NOTE: God, this is super long. I hope at least one person reads it all. I'm sorry I really wanted this to be good. If it's too long and no one wants to bother that's fine I'll delete it.
As I was watching the Chiefs and Chargers on Monday Night Football, I watched Thomas Jones have a couple of nice runs. It reminded me that he is my favorite ex-Bear. Why did we trade him after the Super Bowl? What did we spend that second round pick we got for him? That got me thinking, since Super Bowl XLI, how has Jerry Angelo run this football team? I decided to look up as much info as I could find on his moves with personnel and some coaching moves, both good and bad and let you guys air your frustrations.
During the offseason following Super Bowl XLI, JA traded Thomas Jones to the Jets for an exchange of second round picks. Fine, many of us thought, Jones is getting up there, he'll start fading away and it's time for Benson to shine. What happened? Jones rushed for more yards than any RB in the NFL over the next three seasons.
The Bears also let Tank Johnson go. The guy had a knack for getting into trouble and making poor decisions. After jail time and his friend getting gunned down the night after he was arrested on gun charges, and then he gets pulled over for suspected drunk driving and speeding. Dumb move.
They also let Ron Rivera walk. Since Rivera left the defense has ranked in points allowed, in order, 16th, 16th and 21st after ranking 13th, 1st and 3rd.
They also extended both Tillman and Vasher.
Here is the Bears' 2007 draft and where those guys are now:
Round 1 - Greg Olsen - Still w/ the team, still waiting for his "breakout" year (From what I understand being the team leader in receptions and touchdowns isn't good enough)
Round 3: Garrett Wolfe - Still on the team and a special teams contributor
Round 4: Josh Beekman - Contributed with the team, currently a free agent after being released after this preseason. I assume he didn't fit what Tice was looking for.
Corey Graham - Still with the Bears. Contributor on special teams and occasionally on defense. Was thought to be in Lovie's doghouse last season but had a strong offseason.
Aaron Brant - Cut before season started the same year he was drafted. According to Wiki he was first JA pick to be cut the same year he was drafted.
All in all after the dust settled, 10 players from the Super Bowl roster were gone going into the 2007 season and we were left with the gem of a quote from JA, "I know on the outside it looks like we want to dismantle the team. It has nothing to do with that. We want to keep this the best possible football team that we can. And that's what we're trying to do."
The big move was releasing Cedric Benson. This was a slam-dunk move at the time: he had disappointed on the field, talked big in the locker room and got drunk (allegedly) twice off the field. I don't think any one saw Benson's resurgence coming the way it did. He also later discovered he has Celiac Disease and changed his diet right before his break out year. Why couldn't our doctors have figured that out?
Other moves included resigning Briggs while letting Berrian walk, releasing Mushin "Where Moose go to Die" Muhammad, Darwin Walker, Fred Miller and Archuleta. They traded Griese for a 6th round pick . They then signed Kevin Jones, Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd. They extended the contracts of Grossman and Orton and signed extensions for Alex Brown, Dez Clark, Tommie Harris and Rashied Davis.
2008 Draft (Arguably the best since SBXLI):
Round 1: Chris Williams - Starting at LT for the first time for a full season.
Round 2: Matt Forte - Starting RB.
Round 3: Earl Bennett - Listed as 3rd string WR.
Marcus Harrison - Listed as 3rd string NT.
Round 4: Craig Steltz - 3rd string SS
Round 5: Zach Bowman - Starting LCB.
Kellen Davis - Listed as 2nd string TE.
Round 7: Ervin Baldwin - Was last on Colts roster in the offseason, but was cut in final roster cuts.
Chester Adams - A free agent who has not been on a team since the Bears.
Joey LaRocque - Currently playing for Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL.
Kirk Barton - Bounced around a TON of practice squads, last acquired by the Panthers in August but failed to report.
Obviously, the biggest move was the Cutler deal. Trading Orton and a 3rd rounder for Cutler and a 5th rounder. The 5th rounder turned into Johnny Knox.
Other moves: The Bears notably released Marty Booker, Mike Brown, Brandon Lloyd and Terrance Metcalf. They signed Orlando Pace, Frank Omiyale, Pisa Tinoisamoa, Kevin Shaffer, Glenn Earl (Who then retired), Rod Hood (Who was then released), Marcus Hamilton, Michael Gaines, and Josh Bullocks. They also traded for Gaines Adams (I think a 2nd round pick might have been a high price but no one saw his untimely death coming). John Tait somewhat surprisingly retired and the Bears let former undrafted free agent Brandon McGowan walk.
2009 Draft (One of the worst in JA's tenure)
Round 3: Jarron "YouTube Pool Jumper" Gilbert - On the Jets practice squad.
Juaquin Igleasias - On the Bears' practice squad. Remember when he was supposedly trying to catch all his passes one handed during minicamp as a rookie? Good times.
D.J. Moore - Starting nickelback.
Round 5: Johnny "Know" Knox - Grabbed with the 5th rounder that was an afterthought in the Jay Trade he is now the starting WR opposite Hester.
Round 6: Al Afalava - Started for us last year, released this year, last seen working out for the Rams.
Round 7: Lance Louis - Originally a TE, now the starting RG on the Bears.
Derek Kinder - Cut by Bears, hasn't been seen since from my research. Funny how it seems here on the blog we get excited about these 7th round receivers but they have no panned out. I remember myself and many other members being excited about both Kinder and Monk.
The Bears released/waived/let walk Alex Brown, Wale Ogunleye, Kevin Jones, Orlando Pace, and Nathan Vasher. Those were the most notable. The 2010 draft picks, I feel it's too early to judge but I think it is worth noting that Dan LeFevour was let go and then signed by the Bengals. So that is already one pick of five gone.
Overall then, this is JA since the Super Bowl. Some good, some bad, some terrible.
The case against him: Only 4 of 9 2009 picks still on roster, Orlando Pace signing, Adam Archuleta deal, Chris Harris deal and then re-deal, only 3 of 9 2007 picks still on roster, it could be argued that Benson deserved another chance, oh how has the defense fared since Rivera left? Picking injured guys with potential or the best athlete hasn't worked out well recently. Thomas Jones to Jets for what turned into Dan Bazuin.
In his defense: 4 of 5 of 2010 picks still on roster, 7 of 12 2008 picks still on roster (with only the five 7th rounders not panning out), letting Berrian walk (still doesn't have 1,000 yard season), two of the 2007 picks that didn't work out are at least on a team so they're still in the league. It can also be argued that Benson wore out his welcome here and that at that time, with everything we'd seen from his body of work on and off the field we all would have released him too. And finally, I'm pretty sure if you ran into JA on the street and he didn't need to carry himself in a professional manner and you threw every piece of info from "the case against him" paragraph that he might just come back with "JAY CUTLER DEAL MOTHER ****ER!" Jones was getting older and the thought was that Benson could take over and it was good to get what we could for him at that time.
So there you have it: Now a special note I want to make sure people read before ripping into me: This is merely a look at the moves that happened. I am not speculating whether or not Lovie talked him into a move or petitioned for a particular move or anything like that. I am sure that Lovie and JA go over all moves before a final decision is made but I am looking at this as JA is the trigger man and could have over ruled Lovie. Any bad move he made reflects that he may have taken or ignored Lovie's advice for better or worse.
Jerry Angelo since Super XLI. Discuss.