Audibles From the Long Snapper: Bears Edition

| January 6th, 2011

Method to Angelo’s Madness?

Dan Pompei writes an interesting piece in the Trib, analyzing the appropriation of finances over the past year that enabled Jerry Angelo to build an intriguing roster of bona fide stars and workmanlike role players.  
The Bears got more out of players this year because part of their vision was to improve the coaching and make a re-commitment to player development. In the past, it’s possible that some of the young players who contributed this year never would have seen the field. This time, they were given opportunity and better coaching.
That the Bears ended up with is an effective blend of high-priced players and low-priced ones, experienced vets and developing young guys.

I agree with Pompei for the most part but it is impossible to ignore that Angelo’s strategy has left a very talented Chicago Bears team with the worst offensive line remaining in the postseason.  It could mean he is one offseason from building a champion but it currently means he is paying millions of dollars to five guys who block like my grandmother.

Why I Want Access to Game Film
Cutler held the ball for six seconds on one and tight endBrandon Manumaleuna missed a block on one by Charles Woodson. Tackles Frank Omiyale and J’Marcus Webb were late out of their stances for a sack each, something that can be attributed to the crowd noise that was a significant factor. Webb gave up another when he was asked to solo block Clay Matthews on a third-and-18 play, a call the coaches surely wish they had back.

I don’t have anything to add to that.  Just find it very interesting.

PFT’s Mike Florio…Beyond Lost
In an article on Pro Football Talk, Mike Florio cites a Jeff Dickerson story reporting that Lovie Smith & Co. are preparing the Bears to face the Saints in the Divisonal Round.  Florio believes this “means that the Bears believe the Saints will beat the Seahawks – and that the Packers will beat the Eagles.”  Really, Mike?  You couldn’t do the research required to look at the Bears schedule and realize that they’ve already played the other two possible opponents?  You couldn’t draw the conclusion that perhaps they’re preparing for the Saints because they’ve already prepared for the other two this year?  As always, PFT is excellent with news and garbage with analysis.

I select my Bears Regular Season Award Winners on the B-side.

The Tom Waddle Awards

Coach of the Year: Rod Marinelli, Defensive Coordinator
Marinelli turned a defense that seemed content to sit back in soft coverage while good quarterbacks moved the ball at will and reignited some of the ferociousness that marked the best years of Bears defending.  The pass rush is better.  The tackling is better.  The discipline is sound, if spotty of late downfield.  Marinelli has proven why he was given the Lions head coaching job.

MVP: Devin Hester
Also evolving as a wide receiver, Hester’s renaissance as a kickoff return man seemed to reinvigorate his performances on punts as well.  When Hester is a threat – as he’s been since the bye week – the Bears perplex opposing coaching staffs and win the field position battle each week.  I believe simply that he’s the most exciting player in the sport and he clearly inspires his teammates.

Offensive POY: Jay Cutler
261-432 for 3,274 yards.  23 touchdowns.  16 interceptions, which is ten less than a year ago.  All this while enduring 52 sacks behind a shaky-at-best offensive line.  Jay Cutler hasn’t risen to the level of elite NFL quarterback but he certainly took strides in that direction as he showcased his elusiveness and arm strength, leading the most productive Bears offense in years.  Now he enters his first postseason.  Where quarterbacks make their marks.  What will his be?

Defensive POY: Julius Peppers
He made everyone better.  And that is the mark of a superstar player.