OK... we can talk all we want about free agency and the draft... but this thing starts at the top, and that's where it needs to be fixed.
When the Bears first hired Lovie Smith, the man who knew little about offense proclaimed he "would run an offense similar to St. Louis' high-powered scheme," and named Kansas City's Terry Shea his Offensive Coordinator. Angelo countered, by naming the Eagles Ron Rivera as DC. That forced Lovie to work with a DC from another system, and brought some much needed different opinion to the table.
The Terry Shea move was so horrible, that Angelo fired Shea after his first season and hired Ron Turner, without needed Lovie's two cents. The much maligned Turner has done a very admirable job since arriving, given the dismal talent that Angelo has provided for him.
The Bears then went 11-5 and 13-3 in back-to-back seasons with Turner's more conservative offense and Rivera's defense. After the Bears made it to the Super Bowl as a "running team," (as Lovie is so often quoted as saying now), they awarded Smith with a new contract, and gave him more say in the decision making process.
Lovie's first moves were to fire D-line coach Don Johnson, and Ron Rivera... name teacher's pet Bob Babich as DC, promote Mark Anderson to starting RE over Alex Brown without competition, and sign Adam Archuletta. Yep... those all worked out very well (sarcasm).
Rumor has it, that as a compromise for forcing Lovie to retain Ron Turner as OC, Jerry Angelo had to concede on the DC, and let Lovie promote his "yes man" Bob Babich.
Now that the Babich experiment can be labeled as a complete failure, Angelo needs to take the reigns back, and either force Lovie to give up his crappy opinion on staff and personell, or force Lovie out of the picture all together.
So, let me recap some of Lovie's choices really quick:
1. His first and only choice for Offensive Coordinator, Terry Shea, lasted one horrible season in the NFL as an OC, running the NFL's 32nd ranked offense, and has since returned to coaching obscurity.
2. His first choice for Defensive Coordinator, Rod Marinelli, just became the first head coach in NFL history to finish 0-16. Thankfully, the Bucs wouldn't allow the Bears to interview Marinelli at the time.
3. His second choice for Defensive Coordinator, Bob Babich, inherited a dominant defense (ranked 5th in '06), and turned it into mush (ranked 26th in both '07 & '08) .
There will be a lot of firings in the NFL over the next 10 days or so... leaving the blood shed of some very good football people all over the NFL landscape. Babich should be fired immediately this week... so Angelo can send a message to Lovie, and the Bears can send a memo to the NFL: "experienced DC needed."
Now, there will likely be some coaches related to the Dungy Cover-2 coaching tree out there: Herm Edwards, and Rod Marinelli... both coached with Lovie in Tampa, and Marinelli was Lovie's first choice as DC. For that exact reason... I say Angelo has to stay away from all Tampa 2 coaches and bring in an outside opinion... as he did initially when he hired Rivera.
One name that interests me the most: Wade Phillips. After the debacle in Dallas, Phillips may get the axe. He is no doubt one of the better defensive minds in the game, and is just over is head as a HC in the NFL. When he took over the defense in Dallas midway through the season, they suddenly became dominant on that side of the ball for most of the second half.
For a team that I consider to be the least effective blitzing defense in the NFL over the last 5 years, Wade Phillips would be a very welcome addition. I know Phillips runs the 3-4... but that's another discussion.
If you want to visit the Parcells/Belichick coaching tree... you'll see Eric Mangini and Romeo Crennell...Jerry Angelo BTW, is also part of the Parcells tree, as he started his NFL career with the Giants in the 80s.
If you want to really do the whole thing correctly, you can fire Lovie Smithand offer the world to Bill Cowher, who's teams were nearly always winners.