Posted by sportsmaven on December 29, 2008
The Chicago Bears are not the Detroit Lions, but at the completion of today’s play, they have gotten as far as the Lions did this season, which to say, is out of the playoffs. That comparison is certainly extreme, as the Bears do not have the same amount of holes that the Lions have, but a 9-7 finish that surprised many have clouded severe failures of judgement made by the football leadership of this team.
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Perhaps the most glaring failures are with a Chicago Bears defense that opened the season very motivated in a win over the Indianapolis Colts, but sunk to maddening lows in crushing defeats by the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings amongst others. Bears head coach Lovie Smith was asked about replacing defensive coordinator Ron Rivera shorly after the Bears loss to the Colts in Super Bowl XLI. This is where Love broke out his now infamous “Trust Me” speech.
“You should trust me as a head football coach to put us in the best position to win football games,” Smith said. “It’s as simple as that.”
And that was Lovie’s reasoning to why he chose to replace Ron Rivera with BFF Bob Babich. Since Rivera was replaced, the Bears defense has plunged to embarassingly low depths in both prestige and performance. In 2006, teams feared and respected the Bears defense. Ask the Arizona Cardinals, despite then-Coach Dennis Green’s post-game rant. Now, teams just run over the Bears defense. Case in point:
- The Houston Texans racked up 455 yards of total offense and 31 points in a Week 17 victory.
- The Packers ran the Bears for 427 yards and 37 points in Week 11 pasting of the Bears.
- The Vikings racked up 439 yards and 41 points in a Week 7 loss to the Bears.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ran up 454 yards and 27 points in a Week 2 Bears debacle.
These are numbers that nearly all Chicago Bears fans find unacceptable. It should be unacceptable to Lovie Smith as well, but somehow, it isn’t, which leads back to the Trust Me speech and the fact that I can no longer trust Lovie Smith to make correct decisions when he has yet to acknowledge that the two biggest staff decisions of his coaching tenure were complete and utter failures (remember the Terry Shea mess?)
Secondly, the Bears personnel decisions and evaluations are skeptical at best and leave even casual fans wondering if the Bears are able to effectively evaluate talent. Consider the players the Bears kept:
- WR/KR Devin Hester signed a $40M contract extension and was made a WR, neutering his return skills (0 TD’s)
- LB Brian Urlacher was given a lucrative contract extension for 88 tackles, no sacks, and no Pro Bowl selection
- DT Tommie Harris signed a large contract extension only to play about a half season due to injury/ineffectiveness
- WR Earl Bennett was drafted to compete for a starting position; he ends up catching 0 passes for the season.
and the players the Bears decided to let go:
The Bears have also missed on numerous players in the draft as well, as noted in past posts. The level of talent on the Bears has receded dramatically since the 2006 Super Bowl season, which means that the Bears braintrust has not made moves in personnel and coaching to build off their success. Now Bob Babich is on the hot seat.
The Bears clearly need to admit that they made severe errors in judgement in replacing Ron Rivera with Bob Babich. They need to admit that they made errors in personnel and they need to correct these errors in the offseason. A 9-7 record is something to build from, but if the failures of judgement are not corrected, this may be the best it will be under Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith.
Posted in Chicago Bears | Tagged: Arizona Cardinals, Bernard Berrian, Bob Babich, Brian Urlacher, Cedric Benson, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, David Haugh, Dennis Green, Detroit Lions, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, green bay packers, Greg Couch, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jerry Angelo, Kansas City Chiefs, Kevin Seifert, Lovie Smith, Mark Bradley, Mike Inrem, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Ron Rivera, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Terry Shea, Thomas Jones, Tom Thayer, Tommie Harris | 5 Comments »
Posted by sportsmaven on March 5, 2007
The Chicago Bears continue their offseason overhaul by trading top RB Thomas Jones and their second round pick (#63 in the draft) to the New York Jets for the Jets 2nd round pick (#37). My buddy Stu in New York is estatic, actually called me on the phone tonight to let me know how happy he was. The Jets got a great deal, they picked up a starting quality RB and only gave up a few spots of draft order in the 2nd round of this year’s draft. Not sure if the Bears received good value on this trade, as I believe we could have also gotten a mid to late round pick as well if you just asked. In my opinion, this is a trade mainly for two reasons: first, to get a potential problem out of the locker room, and second, to serve as an example of making the hard decision not to overpay for talent that is available in other outlets.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
John Clayton from ESPN provides another tke on evaluating the Bears trade of Jones:
Bears moving up: If you are trying to figure out the Thomas Jones trade, it’s pretty simple. The Bears moved up 26 spots in the second round, getting a Jets pick at No. 37. That’s a prime position to get a borderline rookie starter or a quality prospect. Why would the Bears have to give up a second-round pick and Jones to get a second-round pick? The answer is simple. The market for veteran running backs is at best a third-round pick. The Bears wanted to get a second-round pick alone but they couldn’t. If you look at the draft value charts, the Bears gave up 280 points. That’s the equivalent of one of the final choices of the second round or a top choice in the third round. In other words, they got the best value possible for a 28-year-old running back.
My feeling on this trade or any other proposed trade is at this point, it really only benefits the Bears, especially in the situation with Jones. Thomas Jones is a good back. Is he great? Not at all, but very good, solid. The days of the single dominant RB’s are dwindling as more teams are starting to share the load with 2 solid RB’s. Worked very well for the Bears last season. Also worked well for the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and Dallas Cowboys. By the way, all these teams were also playoff teams. So renegotiating Thomas Jones contract and meeting his needs were clearly out of the picture. Jones’ agent Drew Rosenhaus (who also happens to be Lance Briggs’ agent) is notorious for trying to get teams to renegotiate and it has worked well for him in the past. Sometimes not for his players, in terms of moving to teams that are far away from Super Bowl contention, but he does get his players paid.
Speaking of Lance Briggs, I know he is unhappy with the franchise tag, but that is the NFL. He blames the Bears and he states that he doesn’t want to play for this team anymore since they will not give him a long term deal (which hasn’t been fully played out yet). He is a victim of the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed by both the owners and Players Association. If you want to be mad, direct your anger to Gene Upshaw. The Bears are playing within the rules of the CBA. Lance Briggs was on ESPN Radio 1000 and WSCR 60 Chicago today making his case that it’s not about the money, but rather the respect. I think Lance Briggs just negotiated himself out of anything good happening in his favor out of this situation with his public radio comments.
The Bears have a unique chance as one of the favorites to go to the Super Bowl again next season. Lance is headed towards Todd Bell and Al Harris territory with this stance. If you are not about the money, but winning the Super Bowl, take the guaranteed $7.2M and play to win. This Chicago Bears team becomes a bit more uncertain after next season. Lance, we are not naive….we know it’s about nothing about the money. If you don’t want to be here in Chicago to win, fine. I think the Bears should trade you. You take your risks on that one. Maybe the Bears trade you to the Oakland Raiders, what do you think about that? You gonna sign that deal with that team? Maybe the Bears don’t trade you and you decide to sit out a season, then what? Do you do it all again next season with another potential franchise tag? Do you think the Bears are gonna trade you to the Colts, Patriots, Cowboys, or any other team that may contend for the Super Bowl? Unless they are bowled over with an offer, probably not.
This one might get even more ugly than it is now, and Lance, I’m afraid you are not negotiating from a position of strength. If I were the Bears, I would do exactly nothing in this situation. No trade, no release. Play for the $7.2M this season. Hold out of all OTA’s, hold out of all training camp if you like. Hold out the season. Who is the big loser in this scenario? Lance Briggs, that’s who. No play, no pay. Hold out a season, kiss a $12-14M signing bonus goodbye. Kiss $50M contract goodbye. And guess what, Lance? The Bears can franchise you again next season and we can do it all over again…..and for Drew Rosenhaus? He will be working on a new contract for Bears DT Tommie Harris, so he is not likely to get into any kind of long term pissing match with the Bears and risk losing a payday for another client who may be potentially even better than Lance Briggs. It appears it looks like a long two years for Mr. Briggs……
Posted in Chicago Bears | Tagged: Al Harris, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Drew Rosenhaus, ESPN, Gene Upshaw, Indianapolis Colts, John Clayton, Lance Briggs, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Super Bowl, Thomas Jones, Todd Bell, Tommie Harris, WSCR | 5 Comments »