Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (54) makes a tackle on Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
One by one, the Chicago Bears are rallying to coach Lovie Smith's defense.
Injured middle linebacker Brian Urlacher told WFLD-TV that outsiders should shut up.
"Two of the people I don't care about: fans or media," Urlacher said. "They can say what they want to about our head coach, about our players. It does bother me. They don't know what they're talking about, obviously.
"I know there are a lot of experts in the media, a bunch of smart guys out there who know exactly what they're talking about all the time. They don't know what they're talking about. Lovie is the head coach of this football team and hopefully will be for a long time."
The Windy City natives don't necessarily align themselves with the team's defensive captain and vented their frustration at Smith and Co. during Sunday's 21-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers, who won the NFC North in the process.
Quarterback Jay Cutler weighed in, too: "I know Brian is frustrated that he can't be out there to help us," he said during his weekly appearance on WMVP-AM radio. "I think everyone in that locker room is supporting Lovie, and we'll see what happens."
Running back matt Forte told NFL.com: "We believe in Coach Lovie. He's a great coach."
Here's a thought for all the Bears who want Smith back in 2013: Try winning a game or two.
And don't give interviews like this: Right after he sang Smith's praises, Forte was asked to describe the team's offensive identity.
"I don't know," he said.
The Bears, with that undefinable offense, are 15 weeks into the season, by the way. Forte didn't do Smith any favors with that response.
Meanwhile, Smith says he is focused only on getting a wild-card spot by beating the Arizona Cardinals this weekend and then the Detroit Lions.
"This week, we're to that 'must' game," the embattled coach said Monday. "I mean, the tournament has begun for us, so it's about Arizona as soon as the players get a chance to watch the video. We have to find a way to get to 10-6 and see what happens."
The Bears have to win two road games to finish 10-6 and have a chance for the last NFC playoff berth. There are scenarios where they could get in at 9-7, but they involve several tiebreakers.
There has been plenty of speculation surrounding Smith's future. His contract runs through 2013, and general manager Phil Emery has not broached an extension yet, nor has he commented on Smith's status. Smith deflected questions about that, too, on Monday.
"Every year there are people in situations like this," he said. "Unless you've clinched a position right now, a playoff position, you're still having to win football games to get in. But you don't look at all the scenarios. You just look at what you need to do. And for us we need to win a game this week and then win another one the following week. It's as simple as that."
See, Smith knows how to save his job. Now if the players only did.
"The boos were really loud, which is always nice," said Urlacher.
"The only team in our division that gets booed at home is us. ... It's unbelievable to me."