We all have our favorite teams and with that fandom comes the occasional meathead outburst where we make over dramatic statements that we know probably shouldn’t happen. But we can’t help it, we’re so caught up in the moment that it serves as an outlet to let out some anger and pure disappointment in our teams. I know I am guilty of this at least a dozen times a week; So and so player would look great on one of my teams (Dwight Howard), or so and so needs to go and I’ll gladly drive him to the airport (Alex Rios). With the Bears going from 7-3 to 7-7 in just one month, a lot of Bears fans want to clean house. In with the new and strong. Goodbye to the weak. I wouldn’t even be opposed to ridding ourselves of the concession stand workers.
That is the definition of a meathead statement right there.
The only real person that needs to own up to the mess the Bears are currently in is Jerry Angelo. Now instead of sounding like your typical “long time listener, first time caller” radio-meathead, I have actual support to my claim that will hopefully prove Jerry Angelo’s tenure on the lakefront should come to an end.
Draft Picks: Before Angelo became the Bears’ General Manager he served as Director of Player Personnel for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; a position he held for 14 years. You would think a previous stop like that would help a person identify talent and become savvy in selecting said talent for his football team. Not Jerry Angelo!
Angelo has made 88 draft picks as the GM of the Bears and currently 22 of those draft picks are still with the team. Let me repeat that, 25% of Jerry Angelo’s draft selections are still on the roster. That means he is failing at a 75% rate. In what industry or career path can a person keep their job if they fail 75% of the time? For a little reference, our rivals to the north have been under the control of Ted Thompson since 2005, with his 68 draft picks, 32 are still on the roster, just under half. See, I’m not expecting perfection out of draft selections but being right only 25% of the time is inexcusable. And if you want to go draft for draft with the Packers, 20 of 54 Chicago draft picks since 2005 are still on the roster; still 10% worse than the defending Super Bowl Champs and current favorites to win the Super Bowl.
The draft is the place to build depth on your roster and if any season has shown the lack of the depth on the Bears it’s been this one.
Jay Cutler’s Injury: This collapse isn’t completely Caleb Hanie’s fault; instead it is a testament to the talent of Jay Cutler. Cutler was able to extend plays and raise the talent of everyone around him. When Cutler went down, the receivers around him forgot to catch the football, and the offensive line forgot how to hold a block long enough for a play to be completed. This is all on Jerry Angelo for not putting talent around his star quarterback. The Bears have a team full of slot receivers and no modern tight end that can stretch a defense. It would seem that obtaining a decent wide receiver would be the Bears’ number one target in the draft, but thanks to Jerry Angelo, there are many other holes that this team needs to fill.
The offensive line is a mess that not even Mike Tice can fix. That line was seemingly improving under Tice so much so that the Bears didn’t allow Tice to interview for any head coaching jobs in the offseason. What Jerry Angelo failed to realize or chose to ignore was that this offensive line was just that, offensive. While the Bears were riding a five game winning streak the offensive line was playing well, or so we thought. Jay Cutler made that line look a lot better than it actually was and as soon as Jay went down the Bears were back to square one with a suspect offensive line not providing protection for its quarterback.
Matt Forte: As soon as the lockout ended all talk shifted to Matt Forte’s contract situation. Was he or wasn’t he going to sit out in training camp and were the Bears going to reward him with a contract extension? By now we know the story about how he wasn’t given a raise. Now, he’s having to nurse a sprained knee. While the Bears do hold all the leverage in this situation (they can and likely will use the franchise tag on him), the way this situation has unfolded has been a complete mess on Angelo’s part. Forte has turned down a deal worth $13 to $14 million guaranteed and he wants to be paid (and deserves to be paid) like a top running back in the league. A $14 million guaranteed offer is an insult to Matt Forte.
I’m not saying he deserves the $30 million that Chris Johnson received, but he is certainly worth an offer in the $20 to $25 million range, guaranteed. The man constitutes more than half of the Bears offense and he is one of the most talented backs in the league. I think that warrants a paycheck that pays him like the back he is. Not only is this unfortunate for Forte but how does it make the Bears look to potential free agents in the future? What player wants to sign with the Bears when they don’t even reward the guys they have drafted and currently have who are outperforming their deals?
Free Agent Signings: While I’m on the subject of free agents let’s look at some of the recent signings Angelo has made. This year he brought in Brandon Meriweather to sure up the safety position for around $3 million. When Bill Belichick releases a player it’s most likely because he can’t play football, so not only does Angelo sign the guy but also gives him $3 million to headhunt and eventually sit on the bench because he can’t play. There are also the wonderful signings of Matt Spaeth, Brandon Manumaleuna (Thanks for the spelling help, Google), and Chester Taylor who are or were disappointments in their own ways. Now I will give Angelo credit for showing up at Julius Peppers’ front door the second free agency began and making the trade that brought Cutler to Chicago. Angelo identified needs and went out and addressed them, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.
The Bears went from 7-3 and a legitimate threat to the Packers, to a now abysmal 7-7; beat up and licking their wounds. The team definitely has problems and holes and Jerry Angelo should not be the person to address those problems and fill those holes (he did create them, afterall).
So George McCaskey for the love of George Halas, get him out of here!