Well, well. 2009 was not what we expected. From that disappointing finish to the 2008 season against the Houston Texans, to the jaw-dropping announcement that the Chicago Bears had traded for a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback in Jay Cutler. From the highs of a 3-1 start, to the lows of a 6-9 record, this has been a Bears year to remember, but not for the reasons we like.
As often happens, New Years brings us to reflect on what's happened for the year. I've been trying to think from the organization's stand point, and there are a few resolutions I'd have if I were them, and I'd hope that they are thinking the same way.
Pledge to adjust the Team's On-Field Identity
Now, I'm not saying to drop the hard nosed defensive edge entirely. But the Bears franchise is a cornerstone of the NFL, and to watch it get left behind as the league becomes more and more offense-heavy just simply won't do.
At this point, the organization should pledge to really get in-depth into the personnel it has, to identify the good parts, and get rid of the parts that won't work moving forward. There is a lot of talent on this roster, some young and raw talent, and some "older folk" who may just need something as simple as new motivation. A refresh of your roster doesn't always have to take a while to be productive. But you have to get started early in the year, to give yourself the maximum amount of time to work things out, which brings us to....
Evaluate the management
Currently speaking, I don't think the management that is here can handle this job. However, I can also understand the financial concerns regarding contracts, etc.
That being said...the Bears will spend money. They've shown it in the contracts to the people who've been busts over the years. They'll spend it, just never on good picks. This is why the structure in charge needs to change. I'll be forever grateful to this group for the super bowl year, but they can't cut it anymore.
If the front office comes to the fans and says, "We are going to retain Lovie Smith for another year", I'll understand why. But take some of the control from him. Ron Turner is likely gone, so find a new Coordinator, who may or may not "get along" with Lovie. You don't have to placate Lovie anymore, he's the one who's underproducing on his end of the deal. Hire new assistants for him, people with proven track records. Get some success rolling early in the offseason, to get some momentum
Reinvest into Soldier Field
Make this a big priority. The field had to be replaced multiple times through the year. This was obviously to the detriment of the Bears and opponents, as shown by many running backs and receivers inability to get solid footing, especially this most recent game.
It's time to really work with the city of Chicago, to perhaps replace the field surface, or to work on the scheduling of the major events the Park District will set up over the year. There shouldn't be too much reason that the city needs to schedule rock concerts, etc, mere weeks before the opening of the home season. If they truly do need to, prepare a surface that will be able to accommodate the strains, so that the play on the field suffers. The rest of Soldier Field since the renovation looks pretty sharp...so why does the field have to look like an embarassment when on national TV?
Reinvest in the Fans
We're the reason you're here. Don't forget that.
So what resolutions do you guys have, both for the Bears and yourselves as fans? Sound off below.
Otherwise, be safe, have a good time, stay away from the roads, and Bear Down for 2010. Cheers!