers in 1998.