We all know injuries can derail an NFL season. If the Bears lose Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, Jay Cutler or Lance Briggs for any substantial period of time they’ll certainly see the impact in the Win-Loss column. But injuries are unpredictable and outside of hiring the finest medical staff available in the world they are mostly out of the control of the football organization. What is under the control of an organization, in this case the Chicago Bears, is player selection. They can’t control injuries but they decide which men have the opportunity to get injured.
The 2010 Bears had one major, glaring flaw: offensive line. They were a pretty good offense with quite arguably the worst line in Bears history and certainly the worst line in the league. They improved as the year progressed but as the opponents reached playoff caliber in January they were unable to keep their quarterback off his back with the Super Bowl on the line.
Now they are back. Sort of. On first glance it would appear an offensive line in need of overhaul has not been overhauled. They do have a new center, replacing Olin Kreutz with Chris Spencer. They do have a new right tackle, drafting Wisconsin stud Gabe Carimi. But the new left tackle is the old right tackle – a monster with immense talent called J’Marcus Webb. The guards are the same as the Bears expect huge development from former first-rounder Chris Williams on the left side. And I always say, no one ever writes or talks about Roberto Garza.
There were safe solutions for Jerry Angelo. He could have broken the bank for Matt Light. He could have added Jared Gaither or let Tyson Clabo’s people know he’d double the Falcons offer. He could have added a host of names, most unknown to anyone outside the cities they’ve played in, and made claim that he’d upgraded the most attention-needy unit. (I also have an attention-needy unit. Had to say it.)
But he didn’t go the safe route. He went the development route. He believes Mike Tice when Tice says J’Marcus Webb can play left tackle, CW can develop into a first-rate left guard and Lance Louis is a sleeper across the line. (Brad Biggs reports the starting five, left to right, is currently Webb-Williams-Spencer-Garza-Carimi.) But they are question marks. Is Carimi ready? Can Webb make the transition? Will CW improve? And the answers will determine whether or not the Chicago Bears return to the postseason and find themselves in the title hunt.
They’re in that position for one reason and one reason only: Jerry Angelo. After seven months of consideration, Jerry made the decision that these five men, led by big Mike Tice, give the Bears the chance to win. If he’s wrong, he may and perhaps should pay with his job.