In this long election season, a lot of the details of specific plans and platforms get lost in the rhetoric. Everyone has their opinion which explains why everything has gone down the drain, who is to blame for the problems, and how the problems can be fixed. Even though there is wide agreement over what the problems are, or who is to blame, and sometimes how to fix the problems, this apparent agreement overlooks a lot of fundamental differences between me and my opponents, and the fact that this "consensus" is wrong just as often as it is right. Sometimes the argument is right, but the conclusion is wrong, and vice-versa.
Success as a GM hinges on recognizing the strengths and weaknesses, and addressing them in a way that makes the team more successful in the short-term as well as the long-term. In the Bears case, this means being very careful about the changes that need to be made, and not just following the latest fads. This team is still a playoff calibre team, and if a team can make it to the playoffs, it is good enough to win the championship. This isn't the time to blow everything up and rebuild.
- Lovie Smith is our coach - He is one of the top coaches in the NFL, and has a valid, coherent plan for winning championships. When his blueprint works, his teams overachieve, with more talent that overachieving will be spectacular.
- No reason to change to a 3-4 - The talent on this defense is perfectly suited for what they are running right now. Peppers, Briggs, and Urlacher (and perhaps Tillman) would not be playing to their strengths in a 3-4, so the change would neutralize the strengths the Bears have on defense, while exposing more weaknesses.
- Replacing Martz is the most likely big change - If he can keep the sack numbers down, while still creating explosive play opportunities, scoring points, and holding onto the ball, he deserves to keep his job. But if he regresses, there is no sense in waiting for him to figure out which end is up.
- Managing the salary cap is very important - Angelo has done an excellent job managing the salary cap, and who ever takes over for him will have plenty of opportunities to shake up this organization. I don't have a specific plan for handling the salary cap, but if there is one place where I would want more of the same from the Angelo tenure, it is related to the salary cap.
- Special teams are important - But not important enough to carry players that won't contribute on offense of defense (except for the specialists). Special teams and the practice squad are an important way to develop talent. Roster spots are too valuable to spend on one dimensional players who have limited impact on relatively few plays per game (think Garrett Wolfe, Rashied Davis, or Craig Steltz)
- Championship teams are built through the draft - Angelo says this, and probably believes it too, but has had long stretches of ineffectiveness on draft day. To be clear, the problem isn't that he takes chances, it's that he takes too many, and doesn't have enough returns from those chances.
- Talent evaluation needs to be addressed - With the way statistics work in football, a straight up Sabermetric style approach won't work, but that isn't to say that statistical models can't be used to evaluate talent and predict success. I would build a database, populated with every player in the league, and many college players. Each player in the system would have video of their plays, as well as ratings for those plays. Multiple scouts could and would evaluate the same players/plays. They would all look at criteria deemed important for their position within the system on the Bears (as well as continued success in that players career). Since the scouts are rating players before they enter the league, and after the players are in the league, we can measure the performance of scouts. (I imagine the rating would be similar to what PFF does, except an NFL team should have more access to game film, and the ratings would be tailored to the Bears.)
- Draft strategy - With solid talent evaluation, we should have a better sense, relative to the rest of the league, of who will or won't be successful in the NFL. The general strategy is to draft the best available player, but to trade down when the expected value of the best player is well under the value of a draft pick (and similarly trading up when the best available player is overvalued for the draft pick). Drafting for immediate needs doesn't make sense if the players won't be effective at the position for 1-2 years.
We're going to win this one, take the country by storm. You and me together, young and strong. We're going to be elected.
Thank you for your continued support.