Dagan81's Commentary on the Current State of the Bears
I think we can all say that, deep down, heads were going to roll after the Bears tanked the season following the loss of Jay Cutler to a broken thumb. I can recall back in late July sitting in horror as key free agents for whom we should have been in the market to acquire, particularly the offensive linemen, were either re-signed to their teams one by one, or signed with other teams, or worse, we spent money on players who were on their last legs as pros in the league. Thankfully, Jerry Angelo finally paid for his incompetence after years of sabotaging the Bears and blaming others for not winning with the talent with which he had set them up, but now we are left with a far more perplexing question: who will take his place in Halas Hall as the ultimate adjudicator of talent and thereby upgrade this team's key areas of need with more precision and not low-ball the importance of such important details? You see, where Jerry Angelo went wrong was not so much that he refused to spend money, though in certain instances, he did, in fact, do this. No. What cost Angelo his job is his poor evaluation of offensive talent. Consistently, the Bears are in the top half of the NFL in defense, which was where Angelo's strengths lied. However, in recent years, few of his offensive draft picks amounted to anything more than peanuts in the grand scheme of things. The best offensive players he ever drafted were Matt Forte (2nd Round, 2008), Chris Williams (1st Round, 2008, but only now is he getting to where he is proving to be a stable pick at a position that he was NOT drafted to play), and Gabe Carimi (1st Round, 2011). Johnny Knox is a marginal talent at WR, and J'Marcus Webb is, shall we say, worth little-to-nothing in the way of being a serviceable LT.
The man I am going to support for the job as the new GM for the Chicago Bears is Giants front office executive Marc Ross. Ross has spent time with three organizations and, as the glowing remarks his boss and current-Giants GM Jerry Reese made about him go, "is smart," and is "a people person, a talent evaluator, and is qualified." His first job, according to Sean Jenson (http://blogs.suntimes.com/bears/2012..._ross_of_.html), was as a national talent scout for the Buffalo Bills, but in 2000, at the age of 27, he was hired by the Eagles as the youngest director of college scouting in the NFL. His keen eye for talent proved to be prophetic, as several of his scouted players went on to be drafted by the Eagles and have successful careers. Players such as Brian Westbrook, Lito Sheppard, and Derrick Burgess became Eagles at his recommendation, and we all know that the Eagles would dominate the NFC for the better part of a decade during the 2000's.
In 2007, Ross was hired to the same position with the New York Giants by Reese, where he would have arguably greater success than he had in Philadelphia. In his time in New York, Ross scouted and, ultimately, drafted such players as Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham at the WR positions, while also finding a diamond in the rough in yet another WR in Victor Cruz, who went undrafted and caught 82 passes for 1,536 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2011. It's little wonder that Ross knows wide receivers, a position at which the Bears have a dearth of talent: he played WR at Princeton, was named All-Ivy League, and holds five school records. Lastly, he is more than adept at finding good defensive talent as well, as it was on his watch that Jason Pierre-Paul, who was drafted with the 15th pick in the 2010 draft, became a Giant. Pierre-Paul has gone on to become one of the top defensive ends in the NFL, and is a force to be reckoned with along the Giants' defensive line.
The McCaskey/Phillips Connection with John Mara
As true blue bloods of the old line NFL franchises, George McCaskey spent time with his acquaintance John Mara, who is co-owner of the New York Giants. As one would imagine, Mr. McCaskey wanted to get a feel for how a franchise should be run. Mara, who is the third generation owner from a pedigree stretching back to his grandfather, Tim Mara, and very famous dad, Wellington, most likely gave George McCaskey some sound advice at what it takes to be an executive, since he probably was not in consideration to be executive of the Chicago Bears in the 1980s when brother Michael took over the reins of a franchise after his grandfather, team owner, founder, and former head coach George S. Halas, passed away in 1983. Most likely, this advice was taken to heart, because Brother Michael was as incompetent at running the franchise as was Jerry Angelo, perhaps more so. Most likely, George inquired about Ross, about the possibility of him becoming the GM of the Bears should Jerry Angelo falter again.
George McCaskey took away several things from that meeting with Mara. He learned that he had to be bold, to be decisive. There can be no room for indecision in this business, or one and his organization would be left out in the cold. So far, McCaskey has learned well. He fired Jerry Angelo, which was step number one in the right direction. He made the even-bigger decision to retain the services of long-time head coach Lovie Smith, which was also the right thing to do despite the cries of others to the contrary. This next step will be the biggest of all, in that it will determine in what direction this franchise will venture with the signing of a new general manager.
Right now, there are several options out there, with another name that is floating being Les Snead, director of player personnel of the Atlanta Falcons. My reason for supporting Ross is because he helped build two organizations into winners during the decade of the 2000s. In Philadelphia, his scouting and personnel decisions, in concert with former team general manager Tom Heckert, Jr., made the Eagles winners for the entire decade, as they appeared in five NFC Championship Games during the course of the 2000s, while appearing in Super Bowl XXXIX following the 2004 season. In New York, Ross's assistance in decision making led to the Giants winning Super Bowl XLII as well as two other division titles (2008, 2011). His ability to adapt to all situations and succeed with any franchise for whom he is employed is remarkable. His versatility in judging talent, from great defensive players to stellar offensive talent, makes him a natural for a general management position somewhere. With that said, my endorsement is with Marc Ross. For the Bears not to carefully woo him would prove to be foolhardy, as this man is as close to a sure thing as it gets for greatness as a GM.