Angelo can’t lose focus of quarterback, offense

January 13th, 2009 - 3:51 pm

Fixing the problems on defense were — and remain — a priority for Jerry Angelo this off-season because the defense’s play the past two years has been inexcusable. The Bears have upgraded all three position coaches on defense, and, with Lovie Smith now taking the leading roll in calling the defense, they’ve upgraded the coordinator position as well.

But, as Jerry Angelo said in his season-ending press conference, quarterback should remain a top priority of theirs until the position becomes stabilized. And upgrading the entire offense wherever possible is a necessity.

David Haugh, the Chicago sportswriter I love to hate, is back at it again with his contradictory columns and idiotic ideas.

In a Jan. 6 column titled, “Kurt Warner should be high on Chicago Bears’ shopping list“, Haugh argues that the Bears should pursue Warner, saying:

“There would be no shame in Kyle Orton biding time behind a potential Hall of Fame quarterback such as Warner, who might have two good years left and be relatively affordable with a contract that reflects that.

“Now that it appears Donovan McNabb will be going nowhere this off-season but to a bank in Philadelphia with a new contract, the Bears have to turn their most ambitious thoughts to Warner.”

Yet, on Jan. 12, just six days later, Haugh wrote another column that is titled, “Playoffs proving Jerry Angelo wrong to put QB at top of Bears’ priority list“. In this article, Haugh writes:

“Competing for a conference title doesn’t have to be all about the quarterback, as Angelo announced when he shared his priority list two weeks ago at Halas Hall.

“Sure, Warner looks to have recaptured his youth, but the Cardinals became viable Super Bowl contenders only when their defense figured out how to stop the run.”

Not only did Haugh’s second column contradict his previous column written just 6 days ago, he also contradicted the idea that the Bears’ pursuit of a better quarterback should not be their top priority when he writes this:

“The pursuit of a quarterback certainly makes for a more compelling off-season for the rest of us in Chicago… Even if it’s a matter of misplaced priorities, it’s fun. No possibility can be eliminated, which makes any pie-in-the-sky scenario involving Warner worth keeping alive.”

What? This passage came just a few paragraphs after he said quarterback should not be the top priority. You can’t go after a hot commodity like Warner without it being a top priority.

Well, which one is it, Davey? Should the Bears pursue Warner as you had originally suggested — which would require it being a top priority considering the heavy interest Warner will draw from teams around the league? Or, should the Bears ignore the position and focus on defense while allowing Kyle Orton — a guy whom you foolishly said the Bears should sign to an extension during the middle of the season only to watch his production drop off dramatically — to keep his job as the undisputed starter?

In politics, what you did is called flip-flopping.

On The Boers and Bernstein Show on WSCR 670 The Score, that’s called “Who you crappin’?”

And on BearsBeat.com, that’s called idiotic.

Typically, I don’t agree with either one of Haugh’s assessments. Contrary to Haugh’s second column, I agree with Jerry Angelo that fixing the quarterback position is, and will remain the top priority for the Bears until the position is stabilized.

And, contrary to his first column, I do not believe that 52-year-old Kurt Warner would be a good fit in the Bears’ offense with this crop of receivers and an aging offensive line. There are other available options that would make more sense.

When the NFL scouting combine kicks off a week after the Pro Bowl, Angelo and his scouting department should be concentrating on all quarterbacks present. And when free agency begins a week later, their phones should be dialed in to the agents of several veteran quarterbacks. The Bears should enter the 2009 training camp with four quarterbacks on their roster: holdovers Orton and Caleb Hanie as well as a rookie and a veteran free agent.

It’s fitting that we use the example of newly retired head coach Tony Dungy to explain the importance of having a good quarterback.

Would he have retired with the all-time league-high average of 10.7 regular season wins if it weren’t for Peyton Manning?

Probably not.

Would he have held the distinction of being the first, and, so far, only black head coach to win a Super Bowl if it weren’t for Manning?

Not likely.

Would the Colts have tied the NFL record for second place with 7 consecutive double-digit-win seasons if not for Manning?

No.

A team can win a few games with a competent quarterback and a solid defense, but their championship aspirations greatly improve with a franchise player at the position.