How does former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo manage to still remain relevant in the city after he was fired from his position two years ago? It’s baffling to think that most people, if anyone at all, would value his opinion on player evaluations and position grading.
You may recall that Angelo was fired back in 2012 after a few years of questionable free agent signings, weak draft classes and unmet expectations. These days, he has been hired as an NFL Insider on 87.7 The Game, an emerging sports talk radio station here in Chicago. Again, someone wants this guy’s opinion on football?
About a month ago, Angelo released a list of where he ranked the starting quarterbacks of the league. He separated them by tiers. Apparently, he isn’t too high on a certain starting Bears quarterback. Jay Cutler is listed in a tier with Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo and Matt Ryan. Tell me if you disagree, but that’s not really that bad of company to be in considering the numbers that Stafford puts up regularly in Detroit throwing to Calvin Johnson and company and how good Ryan can be if his receivers would stay healthy. The main knock on those guys should be that they underachieved on teams that fell short of playoff contention.
The assertion that Cutler lacks poise is understandable and true, but it is laughable coming from the person who turned over boulders to acquire him from the Denver Broncos in 2009. Cutler is the same guy the team got back then — a gunslinger who needs real targets to throw to. At one point, Cutler’s main targets under Angelo consisted of Earl Bennett, Devin Hester and Johnny Knox. None of those three are with the team anymore. Also, don’t let me forget to add that Mike Martz was the offensive coordinator during those years. Now he has a Pro Bowler in Alshon Jeffrey, a Pro Bowler in Brandon Marshall and a big time tight end in Martellus Bennett.
I think many other quarterbacks would be just as uncomfortable in the pocket if they had J’Marcus Webb and Gabe Carimi blocking on their right and left side. Thank you to current Bears general manager Phil Emery for actually evaluating and luring quality free agent and rookie offensive linemen last season. Therefore, I can’t herald Angelo as very credible in his evaluations.
More recently, Angelo has praised the Green Bay Packers for their acquisition of former Bears defensive end Julius Peppers. I too believe that was a good signing for the Packers but only really due to how much they lack a pass rush to complement Clay Matthews. There is really no evidence to support that an aging Peppers will thrive there more than he did with the Bears last season.
This is mostly because Peppers has played the role of defensive end in a 4-3 set for the entirety of his career. Now he’s being asked to convert to a defensive end in the Packers’ 3-4 base set. The name of the position may be the same, but what they are asked to do systematically is fairly different. 3-4 ends are normally asked to eat up more space next to the nose tackle and take on more blocks to allow for the four linebackers to shoot the gaps faster. 4-3 ends are in their domain when on the outside. So, the transition will be very different.
Again, I agree with the basis of Angelo’s argument that Peppers is a positive addition to Green Bay, but I question just how much of an impact he will actually have until we see him take the field in the fall.
All of this seems more like a shot at his old team than praise for the rest of the league. To me, Angelo seems like an ex-girlfriend who can’t quite let go of that relationship. The Bears cut ties two years ago. It’s time to let go and move on. Chicago is married to Phil Emery now.