( Note that as an original, "As I See It" will be in order from 1 to 5, being that all these changes are of equal importance. Some just are more upsetting than others.)
So here is my list of the Top 5 Positions Chicago needs to improve on. Enjoy!
|image courtesy of The Pigskin Doctors|
- Offensive Tackle - Chicago Bears
Due to the untimely exit of the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship, I have now the obligation (self entitled) to critique the 2010-11 roster. You would have had to lived underneath a rock for the last 18 weeks to not know the biggest glaring flaw in the Bears roster. Offensive tackle. There are many stats you could look at that directly link the line to poor production and injuries. Starting with 52 sacks in 16 games, leading all other quarterbacks by at least 12 sacks, the concussion of Jay Cutler that lead to the Todd Collins debacle in New York and Carolina where the line allowed 9 sacks in one game.
Mike Tice and Jerry Angelo would be the excrement on top of the hill and Roberto Garza, Chris Williams, Frank Omiyale, and Brandon Manamelaeuma are those in which it rolls downhill upon. To say that with a better echelon of talent on the line, the Bears would have made it to the Super Bowl is a bit absurd, but an interesting enough statement that it must be entertained. Front office officials have tried many ways to upgrade the talent on the line, but to no significant avail. Last year they brought in veteran future Hall of Famer Orlando Pace to bring some experience to the line, but all we got in return was a veteran lineman with Alzheimer's. Deja-vu' Todd Collins.As I See It, the only way to improve this upcoming off-season is through the draft and free agency. By drafting good young talent that can develop and instill a trust factor with Cutler is only beneficial to the continuity of the Bears offense. Jerry Angelo & Co. should try to trade up in the draft for superior talent that can manifest immediately. Also with the impending lockout looming and many front offices unsure of what to do with expiring contracts on marquee players. That could work out to the Bears advantage.Using fear and uncertainty Chicago could quite possibly land the likes of a Nick Mangold purely because teams are afraid to commit to contracts that might not be fully satisfied. Fortunately for the Bears, we will take 2 of 3 years of good play instead of none. To say the least the O-line "IS the weakest link". Goodbye...
2. General Manager - Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs have been in desperate need of alot of things over the past decade, but none more important than the general manager position. Currently held by Jim Hendry, the Cubs have saw both peaks and valleys during Hendry's 9yr tenure. Mostly valleys... Jim Hendry was promoted to Cubs General Manager on July 5, 2002. Since taking over the helm, the Cubs have had mixed results. In 2003, the club came as close to a World Series as any Cubs team since 1945, but after the fall of 2003, the club struggled for several seasons with a worse record in each successive season until the end of 2006.
However, after not renewing manager Dusty Baker's contract, the resignation of long-time team President Andy MacPhail, and the significant increase in player budgets, the Cubs went from last to first in 2007. Through mid-June in 2008, the Cubs had the best record in baseball.Hendry has made some splashes in the market from time to time. He managed the first of several 'remarkable' trades during his tenure. Hendry traded unpopular catcher Todd Hundley to the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielanek. Thought of as a salary swap at the time, Karros and Grudzielanek played major roles in the Cubs playoff success. He would also strike gold again trading Bobby Hill and Jose Hernandez for Pirate third baseman Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, and Randall Simon to shore up the bench.
AP ImageOn the last weekend of the 2003 season, the Cubs clinched the NL Central Division title, their first division title in 14 years. And, as the Cubs entered game 5 of the NLCS with a 3-1 series lead over the Florida Marlins, it appeared that the Cubs were on the verge of their first World Series appearance in 58 years. However, the Cubs dropped three straight and were eliminated from the post-season. Some say it was Bartman, I say it was the Cubs choking. Just a REAL fan's perspective.
After the disappointing end of the 2004 season, Hendry addressed his roster again. He traded disappointing prospect Hee Seop Choi to the Marlins in exchange for Derrek Lee, and later sent catcher Damian Miller to the Oakland Athletics for Michael Barrett. On the free agent market, Hendry signed veterans Todd Walker and Greg Maddux.
That is about as good as it gets for the rest of the 'still being written' story of the one they call "Jim". Since 2003, it has been nothing but overpayment's and rush judgments. After Acquiring Derrick Lee it is very safe to say Jim Hendry has given up more talent than he has spent money on. The short list of players that have been given up for nothing is: Ricky Nolasco, Matt Lawton, Greg Maddux, Todd Hollandsworth, Phil Nevin, Scott Williamson, Todd Walker, and Neifi Perez. His mishandling of contracts is without a doubt what put him in bad graces with the fans of Chicago extending the contracts of Carlos Zambrano, Alphonso Soriano, and Koske Fukudome.
Most notably in recent years is his free agent acquisition of hot-head Milton Bradley. Undoubtedly, the worst move in his entire career with the Cubs; Bradley did not finish an entire season and was a constant distraction to the team.
I am not sure how long it will take to make my beloved Chicago Cubs the "loveable winners", but I do know that while Jim Hendry is GM, we will be on "Year __". I offer no solutions for this one, only problems.
3. Shooting Guard - Chicago Bulls
Bogans, averaging just 3.4 points per game is statistically the worst starting shooting guard in the NBA. His backup, Ronnie Brewer is averaging just over 6 points per game and is statistically better in almost every category; even minutes. With a combined total of over 9 ppg, the guard combo pales in comparison to the talented roster of Derrick Rose (24.6ppg, 8.1 apg), Carlos Boozer (19ppg, 10 rpg), and Luol Deng (17ppg, 6rpg), on a team that has been touted as the youngest, most dangerous team in the East to threaten the NBA Championship. The Chicago Bulls are now in immediate need to find adequate scoring from the position that desires it the most.
Some possibilities to fill the position are:
- Rip Hamilton - Detroit Pistons
- O.J. Mayo - Memphis Grizzlies
- Carmelo Anthony - Denver Nuggets (SG would come from either Denver (J.R. Smith) or third team)
- Stephen Curry - Golden State Warrior
- Courtney Lee - Houston Rockets
- Jason Terry - Dallas Mavericks
The Chicago Bulls are in a great position. Fighting 13 games ahead of Cleveland in the Central Division without having 2 of their best players on the floor. Upgrading the shooting guard position does nothing but improve their chances of going deep into the playoffs and possibly challenging for the NBA Championship. Derrick Rose wont let us down, lets get somebody to help him get it done consistently. Even Micheal Jordan had Scottie Pippen ( Hint, hint, John Paxson...).