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Bears still have a mess to clean up at Halas Hall

Bears President Ted Phillips talks about firing general manager Jerry Angelo resigning offensive coordinator Mike Martz Tuesday January 3 2012

Bears President Ted Phillips talks about the firing of general manager Jerry Angelo and the resigning of offensive coordinator Mike Martz Tuesday January 3, 2012 at Halas Hall. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 4, 2012 4:35PM



The surprising firing of Jerry Angelo seems to mark a shift in the culture at Halas Hall, but when the dust had settled Tuesday, one fact remained: The Bears still need to get their act together.

Firing Angelo might have been a step in the right direction, but it didn’t erase the dysfunction at Halas Hall. Ted Phillips, who still knows much more about finance than he does about football after 13 years as team president, will be hiring a general manager who won’t be able to hire his own coach.

And Lovie Smith has to hire an offensive coordinator who not only is willing to join a coaching staff that will be on the hot seat to start the 2012 season, but is on the same page as not only Smith, but Jay Cutler and whomever is hired as GM.

It’s not as easy it looks, as the Bears constantly prove. When Smith fired Ron Turner, he hired Mike Martz over the objections of Angelo, insiders say. Angelo stuck him with a backup quarterback in Caleb Hanie who did not fit Martz’s offensive philosophy — which ultimately cost both Angelo and Martz their jobs.

That Martz was not an Angelo guy and Hanie was not a Martz guy tells you all you need to know about how the Bears operate. Their success is really amazing considering how dysfunctional they are. They traded for Jay Cutler, who thrived in an offense with a dynamic receiver (Brandon Marshall), pass-catching tight ends (Tony Scheffler/Daniel Graham) and a stable offensive line (all five starters started every game in Cutler’s 2008 Pro Bowl season). And the Bears put him in an offense without a dynamic receiver, that de-emphasized the tight ends and with a makeshift offensive line that couldn’t stay healthy.

And they’re wondering why the Packers and Lions are pulling away?

Good for the Bears that they realized they have a problem. But when it comes to solving it, they’re like an alcoholic going door-to-door in search of AA. This is an organization that would be bankrupt in any other business but football. And while, as descendants of NFL founding father George Halas, they have the right to shoot fish in a barrel to make a living, it takes more than a birthright to win precious championships.

You need the right people in the right jobs. But it takes the right person in the right job to put the right people in the right jobs. That’s the paradox that defines the Bears right now. Unless they learn quickly, nothing will change until somebody near the top fires himself.



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