NFL draft day brings excitement to the football fan in everyone, unless you're a Chicago Bears fan. For those unfortunates, draft day is wondering what busts we're going to take this time, but there is a solution for that.
Former GM Jerry Angelo was ousted mainly for his failure to draft and develop players. The Bears have been known for more busts than the local gentleman's club.
If you read that last line closely, (no, not the one about the busts) I mentioned develop players. That's not the general manager's fault. That one falls squarely on the shoulders of the coaching staff, led by one Lovie Smith.
While the GM and coach are supposed to work together, it's the general manager's job to select the best player for the team. That includes overruling what the coach wants. In Angelo's case, and to his detriment, he caved in to Lovie's whims with the draft selections he made.
Citing Mike Mulligan on the Mully and Hanley Show Wednesday morning on the Score in Chicago, Mulligan said, "He never gave Lovie a player he didn't want."
Mulligan should know since he's covered the Bears for years in Chicago. He also believes the consensus between Lovie and new GM Phil Emery follows the same pattern of drafting what Lovie wants.
That's his first mistake, aside from allowing Lovie in the draft room. The Bears "brain trust" will consist of Emery, Lovie, and area scouts. Emery and the scouts belong—Lovie does not.
If anyone puts all the blame on Angelo for the Bears putrid draft record, they're barking up the wrong tree. He made the selections, but with more than a little help from Smith guiding the way.
He likes athletes with speed. He would rather have a guy with the "measureables" than a football player who wasn't a workout warrior. Give him a smaller guy with speed, and Smith thinks he can coach him up.
We've all seen how that's worked out. Every year the Bears draft a safety, and every year the Bears are still looking for one. That's Lovie's specialty, and he can't coach them up.
The Cover 2 the Bears employ is an easy system to play, but it requires speed to do it well. Though they aren't in that defense all the time, Lovie wants players to fit that system.
It's like last year when the Bears traded Greg Olsen because pass-catching tight ends didn't fit into Mike Martz' offense, so they gave him away.
Everything has to go Lovie's way. He's the golden child and what Lovie wants, Lovie gets.
That has to change. Emery is supposed to be the new boss, and according to rumor, he has the power to make a coaching change after this season if he sees fit.
Having Lovie sitting in the draft room and whispering in Emery's ear when the Bears turn comes up is the last thing any Bears fan should want.
On the radio show, Mulligan said there was talk of the same Lovie interference when he was the defensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams when it came to the draft. That was blamed for the downfall of the defense there.
The pro player personnel part is not known as a strength of his, but the draft is. That's what he was brought in for. Now it's up to him not to let Smith interfere, because we have already seen what a great talent evaluator he is.
If the Bears strike gold in the draft, along with the players the Bears have already secured, they could be in the hunt in the NFC North this year. The defense isn't getting any younger, so now is the time to make their move.
Emery drafts the players and Lovie coaches them up. That's the way it supposed to be.
Now if only Lovie can hold up his end.
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