Chicago Bears GM Jerry Angelo: It's Worse Than You Thought

Chicago Bears GM Jerry Angelo: It's Worse Than You Thought

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.

That's pathetic.

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.



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  • no doubt that angelo has been a disaster. one correction though, he didn't draft david terrell, mark hatley did. angelo was hired after the 2001 draft in june. 2002 was angelo's first draft, making colombo his first selection.

  • We get it, you don't like Angelo. Why you don't like him is not clear though. You try to make a point by comparing draft picks under him vs. Detroit's under Millen. That's just DUMB.

    Since Angelo has been here, the Bears have won the Divison 3 times, have played in 6 playoff games going 3-3, and appeared in the Super Bowl once. The Lions during that same time did not win the division and did not make the playoffs once. The didn't have ONE winning season and in fact never even went .500.

    So you base your argument on how many games draft picks start rather than on the success teams's called winning by the way.

    Loser argument.

  • In reply to MichaelW:

    Angelo is a great GM! I think Chicago fans just don't know what they are talking about. Just give him a couple more years and you'll see.

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    In reply to MichaelW:

    NOT TO MENTION the fact that when the Lions had that lesser success, they drafted higher. Angelo's no prince, but you can hardly blame him for drafting Greg Olsen instead of Calvin Johnson WHEN HE HAD THE 31ST PICK NOT THE 2ND dumbazz.

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    yeah---I agree with ALL of this---
    the Bears will NEVER be a great team with Jerry Angelo as GM---Why is it ALL the fans can easily see this and Angelo cannot??
    At the current rate, Jay Culter will NEVER reach his full potential as one of the greatest QB's to ever play the game ( which he DOES have the capability to do)--years of building a great D will be for nought, and wasted without the much needed missing pieces in place to succeed--those pieces, are, of course, an offensive line to protect the quarterback, and a great, sure handed TALL wide receiver--( we could have had Plax---the Bears where his first choice, but of course we "cheaped out" and got Roy Williams, who most likely will be out of the game at years end due to his attitude prob)-
    If I have to hear Angelo say one more year, "we like the guys we have", I promise I will throw up at his feet!---Go Bears!!! (without Jer)

  • Good article! I agree 100% and I think some McCaskey's are posting comments on here that disagree with you. If the Bears are winning it is because of coaching, which is surprising too. Anyway, I think it is awful how Angelo drafts. When he gave up to 1st rounders for Jay, I was not concerned, since he can't seem to draft any worthwhile players in that round. He also drafts some guys too high for their round, like Conte this year. I think Angelo deliberately goes against the experts and picks players he thinks are better and 90% of the time he is wrong. He needs to go! He is holding the Bears back.

  • Ok so you dislike Angelo we get it.

    Unfortunately you have a few errors:

    Terrell was not drafted by Angelo. Why give him a pass on Benson and not Columbo. Marc had a major injury and once healed -- three years -- he had a decent career in Dallas. You like to use the 1st round and ignore later rounds. Granted the Bears have not drafted as well as you (and I) would like but to claim they are the worst team for drafting you fail to look at all of the NFL teams. The Redskins have had poor drafts as well. But staying with the Lions vs Bears comparison you completely ignore that the Lions picks were consistently in the Top 10. Ours were not. Why is that? Humm.

    One second round picks has had some success. There is someone named Devin Hester. Maybe you heard of him. Same goes for Matt Forte. I like him. We traded two mid to late #1s to get Jay Cutler. Ok, so far. Has potential to be a very good deal. Also has potential to be on par with 2 missed #1 picks.

    Misleading Lions vs. Bears comparison
    Could it be because we had a worse draft position because we had better win-loss record? Could it be that we were in the playoffs almost half of the time under Angelo. If Angelo is terrible then the benchmark is you have to make the playoffs over 2/3 of the time and need to be in the Super Bowl (and win it) at least once a decade. If that is your standard then state -- don't imply it. Would I want the Bears to perform better? Sure. Do I want them to make deep runs in the playoffs every year? Sure. But failing that standard does that make one a lousy GM? In your eyes, sure.

    Turnover is high for Bear Coaches
    True. I don't like it either. But how does changing position coaches (or even coordinators) a measure of success? You say you don't like it. I don't either. However, what is the cause and effect of it? Measure it. Compare the Bears coaching staff turnover to other teams. You did not that. So this argument is FAIL.

    Think Angelo is horrible?
    Fine. How about making an Angelo to past Bears GM / Player Personnel Directors comparison? You didn't. Why is that? Could it be that a comparison of previous people in his line of authority would show that he is far better than most. I realize that we have not had a GM since Jerry Vanisi in the mid 80's. But Angelo's record -- whether you include the one year bump of Jaron in 2002 or not is still as good as anyone since the Bears of the 1980's. Who were drafted by Jim Franks for the most part from 1979 to 1983.

    Angelo stinks because ....
    ... he does not win. Only 14 teams have made it to the SB in the past ten years. Three teams multiple times: Indy, Pittsburgh and NE, the latter two being the only multiple winners. Seven teams made it to the SB and lost: Bears, Eagles, Seahawks, Rams, Cards, Panthers and the Raiders.

    Angelo is not horrible. He is not great either. But his track record (ie wins-losses) is above average and his playoff appearances are also above average. So based on your "facts" Angelo is horrible. Based on other measures -- say less subjective -- Angelo is above average to average.

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