After the Bears started out 2-3, the "Fire Lovie, Fire Jerry" chants were getting louder from the 4th Phase. While the chant isn't as loud as it was a month ago, there are still a few that haven't changed their stance. The reality is, the players who Jerry Angelo brought in for Lovie Smith's system are paying dividends.
The Bears needed to upgrade their offensive line and while Angelo was criticized for not doing enough, he maintained that he did the absolute best they could. He drafted Gabe Carimi the first round, who even though looks like a promising prospect, has been injured for a majority of the season.
Angelo signed Chris Spencer, a former first rounder for the Seahawks and has stepped in to be a solution at right guard.
To beef up the running game, he traded Greg Olsen, and signed Matt Spaeth, Tyler Clutts, Marion Barber. Spaeth has proven to be a solid blocker with reliable enough hands. Clutts is helping Matt Forte run loose and is having a season worthy of Pro Bowl consideration. As the season progresses and Bears continue leaning on Forte, Barber will spell Forte to keep him fresh.
The wide receiver was upgraded with Roy Williams, Sam Hurd and Dane Sanzenbacher. Williams, who will probably never live up to all the hype, is a big target Jay Cutler in the red zone. Hurd replaced special teams ace, Rashied Davis, also give Cutler a bigger target and he too is a special team stand out. Sanzenbacher, who was picked up in the supplemental draft has also made a solid contribution and is one of Cutler's most trusted targets.
The Bears started the season with Chris Harris and Major Wright, with Brandon Meriweather waiting in the wing, as the starting safeties. Meriweather, who many have thought would be an upgrade, replaced Wright but was slow to learn the system and Wright won his job back. Meriweather will still be a contributor as he will be used in be different situations.
Harris, who was traded away to the Panthers and was traded back for, was released. As a fan favorite, it was said to see him leave but it was the right decision. He was no longer part of the Bears' future and he wasn't performing enough to justify him on the first team.
Chris Conte and Major Wright, both of whom were drafted by Angelo in the last two years, have filled the safety spots vacated by Meriweather and Harris, and they have both thrived in Smith's system.
The defensive line has also played a major role in the turnaround. One of Angelo's signings this past offeseason, Amobi Okoye, is also making a solid contribution. As part of the defensive tackle rotation, Okoye is tied for second on the team with three sacks.
Henry Melton, who was drafted in the fourth round in 2009, also has three sacks. After his dominant performance against the Falcons and not producing as he should have since and being called out by Smith, has responded with a solid efforts in the past two games.
This year's second round draft pick, Stephen Paea, has already made an immediate impact. He recorded a safety against the Vikings, his first game as a pro.
Angelo has assembled a team that for the second consecutive season has a winning record, and this season's team has a good chance to make the playoffs for the second straight season.
While Angelo has missed on more than a few draft picks, he has hit on plenty too. The team in front of you, is the team he assembled. As a fan, you should be happy with the results. The bottom line is that every team has needs, the Bears included, and Angelo has done a pretty good job in assembling a competitive team.