Bears

Boyle: Where did Angelo go wrong?

622830.png

Boyle: Where did Angelo go wrong?

By Pat Boyle
CSNChicago.com

Jay is our quarterback, but everything else is up for grabs.

You never really know the true value of a player until you watch his replacement. Wherever Jay Cutler was on your chart five weeks ago, I'm sure he has sky rocketed to a lofty spot now.

While I had Matt Forte as a top five back in this league before his injury, his value dipped a little in the last few weeks after watching what Kahlil Bell and Marion Barber-Denver debacle included-have done during Forte's absence.

We all realize that to hoist the Lombardi trophy, you must have a difference making quarterback. Cutler is that guy, but you also need a "game managing" back-up quarterback to get you through a game or two during the season.

Let's face it, you lose your "elite" QB for any significant time, your season is pretty much over.

Josh McCown appeared like a competent back-up versus Green Bay, but many said the same thing about Caleb Hanie after "HIS" TD, two INT performance vs. the Packers in the NFC Championship last season.

This is where you need a well run organization, that isn't afraid to make a tough decision, as long as it's in the team's best interest.

Like what the Bears did with Olin Kreutz before the season began. Jerry Angelo took a lot of flack for not holding on to the locker room leader, over what seemed at the time to be NFL walk around money.

Jerry was right in the case of Kreutz. As it turned out, he offered him a lot more than anyone else did and the Bears realized his skills were nearing the end. Roberto Garza made you forget the whole Kreutz debate. Tough call, unpopular, but the right move for the good of the franchise.

I wish Angelo & company handled all personnel issues in the same manner. There was clearly a disconnect on Hanie's ability last season. That's why he was 3rd in line behind Todd Collins.

That is also why they drafted Nathan Enderle. Having two young quarterbacks with zero NFL starts behind Cutler was the Bears fatal mistake.

Mike Martz wasn't the Bears first or even second choice as the Offensive Coordinator two years ago.

The same reservations they had at that time, are the same issues that constantly surfaced for Martz here in Chicago.

If Martz & co. weren't comfortable with Hanie last January when they were one win away from the Super Bowl, why would he be plan B to the most sacked quarterback in the league coming into this year?

We can ask similar questions about the decisions made at safety, wide receiver and defensive tackle. To be fair, every team in the playoffs right now(including Green Bay) has weak spots on their roster. The Bears just have more holes and bigger gaps in talent between players.

I feel bad for guys like Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs who played at Pro Bowl levels all year and realize serious runs at the Super Bowl don't come very often. They made an average defense good enough to reach the playoffs. The problem was the offense never held up their end of the deal once Cutler went down.

Maybe the 7-3 start to at best an 8-8 season will cause some change at Halas Hall. It won't be any easy decision for George McCaskey, but it is one that has to be made if your goal is a Super Bowl.

Angelo has had plenty of time and some success over the past decade plus with the Bears. Unfortunately, much like his roster, Angelo has too many holes in his game and he hasn't been the difference making leader this franchise desperately needs.

Take a look back at the Bears Postgame Live Rewind below:

Bears tap into Utah's defense in latest 3-round NFL mock draft

Bears tap into Utah's defense in latest 3-round NFL mock draft

The 2019 college football regular season is over, which means the 2020 NFL draft season is right around the corner. Underclassmen are declaring by the day, all-star rosters are filling out and, of course, mock drafts are being published.

The really unique thing about the Bears in 2019 is how fluid their likely NFL draft needs have been. A few weeks ago, quarterback would've topped the list. Now? Not so much. Tight end, a position that's been non-existent in Chicago's offense all year, suddenly has two players (J.P. Holtz and Jesper Horsted) who've garnered some excitement.

Seasons like this year make trying to pinpoint which direction GM Ryan Pace will go in April's draft extremely challenging. According to the Draft Wire's latest three-round mock draft, the Bears will grab help for the secondary and offensive line in Round 2.

Their first selection (as of the start of Week 15) comes at No. 45 overall from the Raiders. Chicago uses that pick on Utah cornerback, Jaylon Johnson.

It's hard to argue this projection. The Bears may have a bigger need at cornerback by the time the draft rolls around than they do right now if they decide it's time to part ways with veteran starter Prince Amukamara. Chicago needs to make some difficult salary-cap decisions this offseason, and moving on from Amukamara would free up roughly $9 million in cap space. 

Johnson (6-0, 190) will be part of the second wave of cornerbacks to get drafted this year. He isn't a first-round talent, and barring an elite showing at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, he should be available in the middle portion of the second round.

The Bears land offensive line help at No. 50 overall in this mock draft via Tennessee's Trey Smith.

A former five-star recruit, Smith's talent is undeniable. It's first-round worthy. His medicals, however, are not.

After dealing with blood clots in his lungs in 2018, Smith returned to action this season and was once again a dominant force. He projects as an interior player in the NFL and would be an ideal target for a Bears team that needs to add more talent at guard in their effort to replace longtime starter, Kyle Long.

Smith's medical history is likely to push him into Day 3, however, at which point he'll qualify as one of this year's best value selections.

Sunday is Matt Nagy's chance to prove the Bears' changes are for real

Sunday is Matt Nagy's chance to prove the Bears' changes are for real

Matt Nagy thinks about the Packers a lot. 

He thinks about his first career game as an NFL head coach, at Lambeau Field, and how he’ll “never forget that day, that game, for so many different reasons.” 

He thinks about his first NFC North title, which was clinched when Eddie Jackson intercepted Aaron Rodgers in the end zone, avenging the season’s earlier loss.

And he thinks about Week 1 of this season, when millions of eyes tuned in on Opening Night to watch a supposed Super Bowl contender score three points, at home, in a loss to the Packers. 

“I try not to remember too much of that,” he said. “That was a rough one.”  

It just so happens that, this week, everyone else is thinking about the Packers too. On the surface level, it’s the 200th meeting in one the league’s most storied rivalries, and a pivotal game in this year’s race for the second Wild Card spot. There’s Aaron Rodgers, who Nagy called, “competitive as hell.” There’s a talented-and-maybe-underperforming defense, with Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith on the edges creating matchup nightmares for an offensive line that’s undergone more change than anyone. 

“We knew what kind of players they were,” he added. “They’re not unknown anymore.” 

If you wanted to get esoteric, there’s a great redemption narrative to Sunday’s game too. The Packers came into Chicago and exposed the Bears’ starters – who, you’ll remember, sat out the preseason. Things would get worse – so much worse – but the book was out on Nagy’s Bears, and it took them three months to recover. 

“I just feel like we’re kind of in a rhythm now,” Mitch Trubisky said. “We’re a different team. There were some things that we had to go through in the first game and the beginning of the season that just didn’t go our way, and there’s things we definitely learned from as an offense. I just feel like we have a new-found identity of what we want to do and everybody is really locked into what they have to do within their job description on the offense.” 

Things have been different than Week 1, even if you couldn’t say that until Week 12. Nagy has admittedly found a better rhythm as a play-caller, and many of the issues that plagued the Bears in Week 1 haven’t been an issue lately. The tight end room is producing, they’re shifting through personnel groupings less, and the run game has stabilized – all vital components of the offense that best suits the 2019 Bears. It’s not what Nagy envisioned, but 202 ended up being formative in ways he never expected. 

“I feel like a better coach going through this for the players, for my coaches and just the way we communicate,” he said. “The honesty, the belief in one another; going through this is important and it'll help me in the long run, to be able to handle these type of situations when they arise again.”