If the Mayans were football fans, then they were right on the money when they predicted that the world would end in 2012. They just forgot a minor detail. They meant that there would be no NFL football. At least for golf that is a good thing. But for the millions of people that are willing to skip a days work, mortgage their homes for tickets, and fire people for wearing team ties at work, this is epic.
For Bears fans coming off a NFC Championship high, it's downright confusing. If there isn't any football next season, how can we set our expectations unreasonably high and declare this Jay Cutler's hot seat season prematurely. How can we prepare to criticize the finale of the "Decade of Lovie?" To be honest, NFL and Bears fans alike have no clue what is in store for the next couple of months in the NFL.
Recently, the Bears took out an ad in the local papers assuring the fans and the city that despite the labor disputes, they are working steadfast in preparing for another Super Bowl run in 2011-12 season. This starts with the current focus being on the only thing still recognized under the last CBA. The NFL Rookie Draft. For Bears fans this should be a reason to celebrate. Throughout GM Jerry Angelo's tenure with the Chicago Bears, his mantra has remained the same, get stronger and add depth through the draft. Draft, draft, draft...
Some skeptics would point out that there have been significant hits and misses in Angelo's recent history. Most of which would be the dumping of almost an entire draft class of 2009 and 2007. Angelo has however undoubtedly made some splashes that have contributed significantly to the Bears organization in late rounds. Most notably being Devin Hester, Lance Briggs, and Daneial Manning with picks in the second round or later. That is some pretty big splashes. To the contrary, 35% of Angelos's picks are still on the roster, that's 25 players out of 77 that Angelo has drafted not counting the recently departed Tommie Harris (1st round).
|No More Drama...|
Questions to Jay Cutler's toughness and loyalty surfaced after he was knocked out of the second half with what appeared to be at the time a sprain of a ligament in his leg. It would later discovered that Cutler tried to reenter the game early in the 3rd, but could not apply significant enough pressure to play on competitively. So he sat in the corner with a look of neither disappointment nor dejection. To his defense, he couldn't possibly withstand much more of the punishment he suffered during the regular season carried into the postseason, when issues such as protection should be corrected before entry.
So as we look forward to this season's upcoming NFL Draft, we focus on the O-Line, Wide Reciever, and Secondary positions assuming the roster stays as it stands..
- Mike Tice recently made a trip to the University of Florida to sample the latest crop of O-Linemen. Angelo has typically favored U of F players in the draft, making such picks as Alex Brown, Rex Grossman, and Major Wright to name a few. The current object of his affection is 6'5'', 303lb center Mike Pouncey, the twin brother of Maurkice Pouncey of the Pittsburgh Steelers. With the future of Bear's vet and O-Line staple Olin Kruetz in limbo, Pouncey could potentially fill the void at center left by Kruetz. Roles in all other line spots could be up for grabs depending on what Tice and Co. see in Pouncey in upcoming workouts.
- Some of the other linemen that could be available to Chicago are Marcus Gilbert, a more realistic option to obtain. Gilbert is a natural guard, with the versatility to play tackle or guard. Also on the boards to go is Carl Johnson, who played multiple positions on the O-Line at UF.
So according to the front office officials at Halas Hall, the primary focus during the lockout is to stregthen through the draft. Hopefully players and ownership can come together before the start of the season so we can get a chance to see how the rookies work out. But you can wish in one hand....
More lockout information coming soon....