Chicago Sun-Times

Phillips still has a big mess to clean up at Halas Hall

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The surprising firing of Jerry Angelo seems to mark a shift in the culture at Halas Hall, but when the dust had settled Tuesday, one fact remained: The Bears still need to get their act together.

Firing Angelo might have been a step in the right direction, but it didn't erase the dysfunction at Halas Hall. Ted Phillips, who still knows much more about finance than he does about football after 13 years as team president, will be hiring a general manager who won't be able to hire his own coach.

And Lovie Smith has to hire an offensive coordinator who not only is willing to join a coaching staff that will be on the hot seat to start the 2012 season, but is on the same page as not only Smith, but Jay Cutler and whomever is hired as GM.

It's not as easy it looks, as the Bears constantly prove. When Smith fired Ron Turner, he hired Mike Martz over the objections of Angelo, insiders say. Angelo stuck him with a backup quarterback in Caleb Hanie who did not fit Martz's offensive philosophy -- which ultimately cost both Angelo and Martz their jobs.

That Martz was not an Angelo guy and Hanie was not a Martz guy tells you all you need to know about how the Bears operate. Their success is really amazing considering how dysfunctional they are. They traded for Jay Cutler, who thrived in an offense with a dynamic receiver (Brandon Marshall), pass-catching tight ends (Tony Scheffler/Daniel Graham) and a stable offensive line (all five starters started every game in Cutler's 2008 Pro Bowl season). And the Bears put him in an offense without a dynamic receiver, that de-emphasized the tight ends and with a makeshift offensive line that couldn't stay healthy.

And they're wondering why the Packers and Lions are pulling away?

Good for the Bears that they realized they have a problem. But when it comes to solving it, they're like an alcoholic going door-to-door in search of AA. This is an organization that would be bankrupt in any other business but football. And while, as descendants of NFL founding father George Halas, they have the right to shoot fish in a barrel to make a living, it takes more than a birthright to win precious championships.

You need the right people in the right jobs. But it takes the right person in the right job to put the right people in the right jobs. That's the paradox that defines the Bears right now. Unless they learn quickly, nothing will change until somebody near the top fires himself.

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8 Comments

Great column. You hit the nail on the head. Even when they do something right, the Bears still shoot themselves in the foot at the same time. I laughed out loud when I read that Lovie is staying and that talent evaluation is the biggest priority. Lovie has proven time and again that he doesn't know who is best players are. I also laughed when I read that the new GM had to share Lovie's philosophy. Who knew that Lovie actually had a philosophy? From what I can tell his philosophy must be staring blankly into space with fingers crossed, hoping for the best.

Lovie needs to go. Everyone knows it but the Bears.

I don't know about you but this smells like Bill Polian is going to be our next GM.

*stands and begins a 80s movie style slow clap*

Best. Article. Ever.

Boy do I agree with BigBear. (An especially nice point about Lovie's inability to distinguish talent and how that belies the Bears' avowal to stress talent evaluation.) And the bit about the farcical notion that Lovie has a philosophy was terrific.I can see him looking off into space. And Mark, you are right on. The whole organizaion is laughable - unless you are a Bears fan.

"It's not as easy it looks, as the Bears constantly prove."

I don't understand this statement, Mark. It doesn't even look easy from here. In probably the same way we ended up with Martz (no one else wanted the job), we'll probably end up with Ruskell by process of elimination.

"That's the paradox that defines the Bears right now. Unless they learn quickly, nothing will change until somebody near the top fires himself."

The only solution is the McCaskeys selling the team.

Mark I disagree with one thing you said, and that is that Jerry Angelo stuck Martz with Hanie. I don't think that's the case, I think Lovie stuck Martz with Hanie. It was not Angelo had Hanie start 4 games of hell when he should have been benched after 2, it was Lovie.

So mark can you answer me a question? What exactly is Lovie's philosophy? I mean from what I understand there is a bus involved, and from what I gather he wants people either running off of it or is busy throwing people under it. Look Lovie said he had philosophical conflict with Martz right. That they had different philosophies. Well I am sorry but shouldn't Lovie have known this before he hired Martz. H eworked under him for two years, what he never heard of the greatest show on turf? He didn't know Martz was in love with 7 step drops. How the hell did he not know what philosophy his good friend and former boss had, what planet does Smith live on that he did not know this. Yes Martz likes to pass you football retard, surprise, surprise, surprise.

Why are people applauding this article when it's incorrect on so many levels?

"Angelo stuck him with a backup quarterback in Caleb Hanie who did not fit Martz's offensive philosophy -- which ultimately cost both Angelo and Martz their jobs.
That Martz was not an Angelo guy and Hanie was not a Martz guy tells you all you need to know about how the Bears operate."

I have no idea how Angelo felt about Martz but to say he "stuck" him with Hanie is just wrong. He brought in Todd Collins, he drafted Nathan Enderle on Martz's behalf, and he brought in Josh McClown. Hanie was there before Martz and with the way he played in preseason, he wasn't going to be going anywhere. Add in the admirable way he played in the NFC Championship as the third stringer and there was no way he was leaving the team prematurely.

"They traded for Jay Cutler, who thrived in an offense with a dynamic receiver (Brandon Marshall), pass-catching tight ends (Tony Scheffler/Daniel Graham) and a stable offensive line (all five starters started every game in Cutler's 2008 Pro Bowl season). And the Bears put him in an offense without a dynamic receiver, that de-emphasized the tight ends and with a makeshift offensive line that couldn't stay healthy."

True, his offenseive personnel was way better in Denver. But it's not like Cutler was stinking it up as a QB last season and this season. In fact his numbers here are very similar to his Denver numbers.

"And they're wondering why the Packers and Lions are pulling away?"

Sorry but without the fluke injury to Jay Cutler this team cruises into the playoffs. Plus the Packers have "pulled away" from virtually every other team in the League. The Lions are nothing special and could have just as easily missed the playoffs if Stafford went down.

Things aren't as bad as you make them out to be. It would be nice if the owners took a hike but you're blowing the state of the Bears way out of proportion. Prior to this year the Colts were regarded as one of the elite franchises and whoops, they lost their star QB, just like us and had a bad season. Were they also a mess for the last ten years too, Mark?

Mike the Bears played the Packers and Lions when healthy and those teams Beat the Bears and the Packers did it easily.

As for Hanie Martz did not want him and stated such. But it was not Angelo that stuck him with Hanie it was Lovie. I know Martz did not want him, Dez Clark was on the radio saying this.

As for Jay's numbers in Denver no they are not that similar. You have to remember when it comes to QB's you expect them to develop as they go along. Cutler has developed but his numbers are down because he does not have much talent around him, and if you think the Bears have a good O-Line and recievers you have issues. 50 sacks is not a good O-Line. Every team has injuries, the Packers lost three offensive linmen they plugged those holes. The Bears have no depth the Defense is Peppers, Tillman, Briggs and Urlacher, and outside of bringing in Peppers they have not built around a core that has been together for almost a decade. On Offense you have Cutler and Forte and nothing around them. What had the bears winning games was not the offense on that five game winning streak it was defense and special teams most of the time. You want to play with the Packers and Saints, or even the 49ers. You better get Cutler some help and this team needs depth.

If you think the Bears had a tough scheduel this year you are kidding yourself, they had plenty of push over teams. You think Bears are good and it was just the loss of Cutler. They got beat 3 times by backup QB's, and twice at home. The Chiefs, Seattle and Denver, all three of those teams suck.

By the way I told you about Hanie day one, nobody listened. I told you after last years playoff game, and by the way he looked like crap in preseason.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on January 4, 2012 7:55 AM.

Report: Jeff Fisher has eyes for Bears was the previous entry in this blog.

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