The Angelo effect
You watched it. I watched it.
Last Sunday night, the Chicago Bears got absolutely dismantled by the Green Bay Packers. This wasn’t your normal, everyday loss either. It was bad. Real bad. 55-14 doesn’t seem to give justice to how horribly the Bears were shat on last weekend. They were outclassed, out-manned and just plain bad.
All season, the story has been about the Bears failing to live up to expectations. Last season, they had the second-best scoring offense in the league. Their defense was garbage, but with the addition of a few new pieces, many of us thought, “Hey, if the defense gets a little better and the offense stays the same, we could be looking at a 10-6 season!” Instead, the offense got worse, as did the defense (somehow), and ten weeks into the season, the Bears are 3-6. I’m beginning to think that our high expectations were misplaced. The fact of the matter is—the Bears just aren’t very good at football.
They’ve allowed 50-plus points two games in a row. They have the worst defense in football. Their offense has been below average at best. Two of their three wins came against the hapless Falcons and the LOLJets. Their only quality win came against the San Francisco 49ers, in a game they likely would’ve lost if it wasn’t for Colin Kaepernick’s four interceptions that allowed the Bears to come back from a 20-7 deficit.
So who’s to blame?
Some have pointed the finger at Marc Trestman and the coaching staff. Others want to blame Jay Cutler and his lack of PASHUN. Some idiot meatballs even decided to harass Trestman’s daughters on Twitter for their favorite team’s recent shortcomings. [Bangs head on keyboard.]
The fact of the matter is— the man who deserves the brunt of the blame isn’t even employed by the Bears. If we’re out here pointing fingers, the first one should be directed at Jerry Angelo.
As I’ve said before, Angelo, the team’s former General Manager, set the Bears back ten years. Ten years of ineptitude. Ten years of wasted draft classes. Ten years of awful contracts. Ten years of people looking around saying, “Wait, this guy still has a job?”
In the NFL, the best teams build through the draft. It’s not always about finding superstars. Sometimes, it’s about creating depth. According to an article from the Boston Globe, among the 53 players on the Bears’ current roster, only 11 were originally drafted by the Bears. This is the lowest total in the NFL. Other teams on the bottom of this list include the Buccaneers (1-8), the Raiders (0-9) and the Jaguars (1-9). At the top of this list, we find the Packers (6-3), the 49ers (5-4), the Seahawks (6-3) and the Patriots (7-2).
Do you sense a trend?
Angelo’s incompetency might not have affected the Bears in the early 2000’s, when they still had one of the top defenses in the league stacked with solid veterans. But guys retire (a la Brian Urlacher). Guys get old (a la Lance Briggs). Guys get hurt (a la Charles Tillman). Then what? Who do you have waiting in the ranks? Who’s your next Brian Urlacher? Briggs? Tillman? The true effect of Angelo’s incompetence is finally coming to a head this season. After years of clinging to their veteran leadership, those veterans are gone. That leadership is gone. Now what you’re left with is a hodgepodge of castoffs and journeymen that have been pieced together in a last-ditch effort to assemble something that remotely resembles a football team.
Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we? Of Jerry Angelo’s 82 draft picks dating back to 2002, only 21 are still in the NFL. Of those 21, a grand total of five are still on the Bears. Those players include: Lance Briggs (possible Hall-of-Famer, but old now), Charles Tillman (same deal as Briggs, also injured), Matt Forte (OK, nice pick), Stephen Paea (Ehhh) and Christ Conte (Bad). Sure, Angelo did have a few hits, but that’s still a retention rate of only 6.1 percent. Not good.
Now let’s take a look at the Green Bay Packers draft classes from the same time frame. Among their 88 draft picks from 2002-2011, 34 are still in the NFL, while 19 continue to call Green Bay home. That’s close to a 22% retention rate, without even considering the draft picks from 2012-2014 that are still with the team. We’re talking about guys like Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Clay Matthews. Not only that, the Packers have built up their depth as well with guys like James Starks, Andrew Quarless and Matt Flynn.
Angelo may be long gone, but his spirit still haunts Halas Hall. Stop blaming Trestman and Cutler. What do you expect them to do? Look who they have around them. Ten whole years and all they have to show for it are two old guys, a solid running back, an underachieving nose tackle and arguably the worst safety in the NFL.
Good luck with that.