Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Heat is ON! Matt Likes It.

Thanks for nothing, boss.
Lovie Smith would never say so, but you had to wonder if that's what he thought over the weekend after hearing general manager Jerry Angelo's plans to tweak rather than transform the Bears' roster. Knowingly or not, Angelo turned up the heat a notch on Smith by identifying coaching and attitude as the biggest reasons for optimism heading into 2009.

Don't expect any quick-fix, big-ticket free agent signings, Angelo said. Don't count on the NFL draft for an instant cure. Don't hold your breath waiting for that blockbuster trade either.

But by all means, do trust the Bears' coaches to improve the attitude—and thus the record.

Dave Haugh-Chicago Tribune

This is an excerpt from Haugh's article on Jerry Angelo's State of the Bears address at the 2009 Scouting Combine. Ultimately, Haugh concludes that "coaching up what we got" is not enough; the Bears need better players. I agree. However, what Angelo says here is something that has needed to be said for years. I have been screaming it for years. These guys can't coach, and when we find one that can coach (Ron Rivera), Lovie gets rid of them. The Bears have to develop the players on their roster. It cannot solely fall on the general manager alone, picking talent. We are not getting enough production on first through third down from the bottom of the roster. Depth is key to championship teams, and somehow the Bears cannot get quality snaps out of their reserve players. Lovie is on the spot this year. The team must improve, or he is gone. I feel a new head coach is in our future. Nice.

However, Angelo is not off the hook. Although free agency is drying up, this year's draft is key. We have to get four starters out of this pool. It can be done, and Angelo should feel the same pressure to perform that he has put on Lovie.

I will blame Angelo for this. Headlines read: "The re-signing of John St.Clair has become the number one priority in free agency." Come again? If you saw the recent picture in the Trib of St.Clair in t-shirt and shorts, you would understand why I am jamming a sharpened pencil into my thigh. (Thankfully, he is clothed in the above photo. That's about to be a sack, by the way. The photographer caught his subject in his natural position--smoked off the edge). John Tait's retirement was not anticipated and caught Angelo off-guard. Now, the weakness in the O-line is completely exposed, even to a five-year-old. The Bears have neglected to inject some youth into this position for years, notwithstanding the first round pick then lost rookie season of OT Chris Williams. Now, they have to give this load, St.Clair, a big raise, switch him to right tackle so we can watch defenders run over our QB from the front side instead of the blind side. Nice work. I find a revolving door to be a more efficient blocker than St."E"Clair.

I am watching the Combine, and I have to tell you, if the Bears didn't have such gaping holes elsewhere, I would love to get one of these linebackers in the blue and orange. What a group. Three of these bastards are from USC. How is it possible that they lost to Oregon State, blowing their shot at a national title? The experts always talk about "bend" "hip turn" and "sinking into your weight." I had no idea what in the hell they were talking about. Then I watched Aaron Curry, Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews work out. Now I get it. They are something to see without pads, and they are even better with pads. You can see the explosiveness in their movements. Alas, we instead need to help out John St.Clair and the gang of "receivers-who-can't-get-open."

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