After a 9-7 season many teams will need to make minor adjustments to improve their team, so as to gear up for a playoff and possible Super Bowl run. At 9-7 this year the Bears are in a very difficult position. They have bright spots on both sides of the ball, yet the decision whether to add few vital pieces or gut the entire team is something that faces GM Jerry Angelo.
This decision is one that could decide the next five years for the Bears, as well as Angelo’s future with the team.
With that said the Bears need to take an aggressive approach with this off-season. For many years the philosophy has been to let draft picks develop and see what surprises come their way. This year there needs to be a concerted effort by Bears management to search out the pieces that they need and not waste their time with unpromising young players or old and tireless veterans.
The Bears need to look for play makers such as soon to be free agent T.J. Houshmandzadeh, or even make a trade for Arizona standout Anquan Boldin. Players such as these can make the Bears into a reasonable offense, for once.
Again, as often the case is for the Bears, this is not their only offensive concern. Making sure that Chris Williams is ready to go for the 2009 season will be just as important. Bringing in a young prospect at quarterback, as well as a few prospects at wide receiver will bring a fresh look to the Bears offense.
Defensively the Bears are in a bind. What was once a dominant force in the NFL is now a laughing stock defense. The defense is loaded with veterans who have hefty contracts but show no sign of production in the future. The Bears need to look into trading or releasing overpaid veterans like Adewale Ogunleye, and Brian Urlacher.
Yes, Brian Urlacher. He was once was the leader of this team, and although he is still the “face of the franchise” he too carries a large price tag. However, it’s not just Urlacher’s salary that needs to go, it’s his inability to rally a team and be the leader. As a seasoned veteran Urlacher has proved to be a poor leader as well as a player whose production is on the downfall.
If the Bears get rid of players like Urlacher and Ogunleye it will show that they are ready to make a change and become aggressive in this coming offseason. Letting them stay on would show us that the Bears still believe something about this team says Super Bowl contender. I find this hard to believe.
The Bears are far from the form they were in as a Super Bowl participant in 2005. Although the offense may be less mistake-prone, the defense is on the verge of a complete tear-down. Solid and consistent play was lacking from the team the entire season.
With a big name wide receiver picked up via trade or free agency and young prospects added in the secondary and on the offensive line the Bears should be poised for a progressive future. If it is Angelo’s decision to stick it out with the pieces he currently has then the Bears will have thrown away the next few years.
A potential solid record with these players next year may mean sacrificing the next five. The Bears need to let go of what was their old Super Bowl team and move in a different direction.