03 January 2012

Did Jerry Angelo Deserve To Be Fired?

The Chicago Bears have made the next major move as heads continue to roll across the NFL as the season is over by firing longtime general manager Jerry Angelo. The Bears were 8-8 this season, one season after winning the NFC North and falling in the NFC Championship Game to the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, but were sitting at 7-3 after week 11. After Jay Cutler got injured against the San Diego Chargers, they finished 1-5. Hence, Angelo losing his job. But did he deserve to?
Anytime a team falls apart down the stretch after being in a clear spot for a playoff spot, in this case the Wild Card, fingers will be pointed and it's clear they were being pointed at Angelo, as well as head coach Lovie Smith. After all, the offensive line struggled yet again, leading to Cutler getting injured and the team stuck with Caleb Hanie for too long, only turning to Josh McCown, who seemed to be much better at moving the offense as they played much better in their last two games, when their playoff chances were shot. Even after drafting Gabe Carimi in the first round in the draft, his own season was cut short thanks to a knee injury followed by microscopic surgery, the line was not noticeable better plus the offense also was relying on Matt Forte too much thanks to inconsistency at wideout. Angelo traded his best receiver, tight end Greg Olsen, before the season because offensive coordinator Mike Martz preferred a big, blocking tight end and the passing game really missed his talent. And maybe pairing Martz, whose complex offense leads to a quarterback taking a lot of hits, and line coach Mike Tice was not a great idea. So Angelo deserves some blame here.
But why is Lovie Smith safe? He will be returning while Angelo is gone. Granted how much job security he will have with a new personnel chief, say a Reggie McKenzie type potentially, who did not hire him is questionable but nonetheless he returns. And don't forget this team came very close to a Super Bowl appearance a year ago. And what if Cutler didn't get injured? Maybe this team doesn't fall apart? I would have given Angelo one more year until a decision were to be made.

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