When you take the time to consider the way this thing transpired from the moment Jerry Angelo was fired in early 2012 up until now, it becomes abundantly clear that dysfunction, rather than synergy, was the name of the game from the very beginning.
Reports surfaced Monday morning that the Chicago Bears had fired general manager Phil Emery, along with head coach Marc Trestman and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer, with the rest of the coaching staff likely to be shown the door as well.
And while I’m not one for schadenfreude — taking joy in the misfortunes of others — I believe the Bears’ brass made the right decision, and they made it in the right way. This time. And what happens next is very, very important.
When Phil Emery was hired to replace Angelo in 2012, a rather queer thing happened: Emery was forced to hang on to then head coach Lovie Smith for a period of one year, after which he had the authority to make a change. After Smith’s team went a fairly respectable 10-6, Emery exercised his option and began searching for a new head coach.
Emery decided that no more were the Chicago Bears going to be a defensive-minded team, they would be an offensive powerhouse, capable of competing with the best in their division: Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. But that never happened. The question, of course, being: why not?
Emery put a lot of stock into the idea that Smith was the reason the offense hadn’t worked. He put a lot of trust in rookie head coach Marc Trestman, believing that he could implement an offensive system capable of winning shootouts with the best in the league. And he put a lot of guaranteed money into Jay Cutler’s pocket, believing he was the one to lead and run said offense come gameday.
On top of all that, Emery himself took control of a defensive rebuild, hiring defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, drafting Shea McClellin, and hitting the free agent market to bring in a star pass rusher in Jared Allen. He failed on all accounts, as the defense declined quickly from being one of the best in the league to being one of the worst.
Emery did some things right, there’s no doubt about that. Alshon Jeffery is proof, and so is Kyle Long. Kyle Fuller may yet prove to be another hit. But about the two biggest decisions he had to make — head coach and quarterback — he missed the mark by quite a bit.
Now, the Chicago Bears are positioning themselves to get it right by cleaning house and starting from scratch, and one thing is clear: if Jay Cutler stays, the Bears do not have the quarterback they need to go score for score with Arron Rodgers. And in order to compete at a high level, they’ll need to fix this historically bad defense in a hurry.
For my money, free agent head coach Rex Ryan gives the Chicago Bears the best shot at doing that.
Ryan is essentially the coaching polar opposite of Marc Trestman, which is probably where much of the appeal comes from with him for most in Chicago who feel the same as me, but considering how miserable the failure was with Terstman and Co., I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing.
One of the biggest failures of Trestman was an inability to get the most out of the players on his roster. Consider where many projected this team heading into the 2014 regular season, based solely on the level of talent that existed. Trestman not only failed to get the best out of them, but they regressed under him.
Ryan would likely go a long way toward solving that. And considering that it is still likely that Jay Cutler stays in Chicago for another couple of seasons (barring a trade), we can now be certain of what the quarterback is and is not. He is not elite, and he is not a guy who makes everyone around him better. But he is still one of the better quarterbacks among that second tier of the NFL.
Knowing that, the focus for this team should be on fixing the defense, so that Cutler does not have to try and carry the team. Again, Rex Ryan gives the Bears the best shot at doing that.
The Bears first task, of course, will be to secure a new GM, and that GM could do worse than to hire a guy who has proven head coaching experience at the highest level; a guy the players will respect and play hard for; a guy who has proven he can run a defense to rival the best in the league; a guy who will not abandon the run; and a guy who will stop trying to make Jay Cutler better, and instead work with what Jay Cutler is.
Subscribe to Chicago Bears Huddle:
Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. Our list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Filed under: Coaches and Management