It's true. Let me tell you why I think so. But first, let me assure you before I go on, that I have only just today come to this belief. Two days ago I was firmly in the anti-Ruskell camp. Yesterday I had come to the realization that it could be him and if it were, well, it wouldn't be the end of the world. Today, while looking up the history of Tim Ruskell for myself, discovered that the guy just quite simply has a bad rap.
We all know Ruskell's main two negatives against him:
- Association with Jerry Angelo
- Unsuccessful tenure (after SB year) as GM for the Seahawks
You'll hear those in nearly every conversation about Ruskell, but you don't hear about the positives.
He helped build the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense of the late 90s and early 2000s, the one that carried the Bucs to a SB win in 2002 (well that and Gruden's knowledge of the Raiders offense). He was the Director of Scouting and then Director of Player Personnel for a team that drafted the likes of Warren Sapp, Ronde Barber, Al Harris, Derrick Brooks and DeAngelo Hall. The defense he helped build worked the Cover Two so well it was nicknamed the Tampa Two. He worked on that defense with Lovie Smith, who was linebackers coach during that time.
That part is key, the working together. Because he wasn't so lucky in Seattle. It worked out that first year due to Mike Holmgren being under lockdown. For the first time since he was hired as GM/HC in 1999, Holmgren was just the head coach. His sole responsibility was coaching the team on the field while Ruskell was in charge of the personnel decisions. And they went to the Super Bowl. Holmgren's ego exploded and the very next season started trying to get the power back that he had lost. It got so bad that after Ruskell traded for Jason Babin, Holmgren refused to play him. Babin played in 4 games for the Seahawks in 2 seasons.
Holmgren finally lost that battle in 2008 and left to go play with the Browns, but the damage was done.
Ruskell was fired in 2009 and came to work with some familiar faces in 2010. He took over as Director of Player Personnel. The DPP is often the first contact with agents of draft picks and free agents. Did we acquire anyone special in 2010?
The first full year that Ruskell put into the DPP role was this one, and I think our draft shows it.
Ruskell has worked with Lovie in the past to build a great defense, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that our defense saw a turnaround in 2010 after he came aboard.
I think he’s unfairly maligned. Too many look at a corner of his career and make a judgement. You have to step back and look at the whole picture.
That picture tells me, Tim Ruskell makes the most sense for GM of the Chicago Bears.
I would not be opposed to a two-year deal to match what's left on Lovie's contract. It's clear Phillips and McCaskey are giving the reigns to Lovie to see if he can get us a Super Bowl win. Why not give him the guy he has successfully worked with in the past, who doesn't just know his philosophy but shares it?