Come with me on a stroll down memory lane, fellow Bears fans…
Flashback to February 2007….
Your Bears were fresh off a Super Bowl season. They headed into the offseason with a lame duck head coach signed only through the upcoming season. National pundits and fans were outraged at the possibility that the first coach to take the Bears to the Super Bowl in 20+ years could actually walk away a season later!
Well, the dude calling the shots did not let that happen. Jerry Angelo did what everyone was begging him to do at the time – he locked up Lovie for the foreseeable future.
Now fast forward from that flashback to the summer of ’08…
Brian Urlacher – a 6-time Pro Bowler – was lobbying for a contract extension. Tommie Harris – 3-time Pro Bowler – was getting dangerously close to entering the final year of his rookie contract without an extension in place. Fans across Bears nation were clamoring for Angelo to lock up the cornerstones of the Bears D. Before that season’s kickoff, Angelo accommodated our requests by signing both players to long(er)-term contacts.
Dateline: April 2009.
With a young, strong-armed All-Pro QB shockingly on the market and in high demand, Angelo asked the Broncos “What’s it going to take to make this happen?” In the blockbuster deal of the decade, the Bears landed Jay Cutler…albeit for a hefty price. And just like that, the Bears had their first franchise quarterback in 60 years.
I won’t even get into his nixing of the proposed Briggs-to-‘Skins deal that would’ve netted us what – a talented but inconsistent safety (Laron Landry)? Could your stomach really handle the thought of the 2009 Bears D without Urlacher AND Briggs?
I think you get the moral of this story – let’s lay off Jerry.
I’m guessing 90% of you would have done exactly the same thing he did in each of the above instances. But now, with an under-achieving team mired in mediocrity, every Grabowski worth his weight in sausages wants to run GM Jerry out the back door.
Sure, he’s missed on some personnel moves:
· Passing on a proven WR to pair with his rocket-armed QB.
· Refusing to stock-pile some young O-line depth (Chris Williams and Josh Beekman could put that argument to rest though).
· Continuously refusing to move up in a handful of drafts to get a difference making player, only to settle for the next best thing.
But let’s face it Bears fans – this roster has enough talent to compete for the playoffs (as we did last year and where we are (at least mathematically) this year). Angelo deserves a lot of the credit for that. He built a Super Bowl team through a perfect mix of the draft and free agency. He aggressively acquired our QB of the present and future. He’s turned his share of late-round draft picks into productive players (Briggs, Alex Brown, Robbie Gould (who went undrafted), Johnny Knox).
Let’s see how the remainder of this season and 2010 shake down before we launch the ‘Fire Angelo’ social media smear campaign. Jerry won’t stand pat this offseason. Coaching changes on the offensive side of the ball are on the horizon, and Jerry will have a hand in that. The team is in good shape cap-wise, which will allow us to lock up some good young players either currently on the roster or through free agency.
So let’s cut Jerry some slack. At least for another year.