For most people, the Bears decision to fire general manager Jerry Angelo came as a surprise. Given the way the folks at Halas Hall stubbornly defend the status quo, I suppose in some ways it is. But for me, this move is long overdue.
The Bears just completed an 8-8 season that saw the team lose five of its last six games after quarterback Jay Cutler was injured. They finished seven games back of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North. The Bears have made the playoffs only once in the last five years. Hasn't this regime had enough time to get things right? I believe they have, and today's change is right and necessary.
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz and quarterback coach Shane Day are also on their way out the door. Good riddance to both.
Angelo has faced heavy criticism for his poor drafts -- particularly on the offensive side of things. Running back Matt Forte was selected to the Pro Bowl this season. He is the first offensive player who was drafted by Angelo to make the Pro Bowl during the GM's 11 seasons with the Bears. That's a pathetic track record. But you don't have to take my word for it. If you want to see what a lousy job Angelo did of drafting players, simply click on the links below and view his draft picks for yourself:
2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.
In particular, I'd call your attention to the 2007 draft -- Dan Bazuin in the second round and Garrett Wolfe and Michael Okwo in the third round. Goodness gracious.
Worst of all, Angelo ignored the offensive line on draft day throughout his tenure. He also didn't seem to care too much about wide receivers either. This GM was responsible for 10 drafts, yet he selected only 12 offensive linemen and 11 wide receivers during that entire time. Most of them made minimal or no impact. Here is that list, and I warn you, there are some real doozies on here:
Marc Colombo, first round, 2002 -- Made 95 career starts, but only seven were with Bears. Had his best years with Dallas.
Terrence Metcalf, third round, 2002 -- Started 25 games in seven seasons as a Bear. Never distiguished himself.
Bryan Anderson, seventh round, 2003 -- I think he played some center field for the White Sox, too.
Tyler Reed, sixth round, 2006 -- Who?
Josh Beekman, fourth round, 2007 -- Had his shot in 2008, starting all 16 games at left guard. Did nothing with it.
Aaron Brant, seventh round, 2007 -- Um, yeah.
Chris Williams, first round, 2008 - Was drafted to be the franchise left tackle, but ineffectiveness forced a move to guard in 2010. Showed signs in 2011, but has yet to prove he can stay healthy for a full season.
Chester Adams, seventh round, 2008 -- Do you remember this guy? Me neither.
Kirk Barton, seventh round, 2008 -- Appeared in one NFL game. Yay.
Lance Louis, seventh round, 2009 -- Started at right tackle for most of 2011, but might be better off at guard.
J'Marcus Webb, seventh round, 2010 -- Started all 16 games at left tackle in 2011. God knows why. Last seen getting his ass handed to him by Jared Allen at the Metrodome.
Gabe Carimi, first round, 2011 -- Rookie hurt his knee the second game of the season. Future uncertain.
Jamin Elliott, sixth round, 2002 -- Appeared in one game with Bears.
Bobby Wade, fifth round, 2003 -- Had 42 receptions in 2004, but his best years were after he left the Bears.
Justin Gage, fifth round, 2003 -- Had a good year in 2007 ... with Tennessee.
Bernard Berrian, third round, 2004 -- Caught 71 passes during his career year with the Bears in 2007. Minnesota overpaid for him in free agency, and his career fizzled.
Mark Bradley, second round, 2005 -- Oft-injured one started only four games over 3 1/2 years with the Bears.
Airese Currie, fifth round, 2005 -- He made Mark Bradley look like a great player.
Earl Bennett, third round, 2008 -- After "redshirting" his rookie year of 2008, Bennett has been a somewhat useful third-down target for Jay Cutler the last three seasons. Not a gamebreaker, however.
Marcus Monk, seventh round, 2008 -- No relation to Art Monk.
Juaquin Iglesias, third round, 2009 -- The Bears would have been no worse off drafting Julio Iglesias.
Johnny Knox, fifth round, 2009 -- Has 133 receptions over three years. Not great, but one of the few respectable NFL players on this list.
Derek Kinder, seventh round, 2009 -- He gawn.
(**We won't give Angelo credit for drafting Devin Hester as a wide receiver because 1) Hester was a cornerback in college and 2) As a wide receiver, Hester is a great kick returner.)
Year after year, we've watched the Bears struggle on offense with weak line play and few weapons on the outside. Year after year, we've watched Angelo fail to address these issues, oftentimes not even recognizing there is a problem.
For that, he deserves to be fired.