The buzz word surrounding the Bears lately is accountability. Tommie Harris isn't performing up to expectations and he's inactive. Zackary Bowman has a lapse and misses a tackle, hello Tim Jennings. Mark Anderson, hasta la vista.
Going even further back, offensive coordinator Ron Turner isn't getting it done, see ya. Assistant coaches Pep Hamilton and Harry Hiestand, thanks for the time, but here's your pink slip. Josh Beekman (remember him, the center of the future) isn't playing up to par in the preseason and he's cut. But Jerry Angelo? Who's holding him accountable?
Like any GM, in any sport, Angelo has his share of hits and misses. And I've agreed with some of his moves and decisions through the years. But some of his moves are borderline comical. If Vegas is setting a football betting line for Vanderbilt players drafted, or YouTube sensations selected, or players picked only to be converted to another position, or undersized "athletes", I think they'd get some serious action from some of us here on Windy City Gridiron. We know Angelo's M.O., and sometimes I think he outsmarts himself looking for that diamond in the rough.
To be fair, it's a tough job. But with any job, you either live up to expectations or you get fired. Is Angelo living off the 2006 Super Bowl team? He had success building his O-Line through free agency, but catching lightning in a bottle isn't an every time proposition. Does he get a pass because he pulled off arguably one of the biggest trades in the history of Chicago sports? Maybe...
He pulled the trigger on the Jay Cutler deal. OK, great, but what have you done for the Bears lately? He invests heavily in the premier position in football, then he fails to find some pieces to protect his investment. I liked the Chris Williams selection at the time. He went when he was supposed to be drafted, but the little know back issues should have been a red flag. I was OK with the Frank Omiyale pick up, because believe it or not, there were other teams looking into signing the at the time back up Panther left tackle. By now everyone should know my feelings on Olin Kreutz, but drafting an interior lineman that can eventually slide over to center, has been a no-brainer move the last few years, but... nothing.
Linemen have become available the last few years, but Angelo 'doesn't want to mortgage the future' and give up draft picks, but excuse me Mr. GM, the future is now. If Cutler gets broke, then what? The window for this defense being good isn't gonna stay open for ever. Three, four more years, maybe? And I'm being generous. Since he isn't drafting early on the o-line, and he isn't electing to make any trades for quality linemen, and besides Omiyale, he really isn't going after any free agents, what exactly is his plan?
Oh, right, Mike Tice is the answer. That's the line we've been given, and I bought it. I did, I'll admit it. I do think he's a quality coach, and I do think he's made a difference, but as the old saying goes, you can make chicken salad out of chicken s---. Besides the aforementioned players, who all have their own issues, he has small school project J'Marcus Webb, cast off Edwin Williams, converted college tight end Lance Louis, Kevin Shaffer is what he is, and Roberto Garza, as much as I like him, is on the down side of his career.
Pouring over other teams practice squads or calling some street free agents isn't the answer. Unfortunately the Bears have to roll with what they have. There are no reinforcements coming. They need Williams to turn it around once he's healthy, and Louis to live up to his potential. If those two young'uns can get it together the line should gel. Well, that's the plan anyway.
I know he isn't going anywhere, so looking to 2011, Jerry Angelo needs to draft 2 or 3 linemen early. Like 1st through 3rd round early. Then again if Angelo fails to get some line help, will it even matter. Angelo's answering to a non-football savvy boss, so exactly who's holding JA accountable?