Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Top Ten moves that would help the Bears


Jerry Angelo is quickly catching up to John Paxson for title of worst GM in Chicago. Even though the Bears are about 30 million dollars under the salary cap, have major needs at several positions and have their pick of a number of short-term productive free-agents that would come pretty cheap, Angelo seems content to build through the draft.

Angelo really can’t think the Bears are “close” after being lucky to finish 9-7 in one of the weakest divisions in football, can he?

With that said, here are 10 moves the Bears should make before they take the field for their season opener, though I would be very surprised to see Angelo pull the trigger on any of the free-agents that I mention.

10. Find a backup for Matt Forte
Whether he’s already on the roster (Kevin Jones, Garrett Wolfe) or out there in free agency (Warrick Dunn maybe), the Bears need to find a change of-pace-back they can trust to compliment Forte. Dunn’s 4.2-yards-per-carry average last season was actually better than Forte’s.

9. Draft a safety in the second round The safety class this year is really weak. It’s likely there will not be a single safety drafted in the first round, which means there will be a run on them starting in the second round. Even though the Bears could go for a defensive end here, guys like William Moore, Louis Delmas and Patrick Chung would be good additions and could compete for a starting spot.

8. Give Nathan Vasher and Mark Anderson one more chance Each of these guys have greatly underachieved these last two seasons. It would be easy to bench Vasher in place of Corey Graham and release Anderson, but the Bears didn’t pay Vasher all that money for him to be a backup and not too many guys get 12 sacks their rookie year like Anderson did in 2006. The Bears need both to bounce back and have good seasons; otherwise the defense will likely struggle for the third straight year.

7. Give Bob Babich as little responsibility as possible Luckily, Rod Marinelli and Lovie will now be sort of like the co-defensive coordinators, while Babich will only be coaching the linebackers. I’m very interested in seeing if the Bears’ struggles on defense were really a result of poor play-calling by Babich or just a sign that guys like Urlacher and Ogunleye are past their primes and Vasher and Harris struggled because of injuries.

6. Re-sign John St. Clair With John Tait set to retire after five solid years as a fixture on the Bears’ line, bringing back St. Clair shifts from a luxury into a necessity. Chris Williams is penciled in at the other tackle spot, but he remains a major question mark after missing nearly all of last season due to injury. There’s been talk recently about the Bears drafting an offensive tackle with their first-round pick, but with St. Clair, Williams and lone free-agent pickup Frank Omiyale, the Bears should be okay.

5. Sign Darren Sharper If the season started tomorrow, Craig Steltz would be the 64th best starting safety in the NFL. Because the Bears didn’t bring back Mike Brown, safety is probably the second biggest need on this team besides wide receiver. Sharper has been around forever, and while his best years are behind him, he still presents a big upgrade over any one else the Bears currently have on their roster for the free safety position. Reportedly, the Bears and Saints top his wish list.

4. Make Danieal Manning the full-time kick and punt returner Hester looked totally lost on his returns last season and clearly isn’t the same guy who brought back 12 kicks for scores his first two years in the league. In just a handful of games late last season, Manning showed he can be one of the league’s better returners. Manning is probably the best athlete on the team, but he’s clueless on defense, so why not utilize his athleticism as much as possible?

3. Sign Jeff Garcia Doesn’t Kyle Orton need a little more competition in training camp than Brett Basanez and Caleb Hanie? Now I understand Angelo is worried that bringing in a veteran might hurt Orton’s confidence, but honestly, who cares? Orton has proved nothing yet in this league. And if Orton isn’t good enough to beat out the 39-year old Garcia, the Bears could at least stop fooling themselves into thinking they finally have a long-term answer at quarterback.

2. Sign either Tory Holt OR Marvin Harrison Right now, there’s not a team that has a worse receiving corps than the Bears. Hester is a number three receiver on a lot of teams, and Rashied Davis and Earl Bennett wouldn’t even play on most teams. The Bears need a reliable veteran who defenses would still have to account for. Holt and Harrison both fit that profile. Either one would help Orton tremendously and take a lot of pressure off of Hester. Holt is clearly the better player, but Harrison would be easier to get considering he’s an actual free-agent.

1. Draft a wide receiver in the first round I’ve seen mock drafts where they had the Bears taking everyone from Larry English to Michael Oher. Wide receiver has to be the first priority though. Even though there is great depth in this year’s receiver class, if the Bears wait until the second round to address it they will be picking from a group of leftovers. I would be happy with any one of these guys with the 18th overall pick; Darius Hayward-Bey, Percy Harvin or Hakeem Nicks. Angelo has a history of not taking receivers in the first round, but that needs to finally change.


Anonymous said...

I would love to see the Bears pick Hayward-Bey in the first round. There are no sure things in any draft, but given this guy's skill set, I'd love to see him spreading the field in a Bears uniform. Memo to Jerry Angelo: Don't be afraid to draft a wideout.
You drafted a running back with the fourth overall pick and how did that workout for you ?

Matthew Olsen said...

I'd much rather have Torry Holt than Marvin Harrison.

But Angelo won't do it as the McCaskey family uses the financial woes of the nation as an excuse to return to their penny pinching ways.

Get ready for another year of Brandon Lloyd everyone.

Anonymous said...

Good post, although one thing I disagree with: no way the Bears should waste their first-round pick on Percy Harvin. I think the Bears need to take a defensive end with one of their first two picks, because we know how important a good pass rush is to a defense, and that has been the area that has killed the Bears these last two seasons.

Anonymous said...

Where have Martin and Phillips been? Did you off both of their asses?

Eli Kaberon said...

Well done Danny, though I'd say Angelo is a worse GM than Pax is.

My only question is, if the Bears get a guy like Holt (which would be amazing) and then draft Maclin or H-B, wouldn't Hester be our #3 WR? If so, doesn't it make sense to move him back to kick/punt return duties? I agree he was horrible last year and Manning filled in well, but Hester's first two years were so good, it would be a mistake to dump him from that spot after one bad season.

Then again, we know Angelo won't sign Holt and won't draft Maclin or H-B, so it's a moot point.

Anonymous said...


Good list, but, I would add moving Urlacher to the strong side and drafting Ohio State's James Laurenitis(?) or Pottsburgh's Scott McKillop.

And, would rather seeing Jerry than Jeff Garcia.

Keep writing as you're getting better and better

Walter Brzeski

Phil Barnes said...

They have so many other better options to draft than any receiver on the board. Larry English and Oher would be significantly better decisions than DH-B, and he is the only one I would even contemplate using. They should just trade the pick away.

Rich said...

am i the only one that thinks leftwich can still be a great qb i always wondered why he didnt work out in jax. he played for the steelers and i remember one game he came in and threw two 60 yard bomb td (the second wasnt caught be it hit him in his hands) can we go get leftwich please?.... why does everybody think we need a DE we had a really good one when we went to the superbowl two years ago.... i have NEVER liked our secondary the problem didnt get fixed and they have been exposed! they need to resign mike brown move tillman to safety and draft a corner or if the can get a FS in the second round that will work too.... the ONLY reason we went to the SB is because of hester in the return game! not the D who admittedly were solid and it sure wasnt the O hester won like 7 games by himself and was the only points we had a couple of times the move to wr was good but to count on him as number one is crazy. he should be a number 3 wr and tell him that kr is his main priority. why is our starting WR both originally CB?(hester & davis) get holt & pace in free agency draft what ever wr thats avail in the first round whoever he is i dont even care at this point get a safety in the second and a linebacker to replace hunter who again i always disliked.... follow my advice and i can assure a playoff spot and maybe more

Anonymous said...

Why bother even following the draft for the Chicago Bears any more? Jerry Angelo has had 7 years and over 60 picks to prove he cannot recognize talent in the player pool, even with his vaunted antennae for defensive players (how's Michael Okwo doing at Burger King, by the way?); cannot retain the few talented players he actually finds (Chris Harris would look good in a Bears uniform right now, wouldn't he?); is unable to assemble a competent coaching staff that can develop talent and, if God forbid some players become stars, can avoid being intimidated and threatened by their presence (see Chris Harris again, and who was that guy who was the greatest kick/punt returner of all time that was on our team for a little while? What was his name? Oh yeah: THE MOST DYNAMIC PLAYER TO EVER WEAR A BEAR UNIFORM WHO VANISHED LAST SEASON UNDER THE STAFF'S INCREASED 'COACHING'!) Pathetic. And don't call me a hater. I call it as I see it. Giving an incompetent boob 8 years to lay waste to a proud institution is not a good idea. I think we have learned that. A man who mangles the English language, mixes metaphors so badly while supposedly positing logical points during interviews that those quotes become everlasting clips to radio comedy shows, who sounds like he's drunk whenever he speaks in public, and who stubbornly digs his heels in and makes the same mistakes over and over and over again to prove he is "in charge" is no joke. It has devastated the United States of America, and it has devastated the Chicago Bears. And for what? It's not like the McCaskeys got the guy cheap (he makes well in the mid-to-upper range of salaries for GMs in the NFL after his lovely extension in 2007) and his one great achievement produced a bitter aftertaste in all our mouths. Statistically speaking, it's not like the Super Bowl is even that difficult to reach once one makes the playoffs, if you consider the losing teams in the last decade came more often than not from the lower-rated conference teams (Panthers, Bears, Cardinals: anyone for the Detroit Lions in 2010?); and with the increased divisions and expansion of the wild card, it is statistically much easier to reach the playoffs. So. Here comes draft #8. Too bad Tim Tebow isn't there for Jerry to draft at 18 and stink up the place for a half-decade.

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