Jerry Angelo is an idiot. He's clueless, probably has never balanced a checkbook, and probably thinks chickens created lightning.
Those are some of the public perceptions following the general manager of the Chicago Bears around these days.
And, truthfully, they aren't that far off.
In fact, his bio on the Bears website is so full of sh**, it's almost painful to read. Here are some glaring inaccuracies:
- "Jerry Angelo has brought a clear vision to Bears football." Ray Charles has better vision than Angelo has displayed.
- "Angelo's mantra during his tenure in Chicago has been "reward your own" and he has followed through by taking a proactive approach with the team's key players." I'm pretty sure Thomas Jones has a different opinion on this statement. And Olin Kreutz. And Chris Harris (when he was in Carolina). And, if this truly is his mantra, why is Matt Forte still begging for a new deal?
- "Continuity in the Bears football operations was solidified." Do we want to begin looking through the laundry list of assistant coaches Lovie Smith has fired/fired in the last five years?
- Finally, and this is the bell ringer we'll look at in depth... "The draft, the primary means of bringing new talent to any NFL team, has been accentuated under Angelo." Are hair care products accentuated in Michael Jordan's house?
Since 2002, the Bears have wasted as many, if not more, draft picks than any other organization in football. Here are the first round picks made by the Bears
since 2002, when Angelo took over in the front office:
- 2002: Marc Colombo, T
- 2003 (14): Michael Haynes, DE
- 2003 (22): Rex Grossman, QB
- 2004: Tommie Harris, DT
- 2005: Cedric Benson, RB
- 2006: none
- 2007: Greg Olsen, TE
- 2008: Chris Williams, T
- 2009: none
- 2010: none
- 2011: Gabe Carimi, T
If we wait to judge Williams and Carimi, at least three of these nine picks - Terrell, Colombo and Haynes - were complete busts and meant nothing to the organization. Benson was also a bust in Chicago, but has been decent since leaving for the Bengals. Of course he's got a suspension and legal issues to deal with now. Both Benson and Olsen were either grossly misused by the organization before they left or were completely wrong for the system implemented by the coaches hand-picked by Angelo. And Grossman? Don't get me started.
And the consistent mistakes Angelo has made in the draft have been pathetic. Consider these numbers:
- In 8 of the last 10 drafts, Angelo has selected more than one defensive back. One of them is named Charles Tillman; one of them is named Devin Hester.
- Linebacker has been a position of strength since 2003, when Lance Briggs joined Brian Urlacher as two of the three linebackers the Bears regularly start. Despite only needing one linebacker and depth, the Bears have selected one in six of the last seven drafts. They have also spent money on free agents like Pisa Tinoisamoa.
- The Bears have selected 14 offensive lineman in the last 11 drafts. Seven of those 14 have been in the sixth or seventh round. And yet fans are supposed to think Jay Cutler has a chance to stay on his feet each week.
- Over those same 11 drafts, the Bears have selected 18 defensive linemen. Twice, Angelo has made 12 selections during the draft (2003, 2008). Of those 24 selections, three became long-term players for the Bears (Tillman and Briggs in '03, Forte in '08). Grossman, Chris Williams, Zack Bowman, Kellen Davis and Earl Bennett have contributed.
And I haven't grabbed my soap box to start the weekly sermon about making the same mistakes in free agency. Example: in 2010, Angelo found "the right players" for the Bears in running back Chester Taylor and tight end Brandon Manumaluena. In 2011, he ripped up both of the multi-year deals he handed those guys only 12 months ago (and paid them to go away) while signing running back Marion Barber and tight end Matt Spaeth.
The fact is, Angelo has done a JV job running one of the most prestigious organizations in professional sports. Forbes Magazine had not-so-glowing things to say about the Bears in an article last year, in which they said, "All that managerial ineptitude has a bright side, though: The Bears are the greatest unlocked asset in professional sports, with a potential to be worth $800 million more than they are now."
Just for the sake of comparison, let's look at the man who has been labeled the worst GM in football over the last 15 years: Matt Millen. He ran things in Detroit from 2001 to 2008, and the Lions had the worst record over that span in the history of the NFL. But look at the players Millen selected in the first rounds of his drafts:
- 2001: Jeff Backus, T
- 2002: Joey Harrington, QB
- 2003: Charles Rodgers, WR
- 2004: Roy Williams, WR
- 2005: Mike Williams, WR
- 2006: Ernie Simms, LB
- 2007: Calvin Johnson, WR
- 2008: Gosder Cherilus, T
Including the Bears game on Monday night, Cherilus has started 44 games in a little over three seasons. Johnson is the best receiver on the planet. Say what you will about Roy Williams (and I will), he was a better pick for Detroit than almost every receiver picked by Angelo in Chicago. And Millen's first two picks in 2001, Backus and center Dominic Raiola, have started 310 combined games since. That means three-fifths of an offensive line that dominated the Bears on Monday night was drafted by Millen in the first or second round, and Johnson has nine touchdowns in five games this year.
You can mock the repeated selections at wide receiver all you want, but Millen did a better job drafting for the Lions than Angelo has with the Bears.
There is absolutely no reason the Angelo should still have a job with the Bears. If team president Ted Phillips had the stones to do it, he should fire Angelo now to not only begin the much-needed house cleaning, but also to serve notice to an apathetic coaching staff that nobody is safe at Halas Hall.