The Chris Harris Effect

Zack Pearson@Zack_PearsonCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2010

This is just a fun thought.

It’s easy to put the blame on a lot of things or people for this disastrous Chicago Bears season. Is Chris Harris one of them?

You can blame the coaching, the players, or even Jay Cutler. But what if a simple trade that Jerry Angelo made in the 2007 training camp was never made? What if they would have kept this particular player instead of letting him go because the position was “full”? Let’s find out.

The Bears traded safety Chris Harris to the Carolina Panthers during training camp 2007. Angelo said the trade was made because we were too deep at safety. But are you ever really to deep at a position? Especially with a guy that started at safety since his rookie year.

In Harris rookie year of 2005, Harris recorded three interceptions along with 48 tackles and two fumble recovery’s. Not bad for a rookie, huh?

In 2006 Harris was a key member of a defense that was one of the best in the NFL. A high flying defense that shut down opposing teams, and struck fear into opposing teams eyes. With Mike Brown going down after the historic Arizona game, Harris became the primary safety on the defense. He finished with two interceptions and 44 tackles in 11 games.

So what would happen if the Bears didn’t trade Harris and kept him? Let’s go to week two of the 2008 NFL season.

The Chicago Bears are playing the home team Carolina Panthers. Bears leading by 11 in the third quarter, Panthers safety Chris Harris strips tight end Greg Olsen leading to a Jonathon Stewart four yard touchdown to make it 17-13 Bears. A huge momentum swing back to the Panthers who eventually won the game.

See the thing is, Harris led the NFL with eight forced fumbles in 2007, and two in 2008. Pretty good numbers for a safety.

The Bears would eventually miss the playoffs by one game. So if they beat the Panthers instead of Chris Harris the former Bear beating them, they would have finished 10-6 and a wild card birth. Playing the Vikings in the first round.

Who knows if the Bears would have beat the Vikings? Nobody knows to be exact. But with the way the Bears were playing towards the end of the season last year, anything could happen.

That leads me to make next possible point.

Say the Bears do make the playoffs. It doesn’t matter if the Bears win or lose in the playoffs, but does Jerry Angelo make the trade for Jay Cutler? Does he give up the draft picks for a stable quarterback? Or do they stick with Kyle Orton who leads them to the playoffs in 2008?

Maybe the Bears stick with Orton, and then have their first round pick in 2009. Needing an offensive threat, the Bears take…let’s say Percy Harvin?

Harvin is having a pretty good rookie year for a solid Vikings team. He might be producing the same as a Bear with Kyle Orton. And the Bears did need a threat at the wide out spot. Only makes sense they draft him.

So maybe Urlacher is right. Maybe we have changed our identity because of our new quarterback. Are we a better team for the future with Cutler? Yes we are. But would our “identity” stay the same with Kyle Orton? Yes it would.

I’m not saying Cutler is the reason for our woes, I cant blame everything on him. There are numerous reasons why we haven’t performed at the level we should have. But could a trade that happened two years ago effect us this much?

That’s for you to decide.

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