Who’s In and Who’s Out: Bears GM Speaks Out

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1 Veteran Leader Stays, The Other Goes:

Standout safety Mike Brown, a difference maker when healthy, looks like he will stay put, as the Bears front office say they will keep him in their defensive backfield, a position that was fragile in ’07, while also issuing out Ruben Brown’s walking papers in another busy day for Chicago.

Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith spoke highly on behalf of the two All-Pro impact players:

“Mike is another part of the core,” Smith said. “Even though he has missed a lot of games, Mike means quite a bit. I’m a big Mike Brown fan. I always have been. Yes, we would definitely like to have Mike back with us.”

“Ruben Brown has meant a lot to our ballclub,” Smith said.

“He did a lot for us, but we’re going to go in a different direction with Ruben. I appreciate everything he has done for us, but we are going in a different direction with our offensive line.”
GM Jerry Angelo had much to say and talked about his plans and changes in strategy, Angelo is not afraid to make bold decisions and tell like it is:

On WR Position/Mark Bradley: “I will speak for the coaches on this because they said it: They were remiss that they didn’t do more [to get Bradley involved last year],” Angelo said. “They put the blame on themselves in that situation more than lack of confidence in Bradley. Mark has talent. If you grade the flashes, you like what you see.”

Let’s face the facts – Mark Bradley is very talented, having all the tools you’d like to see in a WR, and he will get his chance to shine just like Berrian did (’06). As hurt as he has been, I think it’s right to give him the starting role, to prove that he will be a force and key receiver in the passing attack.

Free Agents Leaving: “It’s certainly going to leave some holes, [but] we’ve been in that situation before,” Angelo said of not using the franchise tag. “If things don’t work out, we have a Plan B.”

Bears have around $30 million available in cap room and they will release more players before it’s all said and done – they have lots of options, flexibility, and certainly enough cash to re-sign Berrian, Briggs, and Ayanbadejo if they wanted to. Next to go on the list: Griese, Archuleta, Metcalf, and Manning Jr. Notable names that all may be gone soon and Angelo has decisions to make in this “make-or-break” off-season. A lot can go right or wrong in the next couple of weeks for the Bears based on the moves they make – they have many different ways to go.

Salary Cap Situation: “The thing you have to do is create sobriety in the marketplace,” Angelo said. “Because you have the money doesn’t mean you have to spend the money. You have to put values on players and then you have to stay disciplined to that, or else what you’re going to end up doing is being unable to keep all these players.”

Angelo will not budge (ex. ’07 Training Camp, Briggs fiasco), he will reward his players (ex. Tillman, Vasher, A.Brown), and he’s looking to stay young and give extensions to players outperforming their contracts (ex. Tommie Harris). He will stand next to his promises and keep his word, there’s no way he will let in. He is smart and looking out for the future and placing a high priority on the difference between “needs” and “wants” by seperating the two values. Angelo is in a good position and he knows what he is doing and has been successful with the way he handles “business” by taking care of his players the right way.

No Grey Lines With GM’s Recipie For Success: “If money is the bottom line, I don’t want that player,” Angelo said. “I want guys who want to be here. The numbers we put in front of our players are very good numbers, very fair numbers. Could somebody blow us out of the water [with a better offer]? Certainly they can. But I’m not letting that team rule our thinking. That’s where the sobriety comes in.”

RIGHT on the “money” with that statement! Angelo will overpay neither Berrian, Briggs, nor Ayanbadejo, and I have to applaud that! He emphasizes his plan and is strong in his firm belief of not giving into high demands in terms of big contracts. He has a plan and will not override it. With this being said, maybe he can dish out a bit more to keep Briggs in the Windy City – I wouldn’t expect it and I would be fine letting go of the “selfish” star LB. For Berrian and Ayanbadejo – they are asking for way too much and they are not vital to the Bears winning or as important to the team like some say Briggs is. Personally, I would just focus on bringing back Briggs only.

Angelo Will Not Give In And Handles The Situation Like A Winner: “Then we’ll have to find another player,” Angelo said. “We’ll have to have confidence in ourselves, in our coaches. If you don’t operate that way, you are truly going to be a train wreck. That will never be our approach.”

I Absolutely agree with and LOVE this Approach! This is similiar to what NE and Pittsburgh do and you see all the championships, Super Bowl rings, and success they’ve been having. Angelo is straight-foward, plain and simple, and it’s either “yes” or “no” with him, no in-betweens! He does things the right way and the way he wants to! Berrian, Briggs, and Ayanbadejo are certainly replaceable and Angelo will not play “games” or hand out any “free-passes”. His “road to success” and the way he handles the Chicago Bears is a main reason for the success the team has had the past three to four seasons, not only on the playing field, but in free agency and in the draft. Angelo accomplishes what needs to be done and is helping his team reach out and be its best, now it’s up to the players he has given the coaching staff.
Benson Bust: “He has been hurt four times,” he said. “You have to be mindful of that.”

I agree – he has to be done with and Chicago better get a NEW Starting RB that can be a consistent, productive workhorse, a force everydown that has the speed and vision to make big plays in the running department. The rushing attack is so important and integral to what this team needs/likes to do according to how the team is run and with the defense they have (along with the lack of pass game from the QB), as they manage their offensive game plan, having the run game installed to be their #1 option (high priority for any successful team). For this to happen, Chicago needs a huge improvement on the OL and a vast change in the backfield – that means Benson leaving, while acquiring an answer for the RB woes. You can’t have your RB always hurt when your QB play is inconsistent.

QB Dilemma: “[Grossman] is fine with it,” Angelo said. “Kyle deserves the right to compete at the position. I know this isn’t going to be something dragging out. We will have a pretty good feel [at training camp]. What the tiebreaker is, obviously will be determined by the coaches.”

Let the best man win. Let them compete. Draft a QB in the 2nd/3rd Round. Right now the situation is messy. Cannot rely on either one. There’s got to be improvement/development. Staying Healthy is the KEY – Orton’s got that part down already.

It’s Going to be a Wild, Fun, and Entertaining Off-Season for the Windy City. Embrace yourselves and prepare for it Bears fans – mainly, Mr. Angelo. As there will be lots of moves and decisions to be made that will determine whether or not the Bears can become that elite team and get back to where they were in ’06 – on Top of the NFC!

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