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Bears Fri Dec 07 2012

Bears Suffering From Angelo's Ineptitude

Thumbnail image for GB bears icon.pngNothing is more painful for a Bears fan than looking at the list of quarterbacks that took snaps during the Brett Favre era. The only thing that comes close is looking at former general manager Jerry Angelo's draft history.

Out of his eight first round draft pick between 2001 and 2010 four are out of the NFL, and four play for other teams -- with only one being a current starter (Greg Olsen).

It's simply amazing that Angelo lasted as long as he did (a Super Bowl trip and second NFC Championship game helped). He scored big on lower-round selections like Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, Devin Hester, and Matt Forte, but missing so consistently at the top of the draft inevitably kills teams in the grand scheme. Some lower round guys should turn into solid starters, while others become roster fillers. The number one picks should be playmakers. The Bears have lacked that pipeline.

Instead, draft picks and Soldier Field sized bags of cash had to be used to get the top level talent on the team. Julius Peppers, Jay Cutler, and Brandon Marshall were all drafted and developed somewhere other than Chicago. Instead of using picks to fill in around those players, the Bears had to use them to get these guys in the first place.

The issues that arise from poor upper management are now being seen. It's much easier to make a list of Bears starters who haven't suffered an injury than it is to make one of the guys who have. And when the big names have been hurt for the Bears in recent years, they tend to lose because of the lack of depth (see: Cutler, Jay and Forte, Matt in 2011).

Take a team like Green Bay, however, and you see what an organization can do with brilliant talent evaluators. Guys like Greg Jennings and Clay Matthews go down for them, and they keep on winning. When they won the Super Bowl two years ago, 15 Packers were on injured reserved. Having Aaron Rodgers at quarterback helps, but their young players were all more talented than some of the subs you'll see against the Vikings on Sunday.

This shouldn't come as a surprise either. It's Week 14 in the NFL. Nobody is healthy. The Bears have been one of the most fortunate teams in recent years when it comes to sheer numbers on the infirmary report. But when any major player goes down, they struggle mightily. The drop-off in talent is so massive that the rest of the team is forced to compensate. It's an impossible strategy for a club that has Super Bowl aspirations in years to come.

Sunday's tilt for the Vikings isn't a must win game, but it's close. Failing to win in Minnesota would leave the Bears with zero margin of error. And they'll have to win with at least six starters missing the game.

Thanks, Jerry.

 
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