For Jerry Angelo, with a Chicago record of 95-81, to go from planning for the 2012 offseason, with re-signing priorities in place and free-agency targets identified, to sudden firing -- there would seem to be something more involved than what was talked about by George McCaskey and Ted Phillips on Tuesday.
One nagging thought is that Angelo didnt lose his job because of five straight losses. He lost it because of one in particular.
Besting the Green Bay Packers was a driving force for George Halas and it is clearly one for his grandson and current Bears chairman. It also has been suggested that this was a proximate cause of Angelos dismissal.
As recently as the hours before the Christmas game in Green Bay, the strongest indications were that Angelo was ticketed for a return for 2012. George McCaskey was in the corridors of Lambeau Field with his son and in a good mood before the game.
After seeing the Bears crushed (35-10 after three quarters) by the Packers -- again -- the mood was considerably darker. The decision to jettison Angelo rested with Phillips, but many people underestimated the epic importance of the Green Bay relationship to the McCaskeys above all else.
McCaskey cited the need for the Bears to lose no more ground to the Packers and Detroit Lions. But the Bears beat the Lions twice in 2010, lost badly in game one this season, then annihilated Detroit 37-13 on Nov. 13. The Lions didnt score a touchdown until 5 minutes remained in the game and the Bears were up 37-6.
That would be classed as gaining ground on the Lions.
But a blowout in Green Bay appeared to change all that.
All of the good graces Bill Belichick may have won on Tuesday afternoon -- when he compared the Bears' offense to Kansas City's -- are officially gone.
Today, when talking to reporters, a Khalil Mack-Lawrence Taylor comparison came up. Belichick, who coached LT as the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator in the 1980s, was NOT having it:
"Wait a minute, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor now. I’m not putting anybody in (LT’s) class. Put everybody down below that. With a lot of respect to a lot of good players, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor."
A bit harsh, Bill.
For what it's worth, here's Khalil Mack's 2018 projection, assuming his latest ankle injury doesn't make him miss time:
20 sacks, four interceptions, 16 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries
That's .5 sacks less and four INTS, 16 FFs and 4 recoveries more than LT had in his 1986 MVP season. And yeah, maybe "they didn't record tackles/fumbles in 1986" and "16 forced fumbles would not only blow the current record (10) out of the water but is just plain unrealistic" but whatever, we're just sayin'.
UPDATE: shocker, LT agrees:
The Bears have seemingly dodged a bullet, for now.
Following Tuesday's announcement that Khalil Mack would undergo further tests on the right ankle injury he sustained during Sunday's loss, Bears head coach had more optimistic news on Wednesday:
It could obviously get a lot worse than a day-to-day diagnosis, though not practicing on Wednesday might raise some eyebrows.
It sounds like Mack is expected to be a go for Sunday's matchup with the Patriots, though as the Bears saw with the Dolphins' QB situation last week, things can change in a heartbeat.