Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Oct 2010

Windy City Gridiron Talks With FO

The good folks at Windy City Gridiron, the Chicago Bears blog on the SB Nation Network, were kind enough to ask for an in-depth interview about FO history and the current state of their team. Note: This was interview was conducted before Sunday's Seahawks-Bears game.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 18 Oct 2010

7 comments, Last at 19 Oct 2010, 6:17pm by Dan


by Theo :: Mon, 10/18/2010 - 8:13pm

"1- Can you tell us about the beginnings of Football Outsiders... the origins of the website, how it came to be, a little about the history?"
Also the start, beginnings, the first days, the growing pains, some early developments and the development of the site?

by tuluse :: Mon, 10/18/2010 - 9:19pm

Kind of a disappointing article.

Calling out Angelo for not drafting linemen is the right move, but are you sure the Bears are bad at scouting linemen?

The only two linemen Angelo has taken in the first round are starting this year (Mark Columbo and Chris Williams). The only other picks they've used on linemen higher than the 6th round were Terrance Metcalf and Josh Beekman. Both of whom provided value.

Most of his veteran pickups have worked out pretty well. John Tait and Ruben Brown were great, Fred Miller was capable. They've only missed badly on Omiyale. Who seems to have the right physical traits.

by Eddo :: Mon, 10/18/2010 - 11:02pm

And Pace, but your point is pretty good, tuluse.

It seems to me that Angelo hasn't really had any great options. He took Williams in the first round, and drafted some in lower rounds. Unless the contention (not yours) is that they should have NOT traded for Cutler, instead using picks on lineman. But then they'd still be in desperately-need-a-QB-mode (I like Orton, but to think he'd be doing as well in Chicago is incorrect; Denver is the perfect offense for him).

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/19/2010 - 12:33am

Ah yes Pace. I've already begun purging that experiment from my mind.

I think arguing that Angelo has not spent an appropriate amount of draft picks on linemen is fair. Only 3 picks above the 6th round used from 2002 to 2008. Certainly, some offensive linemen could have been better uses of pick than Michael Okwo and Dan Bazuin.

by Dean :: Tue, 10/19/2010 - 10:06am

I think his point isn't so much that the individual players are or are not good players, but rather that the collective whole is less than the sum of the individual parts.

by Eddo :: Tue, 10/19/2010 - 11:17am

I think this is true, also. However, Angelo did bring in Mike Tice, who has the reputation of being a very good line coach, to help with this problem.

by Dan :: Tue, 10/19/2010 - 6:17pm

I think that 2006 is the year to focus on in the history of the Bears' OL. Before that the Bears were hoping for their draft picks to pan out (Colombo, Metcalf), they were bringing in veterans (Ruben Brown, John Tait, Fred Miller) and castoffs (John St. Clair, Roberto Garza), they were trying to make things work. 2006 is the year that the line came together and played really well, and it's also the year that they got complacent.

Their starters in 2006, L to R, were John Tait (31), Ruben Brown (34), Olin Kreutz (29), Roberto Garza (27), and Fred Miller (33), and they missed only 2 games between them. But with a line that old you'd expect a team to be grooming replacements to prepare for the future. They weren't. They went into the 2006 offseason with only backup caliber veterans behind their starters (Metcalf & St. Clair), no youth. From 2006-2008 they added one 4th round G/C Josh Beekman in 2007, one 1st round T Chris Williams in 2008, and that's about it. Just some 6th-7th rounders (or equivalent) who didn't amount to much: Tyler Reed, Aaron Brant, Dan Buenning, Kirk Barton, and Chester Adams.

So when their old line was falling apart in 2008 they weren't ready (especially with the rookie Williams out for the year with his back), and all they could do was struggle to hang on for one more year by cajoling Tait to stick around another season and sticking St. Clair out there as a stopgap LT. In 2009 the last of the old guys left and they traded away their draft for Jay Cutler, but at least made an effort in free agency with Pace, Omiyale, and Shaffer. But trying to fix the line on the fly led to some big mistakes in putting the wrong personnel on the field, leaving zombie Pace at LT for most of the season and forcing Omiyale to learn to play guard while defenders blew by him. This year they're making the opposite mistake by constantly shuffling the line, but they really don't have much to work with. Kreutz, Garza, and Chris Williams are the only linemen who were even on the team before 2009, and Garza's injured and Williams looks bad. Then there's Omiyale, Shaffer, and various 7th rounders or ufa in their first or second season. Yikes.