If the Bears interview Tim Ruskell today at Halas Hall as expected, their first question should be, ''What can you do for us that Jerry Angelo could not?'' Because they sure seem like the same guy.
Ruskell is considered a long shot in the Bears GM search. But that he's even being considered to replace Angelo tells you all you need to know about the dysfunction at Halas Hall and why the Bears are chasing the Packers and Lions in the NFC North.
It's an indictment more of their management ability than their football acumen: You don't fire Jerry Angelo to hire Tim Ruskell. You fire Jerry Angelo to either hire someone with a better proven track record -- like a Bill Polian or a Ron Wolf -- or someone who might be the next Bill Polian or Ron Wolf.
Ruskell is almost tethered to Angelo right in the middle of those two choices. Regardless of what you think of Ruskell's 25-year record as a talent evaluator in the NFL, he has no better chance of getting on a hot streak as Angelo. None of his first-round picks in five years as the Seahawks' general manager are still with the team (Chris Spencer, Kelly Jennings, Lawrence Jackson and Aaron Curry). He traded his 2007 first-round pick (24th overall) to New England for Deion Branch (the Patriots took Brandon Meriweather), who is back with the Patriots today after four mundane seasons in Seattle.
Ruskell helped put together a team that won the NFC championship in his first season in 2005 (particularly rookie linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill). But by 2009, when only five starters remained from that Super Bowl team, the Seahawks were 5-11 and Ruskell was out as GM after a second consecutive playoff-less season.
In an almost identical span, Angelo had the Bears in the Super Bowl in 2006 and back in the NFC Championship Game in 2010. They had some breaks -- playing a 7-9 Seahawks team built by Tim Ruskell in the divisional playoffs sure didn't hurt -- but the Bears were in much better shape four years removed from their Super Bowl season than Ruskell's Seahawks were four years after their Super Bowl season.
So while Ted Phillips will be asking most of the questions today, he really needs to answer the most important question of all: If Jerry Angelo wasn't good enough for you, why are you thinking of replacing him with the same guy?