LAKE FOREST, Ill.—Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith tried to defuse talk of some personnel changes as much as he could but general manager Jerry Angelo made if clear moves were in the offing earlier in the day.
Announcing a shakeup on the team’s Web site, Angelo made it clear he was unhappy with his team’s humiliating 45-10 loss at Cincinnati on Sunday as the Bengals scored on their first seven possessions.
“I don’t want to go too far into this, but certainly there are things that need to be corrected and things that we need to do better,’’ he said. “Do we need to look at some personnel? Yeah, we do. There’s some of that going on as you’ll see Sunday.’’
To that end, Josh Beekman will replace Frank Omiyale at left guard when the Bears (3-3) host the Cleveland Browns Sunday at Soldier Field. Beekman started 16 games at the position last season, but one of the first moves made by the organization in the offseason was to seek a replacement, someone with more size. The Bears have struggled on the offensive line and Omiyale became the fall guy for a unit that has struggled across the board.
Smith, however, got testy when the subject was broached, acting as if the Bears would be releasing a trade secret the Browns would actually care greatly about.
“OK, I’m not going to talk about anything personnel-wise,’’ Smith said. “To me, that’s pretty clear. If that’s all you want to talk about there’s nothing else to talk about.’’
Why don’t you want to talk about personnel, coach?
“I just don’t want to,’’ Smith said. “As simple as that. Don’t want to give the opponent an advantage. We want them to wonder what we’re going to do, like you are right now. That’s the way it’s been throughout. So it’s not like there’s something new that I’m coming up with right now.’’
Since Smith doesn’t want to talk about it, we will. On defense, Hunter Hillenmeyer was moved back to middle linebacker as he and Nick Roach will flip flop with Roach going to the strong side. Roach had played well for two games in the middle, but the more experienced Hillenmeyer may be able to handle communication issues better. The defense was often out of position against the Bengals as ex-Bear Cedric Benson rambled for a career-high 189 yards on 37 rushes. It will mark the third change at middle linebacker since Brian Urlacher was lost for the season in the opener at Green Bay with a wrist injury.
Angelo’s remarks on the pending shakeup were not the only eye-opening comments from the often candid boss. He seemed to critique the coaching staff coming out of the loss as well.
“What really surprised me was that we weren’t able to make the needed adjustments in terms of slowing them down or stopping them,’’ he said.
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