The best coaching news in Chicago this year is Minnesota gave Brad Childress a contract extension after starting the season 8-1.

The best coaching news in Chicago this year is Minnesota gave Brad Childress a contract extension after starting the season 8-1.


The Vikings are 2-2 since then. Childress inherited a team that, despite being coached by Mike Tice, won a playoff game the year before he took over. Childress then went 24-24 in his first three seasons with zero playoff wins despite adding All-Pros Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen and Steve Hutchinson. Yet the Vikes extended him through 2013 when he had 1 1/2 years remaining on his original contract. That sounds a lot like Jerry Angelo re-upping Dick Jauron and Lovie Smith in the midst of their one impressive season.


Quick Shots has long thought Childress was the worst coach in the NFC North. But give him credit for at least trying something different — something Lovie Smith never does in Chicago. Childress benched $48.5 million left tackle Bryant McKinnie on Sunday for getting repeatedly beaten by Julius Peppers. Replacement Artis Hicks was even worse, but Childress sent a message.


Yet the man scornfully known as “Chilly” to Vikings fans also tried to bench Brett Favre with a 7-6 lead. It’s bad enough trying to protect Favre by benching him. Worse was letting Favre talk him out of it. A Favre puppet is not a head coach. Green Bay fans and Mike Sherman could tell you that.


Angelo’s denial means nothing


We shouldn’t make too much of Jerry Angelo denying the Bears have already decided to keep Lovie Smith for next year. Angelo is probably telling the truth — it only makes sense that Lovie will be gone if the Bears lose to the Vikings and Lions and finish 5-11 with 10 losses in their last 12 games. But even if the Bears had decided to keep Lovie Smith, no matter how bad things get, they would never lend legitimacy to an anonymous report. The Bears won’t even tell you who is starting each week. They release no information until they absolutely have to.


How soon they forget


After the Browns’ Josh Cribbs set an NFL record with his seventh and eighth career kickoff returns for a touchdown, NBC analyst Rodney Harrison asked: “When was the last time the best player on a team has been a special-teamer or a return man?” How about two years ago, when Devin Hester had six return touchdowns for the 7-9 Bears?


Going to Lovie School, Part I


Turns out the Bears aren’t the only team silly enough to single cover Carolina’s Steve Smith – and keep doing it, no matter how poorly it works. Smith had nine catches for 157 yards in Sunday’s 26-7 rout of the Vikings. No other Panther had more than three catches. In his last four games against Minnesota, Smith has 29 catches for 509 yards.


Going to Lovie School, Part II


Shades of Chicago’s last-second loss in Atlanta last year, the Bengals left the sidelines unprotected in the final seconds Sunday. With the Bengals’ cornerbacks shading receivers toward the middle, San Diego’s Philip Rivers threw an easy 15-yard out to set up a game-winning 52-yard field goal. With San Diego out of timeouts, the Bengals would have forced overtime simply by keeping the Chargers in bounds.


Rockford Register Star assistant sports editor Matt Trowbridge’s NFL Quick Shots appear Tuesdays. He can be reached at (815) 987-1383 or mtrowbridge@rrstar.com.