The 2011 season ended with a 17-13 win over the Vikings on New Year’s Day…a rather anticlimactic finish to a dive-bomb of a season. Eight wins, eight losses, and a thumb injury at quarterback. That’s how 2011 will be remembered.
2012 means it’s time for a new chapter in the storied franchise’s history…and as the page turns forward, it does so without GM Jerry Angelo. After eleven years as general manager, Angelo was relieved of his duties today.
In his tenure, the Bears won four division championships, two NFL title appearances, and 1 trip to the Super Bowl...but for the fourth time in five seasons, missed the playoffs again this year. Chicago did have success under Angelo, but his awful track record in the draft will certainly be the legacy left behind. Of his 82 draft picks, just 22 are still on the roster. Lance Briggs and Devin Hester are the top two.
Until Angelo was canned, the Bears were never going to move forward as a franchise. Now, the Monsters of the Midway can get younger, and with any shred of hope, stop playing the game like its still 1985. The move for Jay Cutler showed this team wants to step out of the stone age, but they have still yet to make the full-leap. With Jerry gone, they now can.
This franchise needs to recognize the importance of an aerial attack, and needs to build around the draft. Young, deep teams have sustained success (see reigning Super Bowl Champions). The offensive line needs to improve, but if healthy, I think they have some solid pieces. Wide receivers are a must. I said it last year, I will said it again and again until there is a strong core of targets for Jay Cutler to throw to. And an insurance plan at QB is a must. 2011 was bookended with bad quarterback play in Jay’s absence. That can’t happen again.
On defense, shutdown corners and above average safeties will make this team a contender. I am more than comfortable with the front four (or seven if you include the LBs), but the backend of the defense is mediocre at best. Again, get younger! Especially at linebacker. Urlacher and Briggs won’t be around forever, so who is next in line.
I don’t believe the Bears need to tear it all down and start anew, just that changes needed to take place at the top. Angelo’s firing was step 1 in moving forward and stepping into the new era of football.
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