The Mighty Mighty Mel-Tones
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Jerry Angelo?  Done.

Mike Martz?  Out the door.

Lovie Smith?  Not so fast, Lovie...

Some big housecleaning in Chicago today.  Jerry Angelo, the face of the frustration of many Bears fans was cut loose this morning after a 11-year run with the team.  Jerry did have a hand in putting together the team that went 13-3 and lost Super Bowl 41 to the Colts, and managed to pull off the deal that brougt Jay Cutler to Chicago and set Kyle Orton on a nomadic journey through the AFC.  But he'll be as much remembered for his inability to use a first-round draft pick for anything more than a waste of cap space and a roster spot. 

Oh yeah, and let's not forget that the majority of his FA dealings prior to the 2011 season brought Roy Williams, Marion Barber, and Sam Hurd to Chicago.  Despite the acquisition of Cutler in 2009, and the more recent signing of Julius Peppers in 2010, Jerry Angelo was one of the ultimate Blue Light Special hunters when it came to free agency.  Jerry never met a top-shelf player he didn't want to spend a few extra bucks on.  In my opinion, the disregard he showed for shoring up the the Bears sieve-like O-line (and leaving $19M in cap room before the 2011 season began) was an indicator that Jerry's priorities were someplace else.  I'm not sure where, though...

Happy New Year, Jerry... 

And then there's Mike Martz, who resigned today, although he was not under a contract after the 2011 season.  Hmmm.

I had issues with the Martz hire initially for a couple of reasons... mostly because it seemed like the Bears were dragging their collective ass to find a replacement for Ron Turner, until there was no one else left to bring in but Martz after all other viable candidates had been hired.  And then there's the fact that a typical Martz-run system takes the type of talent that the Bears didn't appear to have.  The first few games of the 2010 season, Jay Cutler was basically a tackling dummy, being given little if any time to set himself in the pocket before he was running for his life when not planted in the ground by blitzing defenders.  After Jay was sacked nine times in the first half alone by the Giants in 2010 (and was concussed and out for a game), Martz finally realized that keeping an extra body or two back to protect his QB might be a smart move.  And the Bears flourished enough on offense to make it to the NFC title game.  Inexplicably, the exact same scenario happened agin this season.  Jay Cutler gets pummeled behind the line the first few games, publicly calls out Martz, who responds the same way again this year, with the same positive results, up until Cutler's season was ended by a broken thumb.  why the heck did it take him nearly as many games to remember that his O-line stunk again in 2011 (thanks again, Jerry Angelo).  I guess Martz was just as stubborn a play caller now as when he called the plays for the Rams team that lost the Super Bowl to the Pats 10 years ago.

So now Bears fans get to wait.  Who gets to replace Jerry?  Will it be someone who isn't afraid to shop for some talent in free agency, or who can make a good first round draft choice once in a while? (Whomever they get, just don't forget that O-line, and Pay Matt Forte!)  And as far as the OC is concerned, Lovie needs to make an effort to find an OC who isn't in his circle of buddies.  Maybe get some input from Jay Cutler... once he was settled into a scheme that provided him some protection, he was looking pretty good.  And he's on the record as not liking the idea of learning a third offensive gameplan in his time with the Bears; first Ron Turner, then Mike Martz.  I can't say I blame him.  It's got to get better...

There is a lot of potential in Chicago right now for another great Bears team.  I hope Ted Phillips and Lovie Smith can truly appreciate what lies before them and will make the most out of it.

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