Success and Leadership starts from the top.

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by Jimmors, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. Jimmors

    Jimmors The Rhymenoceros Staff Member SuperFan

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    (Warning, long read ahead)

    After reading about the fiasco in Miami over the Richie Incognito mess, one thing became abundantly clear: the Dolphins are suffering from a serious lack of leadership, both in their organization, and in the locker room. This fact has made me think about the Bears, and it is comforting to know that we do not suffer this problem. In fact, the Bears' success on the field is due to the choices of the Front Office, from the top, to the bottom, down to the players themselves.

    If there is anything to be said about the NFL, it is that it is a league of parity, more so then any other pro league in the US. "Any Given Sunday" is a mantra that is completely valid for just about every team, and the wealth of talent is fairly evenly distributed amongst the league to ensure this maxim. So, if talent is similar among most of the teams, then what makes a successful franchise? What makes some teams perennial playoff teams, and others complete train wrecks?

    Leadership, and successful team management.

    If you start out at the top, we have our Chairman, George McCaskey. The McCaskeys have had some trouble managing this team since Halas passed away, with some minor success here and there, but mostly its been a few flashes of greatness sprinkled between many seasons of mediocrity. I use that word specifically: the Bears have not really "sucked" in the general use of the term, they have managed to put decent seasons (read: above .500) together for the most part, rarely dipping into top 5 drafting positions.

    This era of mediocrity was the direct result of the leadership qualities of Michael McCaskey and his father, Ed, who both Chaired the Bears franchise during the 90s and through the aughts. This resulted in the hiring of GM Jerry Angelo, and coaches Dave Wantstedt and Dick Jauron. When Angelo was brought in, he fired Jauron and sought a new coach. Ironically enough, Nick Saban was on the short list to become our coach in 2001, but wanted the GM powers that Angelo just acquired, so JA settled on his second choice, Lovie Smith, whom he had known from their time in Tampa together under Tony Dungy.

    On the surface, things seemed to make sense: both JA and Lovie had extensive NFL resumés, they were part of one of the most dominant defenses of the past decade (Dungy's Tampa 2 teams), Bears fans love our defense, and we just acquired a new face of the franchise in Brian Urlacher, and we soon drafted what we thought were our franchise QB and RB in Rex Grossman and Cedric Benson. By 2006, we even made a SB appearance for the first time since 85.

    Appearances can be misleading, however. While nobody questions Lovie's leadership ability, (he was both well respected by the Players, and ensured the team had very few problems off the field), McCaskey and Angelo's leadership abilities behind the scene began to show.

    Angelo routinely botched or traded away our first round picks, and while he had an eye for Defensive talent in later rounds (like Tillman and Briggs), his penchant for drafting one year wonders and busts (like Mark Anderson and Tommie Harris), combined with his complete disregard for our offense began to destroy the potential of our team over time. Lovie's problems in the Leadership department began to show when dealing with the Offense, particular the OC position.

    Offensive Coordinators in the Jerry Angelo era read like a horror story off Offensive Failures: John Shoop, Terry Shea, Ron Turner, Mike Martz, Mike Tice. The lack of proper Offense Picks combined with the revolving door of inept OCs displays a total failure of Leadership, from Michael McC, to JA down to Lovie. Nobody questions Lovie's Defensive capabilities, even after Ron Rivera left, our Defense continued to do very well. However, good defense plus poor offense resulted in what the Bears team was: Mediocre. Our Defense often had to carry our Offense, rarely was it the other way around. Between 2001 and 2012, the Bears only won 10 games or more 5 times, only making the playoffs 4 of those times.

    The good stuff is continued in my next post.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
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  2. Jimmors

    Jimmors The Rhymenoceros Staff Member SuperFan

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    I know the story is getting depressing, having to relive the mediocrity of Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith. However, it is necessary to set the stage to compare it to where our team is now.

    In 2011, the Bears announced a new Chairman of the Board: Michael's brother, George McCaskey. Most fans were less then thrilled about yet another McCaskey taking the reigns of the beloved, seeing it as yet another inept nepotism hire dooming us to more mediocrity.

    There was something different about George however.

    George was not interested in running the team in a way his family thought it should be run. He was not interested in running it like the fans thought it should be run. He was not going to try and recapture the glory days of the Bears franchise, no, George decided to try and run this franchise like a successful Franchise SHOULD be run: with smart decisions and personnel moves that put us in the best position to win.

    After being selected as Chair, one of the first things he did was sit down with Rocky Wirtz, the Blackhawks owner, an Bulls/Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, both of which had won Championships and knew how to put together winning franchises.

    One of the first moves George made was to replace our GM, Jerry Angelo in 2012, with Phil Emery, a Bears scout from 1998 to 2004. Phil's job at the time of hiring was the Director of Scouting for the Kansas City Chiefs, you know...the last remaining undefeated team this year, which is mostly comprised of Draft Picks. It is still early in Emery's tenure to accurately judge his drafting ability, but he has made a few outstanding picks so far (AJ, Long, Mills), making the most of what he has, with some picks that were busts (Hardin, late rounders), and a few more where the jury is still out (Bostic, Greene, Shea).

    To have a successful team, you need the right pieces in place, and Emery has done an outstanding job in that department, both in the draft and via Free Agency. He also was responsible for one of the most difficult decisions any GM would have to face: not re-signing the face of your franchise (Urlacher). Even now, it is a very controversial decision, however it shows that the TEAM comes first to Emery, above individual players, and even the fans. Emery is committed to putting together a successful team, and will use whatever means he can to accomplish this, no matter how painful or emotional to us it may seem.

    Which brings us to one of his best decisions yet: Hiring Marc Trestman. Looking at it now, it seems a no brainer: a verified QB Guru in an age where QB play is paramount to the success of NFL teams. However, we must remember how controversial or "Out of the Box" the decision was: a HC with no NFL HC experience, and not having coached in the NFL in almost a decade. However, Trestman's resume is impeccable, having had much success as OC or QB coach wherever he had landed, and two CFL championships as HC.

    Trestman is the antithesis of Lovie Smith: a respected HC, who can orchestrate the Offense much like Lovie did with our Defense. Except now, the Offense is much more important in the NFL, particularly the QB position.

    Which brings us to today. An amazing underdog win over the hated Packers, on their home turf no less. While we are celebrating the individual performances of McCown, Shea, Peppers, Forte, Marshall or AJ, lets not forget how they got here: through the leadership and success of George McCaskey, Phil Emery, and Marc Trestman. NFL truly is a team sport, and success is a measure of the components of each team, including the HC, GMs and Chairmen/Owners. And the Bears have assembled the proper people in these positions for the first time in a very long time, and we are now in position to enjoy continued success on the field. No matter what happens this season, the Chicago Bears will only get better and enjoy more success.

    Thanks for reading.
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  3. shark86x

    shark86x Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    Very well written, very well thought out. Clearly not written by RosenBloomingIdiot.
  4. Jimmors

    Jimmors The Rhymenoceros Staff Member SuperFan

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    Most of the time, i write out stuff with truckloads of stats and figures to back it up, but i figured that it would only distract from my overall point, so i stayed with generalities for the most part. If this was like a research paper, this would be my thesis page. But, perhaps when i have more time, i will go back and include stats and figures to compare the difference between this era and the previous one.

    Point being however: this team is so much different then it has been for the past 20+ years, and it is all due to those trio of guys running the show (George, Phil and Trestman).
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  5. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Something I remember from a long time ago, it was either parcells are Jimmy Johnson, cannot remember which, they said that you only have to worry about a 3rd of the nfl teams, b/c a 3rd will beat themselves in FA and the draft, and a 3rd would not be prepared to play and would beat themselves on the field w/dumb mistakes. Those scream of what you are talking about Jimmors, Draft and FA are all about the right GM, which comes from the right hiring by the owners. Being prepared and limiting stupid mistakes on the field is all about having the correct coaches in place. Regardless of what you think bout any of the coaches on this team, the lack of penalties on either side of this team screams to the preperation given by the coaches. McCown stated he'd never been more prepared for a game then he was last night.

    All of that comes from great leadership from the top down. And that leads itself to the last 3rd of the teams you have to worry about, those teams will be well prepared for FA and the draft, by hiring the correct GM and they will not kill themselves w/bad mistakes on the field which comes from the correct HC. And it appears the Bears finally have the right owner, the right GM and the right HC to put the Bears into that 3rd you have to worry about. And it all comes from great leadership.
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  6. Jimmors

    Jimmors The Rhymenoceros Staff Member SuperFan

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    Yeah, thats one of the reasons our Defensive struggles are so damned baffling to me. Tucker has pretty much all of the pieces in place from last year, minus Urlacher and Izzy (and Melton soon after), yet we have gone from a top 5 to a bottom 5 defense. I know it starts with our DL, they havent been getting pressure, our D has been missing tackles all of the time, i just cant understand why they are failing so much. Its easy to blame Tucker since he is the new guy, but im not entirely convinced it is his fault, but it could be. that would be another fault in leadership if that is the case. However, with Emery and Trestman running the show, at least i am confident that the issues WILL be addressed and hopefully fixed. And THAT is where solid leadership from the top comes into play.
  7. Henry Burris

    Henry Burris Head Coach

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    Honestly, Ted Thompson is the man Emery needs to emulate. If we can minimize our need for Free Agents, we'll have a sustainable team.
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  8. Jimmors

    Jimmors The Rhymenoceros Staff Member SuperFan

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    I think Emery is doing one step better then Thompson: using FA to fill in the gaps with SMART pickups, while building the team through the draft. Combining solid vets with good rookies. He brought in Marsh, then drafted AJ. He brought in Slauson and Bushrod, then Drafted Long and Mills. He brought in DJ Williams and James Anderson, then drafted Bostic and Greene.
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  9. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I liked all of your OP but these 4 really stood out to me. It's like a "holistic approach" to winning, rather than focusing on one variable of the equation, at the expense of the others. Now the team just needs to keep building on the solid foundation that has been laid so far. Next year will be better with the defense upgraded. We'll probably see the final, George McCaskey/Emery/Trestman product running at full-power, in 2015. Granted, you never have a true "finished product" if you are always focused on long-term success. But that should be the year that every piece is in place, and the coaches/players/schemes etc will have had time to fully mature into a very special team. And I believe we will have success leading up to that season.
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