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Bears’ Ted Phillips: We need to close the talent gap in the NFC North

TedPhillipsAP AP

The Chicago Bears say the decision to fire G.M. Jerry Angelo was simple: They know they’re not the most talented team in the NFC North, and they need to change that.

Bears President & CEO Ted Phillips said at his press conference today that he expects to bring in a General Manager who can build a roster as good as the one that’s been built in Green Bay.

“There’s a lot of factors involved,” Phillips said. “Ultimately, we look at our division and we say, ‘We need to close that talent gap.’ And that’s what we need to do and I think the way to do that right now is a fresh start and a new look at our team.”

Phillips said the new G.M. will have wide leeway to shape the direction of the Bears, but he would not have the authority to fire head coach Lovie Smith.

“The one restriction that will be placed on any candidate will be that Lovie Smith is our head coach for 2012,” Phillips said.

Phillips also said a G.M. candidate who doesn’t think highly of quarterback Jay Cutler would be the wrong fit for this job.

“Our offense goes as far as Jay takes us,” Phillips said. “He’s our franchise quarterback. We love what he brings to the table. And we’re going to do what it takes to make him successful. That’s our goal. . . . I don’t see bringing in a General Manager who doesn’t think that Jay Cutler can lead us to a championship game.”

Although there’s already been some talk in Chicago that Bill and Chris Polian could take over the team, Phillips said any such talk is premature.

“That decision was made before I even heard about Bill Polian’s situation, so that didn’t have any impact,” Phillips said.

Ultimately, Phillips said, the Bears need someone who is going to make them better, and make them better right now.

“Every year is a must-win year,” Phillips said. “We’ve only been in the playoffs once in the last five years and that’s not acceptable, so we’re expecting good things in 2012.”

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63 Responses to “Bears’ Ted Phillips: We need to close the talent gap in the NFC North”
  1. fu7ur3pr00f says: Jan 3, 2012 5:25 PM

    “The one restriction that will be placed on any candidate will be that Lovie Smith is our head coach for 2012,” Phillips said.
    __________________________________

    Good luck trying to convince any decent GM candidate on taking the job. No final decision on the head coach? And the new GM would have to find a way to mesh his personnel philosophy with Lovie’s coaching strategy?

    Just promote Ruskell, and get it over with.

  2. cas5875 says: Jan 3, 2012 5:26 PM

    Hire Matt Millen, Sincerely, The city of Detroit

  3. goodluckking says: Jan 3, 2012 5:26 PM

    The gap is a lot wider than they think, and it’s not just GB they are chasing.

  4. i3addog says: Jan 3, 2012 5:28 PM

    It’s not just the talent in Green Bay, it’s the way they do things that makes them better. From the coaching to the front office, right down to the janitor the Packers have it going on.

  5. packerhq says: Jan 3, 2012 5:29 PM

    First let me say that this really isn’t fair for Bears fans they deserve better.

    Mr. Phillips how they heck can your team”close that talent gap” when your idiot HC changes offensive systems like underwear and your antiqued defensive scheme is well old ?

    Sounds to me like Phillps and Lovie crafted this load of crap to save there butt.

    Hire a decent GM that builds through the draft and make Lovie accountable to that GM… otherwise more sad days ahead Bears faithful … you guys deserve better.

  6. joetoronto says: Jan 3, 2012 5:29 PM

    “The one restriction that will be placed on any candidate will be that Lovie Smith is our head coach for 2012,” Phillips said.

    That’s like saying “Here’s a new car for you but you’re not allowed to drive it.”

    WTF is that?

  7. adderalljack says: Jan 3, 2012 5:30 PM

    Not being funny, but can you really close the gap with Lovie at the helm, along with (insert yes-man here) as the new GM?

  8. skimbell says: Jan 3, 2012 5:30 PM

    “…“Ultimately, we look at our division and we say, ‘We need to close that talent gap.’ And that’s what we need to do…”

    “…Phillips said the new G.M. will have wide leeway to shape the direction of the Bears…”

    From the sound of Phillips, all of these changes are going to be based on the GM’s inability to change anything.

    The Bears ride again…

  9. ndomination says: Jan 3, 2012 5:30 PM

    “We need to close that talent gap.”
    _________________________

    That starts with finding a new quarterback.

  10. alewatcher says: Jan 3, 2012 5:31 PM

    After the train wreck the Polian’s left behind in Indy, why would anyone think they are the answer?

  11. hwatt says: Jan 3, 2012 5:32 PM

    way to throw your roster under the boss, guy. I mean, it’s all true, but still, sucks to have worn the uniform this year if your name isn’t Cutler or you’re not up front on defense

  12. farvefromover says: Jan 3, 2012 5:32 PM

    “We need to close the talent gap”… no sh!t

  13. hwatt says: Jan 3, 2012 5:32 PM

    *under the bus*

  14. dachozen1 says: Jan 3, 2012 5:32 PM

    I’d go after Desean Jackson. He has a tumultuous relationship in Philly and he may respond well if you show interest in him. Pay him and give him a different scenery it may work wonders. You have the nucleus with strong arm qb and versatile rb. That’s considering you all pay him too.

  15. norseyapper says: Jan 3, 2012 5:32 PM

    So Lovie is untouchable, and Cutler is untouchable, and the task is to pull ahead of Green Bay in talent and production. Right…good luck with that.

  16. imsmartyouarenot says: Jan 3, 2012 5:34 PM

    As a Packer fan I actually feel bad for Bears fans (never thought I’d say that)

    “we need to close the talent gap, but a new GM can’t make decisions on the two most important parts of building a team”

    Simply insane.

    Glad no one said that to Ted Thompson, or we would still have Favre and Sherman

  17. packattack1967 says: Jan 3, 2012 5:34 PM

    Lombardi’s giving Halas an elbow right now with a big grin…huh? huh?

  18. tjg25 says: Jan 3, 2012 5:35 PM

    Ted needs to speak to his beloved delusional head coach as he clearly stated they’ve been in the playoffs one out of the last two years. The previous 3 years must not count. He also states that Kellen Davis could be as good as any TE in the league if they just threw to him. Good luck Bears fans.

  19. garyman1 says: Jan 3, 2012 5:35 PM

    Any GM worth anything wouldn’t bite on this….

    He’s basically saying you can’t pick the coach or the quarterback…probably the 2 most important decisions a GM makes.

  20. howiehandles says: Jan 3, 2012 5:36 PM

    “The gap is a lot wider than they think, and it’s not just GB they are chasing.”

    ———

    The difference being, Detroit isn’t as you as you might think. They’re young at the two most important positions. This team was 7-3 before losing their most important players on offense, having beaten some good teams. Things change fast in pro sports.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcwest/post/_/id/43768/2011-nfl-age-ranks-calling-all-graybeards

    And no, on Ruskell. His draft record is worse than Angelo’s.

  21. mvp43 says: Jan 3, 2012 5:36 PM

    Big mistake-

    That GM better have the authority to jettison Lovie if he so chooses. Any GM worth his salt needs to know he has that authority. And since he used Green Bay as an example, both Ted Thompson and Ron Wolf prior to him, fired the head coach to bring in his own guy…….I believe that worked well with Holmgren and McCarthy.

    Just by that one statement, he’s already eliminated a top notch GM.

  22. isuhuskie says: Jan 3, 2012 5:37 PM

    Notice he only said Lovie Smith is the coach in 2012… It would not be unusual for them to ask the GM and live with the current Head Coach for one year. The problem is that this makes hiring an OC a tough job. Who will come if they know the coach could be gone after one year? That’s why they ended up with Martz…

  23. brewcrewfan54 says: Jan 3, 2012 5:37 PM

    As a Packer fan I hate the Bears and enjoy watching them lose. I son’t think Lovie Smith is the problem though. He’s had some good teams and this years team was pretty damn good until Cutler got hurt. I think you upgrade the talent in a few areas, WR especially, and this team isn’t bad.

  24. teal379 says: Jan 3, 2012 5:38 PM

    So you’re tasked with getting better talent but you can’t do anything about the guy you’re entrusting that talent to.

    Not allowed to do anything with Cutler. Look – he may have GREAT upside – but he’s a career 85.4 passer rating. Part of that is due to talent around him but does anyone REALLY think he’s going to jump 20 or more points in PR with a WR or 2?

    There’s a VERY real chance that Cutler just really isn’t a top flight QB. Combine that with not giving Lovie the axe – You’ve guaranteed that no top flight GM candidate will want or take the job. People have said no to the Bears before (OC till Martz said yes).

    It’s thinking like that which keeps the Bears where they are – fair to middlin who make a run once in a great while but aren’t consistently a power team.

    When’s the last time anyone went running after their 2nd string guys ala Flynn?

    Good luck Chicago – but your already hamstringing yourself over nothing. Arrogance in the FO maybe…..

  25. tking63 says: Jan 3, 2012 5:45 PM

    “…“Ultimately, we look at our division and we say, ‘We need to close that talent gap.’ And that’s what we need to do…”

    Well you could start by paying your best Offense player in Matt Forte.

    While your at it how about drafting a few offensive linemen who can, ya know Block.

    Fire Mike Martz..Oh Check

    Find a WR over 5’9 who can catch a pass more then once every 15th game and doesn’t throw up the Texas symbol when he does.

    Lets start there then we will talk some more.

  26. asublimeday says: Jan 3, 2012 5:46 PM

    It’d be amazing to see what cutler could do with real receivers and an offensive line that isn’t offensively bad.

  27. jasncondit says: Jan 3, 2012 5:47 PM

    cas5875 says:
    Jan 3, 2012 5:26 PM
    Hire Matt Millen, Sincerely, The city of Detroit

    ————————————————

    Yes Millen is next. They already took from us:
    1. Rod Marinelli
    2. Mike Martz
    3. Roy Williams via Dallas
    4. Kevin Jones – RB

    So why not Millen?

  28. rysol says: Jan 3, 2012 5:53 PM

    Ted Thompson got rid of Sherman and Favre. That’s how you do it. No one is untouchable, let alone an under-achieving coach and a cry baby qb.

    look on the brightside, Chicago. You should be able to stay ahead of Minnesota for a few seasons. But that philosophy won’t allow you to compete against Green Bay or Detroit.

  29. isuhuskie says: Jan 3, 2012 5:56 PM

    Really? You putting better players around Cutler wouldn’t make him better? 85.4 passing number with Roy Williams, Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett – and not one pass catching TE?

  30. nothimagain says: Jan 3, 2012 6:00 PM

    The Bears best hope on closing the talent gap would be to convince one of the other NFC North teams to make Tim Ruskell its GM.

  31. edavidberg says: Jan 3, 2012 6:02 PM

    You guys have to be kidding me. The team already has a franchise QB and a solid foundation on defense. Lovie Smith can coach. It’s not his fault his GM gave him a crap offensive line, crap WRs, and a crap backup QB. Hell, if Johnny Knox doesn’t fall down on his routes all the time Cutler doesn’t get hurt and the Bears are in the playoffs.

    I guess there are GMs out there that would want a rebuilding process (and with Briggs and Urlacher slowing down that may come sooner than later) but I think a lot of GMs would want to come in here and build around Cutler, Forte, Peppers, Urlacher and Briggs. This team was clearly playing better than the Lions this season–who wouldn’t even be in the playoffs if Cutler had not gotten hurt.
    If you give the GM a long enough contract you will give him enough security to know he can hire a new coach if after next year it doesn’t work out.

  32. addictedtojane says: Jan 3, 2012 6:05 PM

    I feel like it’s a HUGE mistake to go forward thinking that CUTLER is your franchise QB. I’m fine with keeping LOVIE, I think he’s a quality guy, but the new BEARS GM needs to make a splash by getting rid of JAY and trying to trade up in the draft to get a new QB. Just my opinion.

  33. lasher1650 says: Jan 3, 2012 6:05 PM

    Translation: The new GM can come in and do whatever he thinks is necessary to win with the exception highlighting the mistake I made last year in extending the contract of Lovie Smith. Oh yea, he better like the QB I signed off on trading for too.

    Typical Bears.

  34. swensose says: Jan 3, 2012 6:10 PM

    Close the gap in talent? Yeah that would start with signing Forte and firing yourself phillips.

  35. thunderskins007 says: Jan 3, 2012 6:11 PM

    the bears widened that gap by letting go key players and picking up duds through free agency and bad drafting. letting go of olsen was stupid. signing turds like archuleta and roy williams just as stupid. devin hester as a wide receiver is the worst though. that right there should be lovie’s pink slip.

  36. jamezz23 says: Jan 3, 2012 6:13 PM

    Bad news for the bears is that the lions are young and so talented, and the packers will always be good as long as they have Rogers as their qb. Looks like Chicago and Minnesota will be battling it out for the bottom of the north for the next few years at least.

  37. thousandcasts says: Jan 3, 2012 6:14 PM

    As a Lions fan, I’d laugh out loud at the Chicago situation, but–then I take a look at “our” defense and how a bunch of back up players racked up 45 points and then reality sets back in.

    Take away Stafford and Johnson and…I have nothing to laugh about.

  38. tformation says: Jan 3, 2012 6:19 PM

    My gut says that the talk about keeping Lovie is for public consumption. If the Bears don’t perform in 2012, he’s gone no matter who they hire for GM.

    This new QB business.. got someone in mind better than Cutler? Bears get a middle of the pack pick… got a feeling Luck & Griffin will be long gone by then.

    You could have worse QBs to build a team around than Cutler. Get him some WRs who don’t suck & a solid O-Line. That approach certainly hasn’t been tried yet.

  39. davikes says: Jan 3, 2012 6:19 PM

    I wonder if they are going to start closing the talent gap by signing Forte?

  40. Pacific NW Mark says: Jan 3, 2012 6:21 PM

    This is great news for Bears fans, and long overdue.

    As for Lovie, Phillips’ endorsement is just for the year, and it’s hard to see him staying past 2012. This gives the new GM (who has plenty to do anyway) one season to begin laying the groundwork for a new era.

    And though it hurts to say it, the Bears ARE talent deficient. While there are legitimate stars on the Chicago roster – Peppers, Cutler, Forte, Urlacher, Briggs and Tillman all come to mind – the bulk of their first string players might not be first string on another club. And when injuries hit, they are effectively patching a number two with a number two or three.

    The Bears need an effective draft strategy now much more than they need a new head coach.

  41. profootballwalk says: Jan 3, 2012 6:24 PM

    If you put your QB ahead of your General Manager, you’ve got a problem right there. Whose job is it to pick players – the owner? Do you think Cutler will feel entitled now?

  42. mialto says: Jan 3, 2012 6:26 PM

    Well keyword was “2012″…that means the new GM inherits Lovie for 1 year and has to make a playoff appearance. I sure hope the Bears are ready for free agency and the draft. Otherwise this can taste like rebuilding years with an over aging defense anf QB reaching prime.

    Be Smart!!!

  43. brett76 says: Jan 3, 2012 6:42 PM

    So the new GM must be tied to Lovie & Cutler…yet they have no OC…yep sounds like a good job to take.

  44. whybearswhy says: Jan 3, 2012 6:59 PM

    This move only deals with half of the problem. The Bears are run backwards. Sweaty Teddy needs to fire himself and take Lovie with him. Fricken McCaskey’s.

  45. beedubyatoo says: Jan 3, 2012 7:49 PM

    Hell, if Johnny Knox doesn’t fall down on his routes all the time Cutler doesn’t get hurt and the Bears are in the playoffs.

    ——————————-

    That’s not the issue. Hell, Cincy and Denver are in the playoffs. Are those the teams that the Bears want to emulate? The goal is winning the Super Bowl and the Bears won’t do that with the new GM’s hands tied. Another 8-8 year, if they’re lucky, with Lovie at the helm. Clean House, Ted and start with yourself.

  46. commandercornpone says: Jan 3, 2012 7:50 PM

    have posted this stuff before but here goes…

    martz got the lions to 7-9. then marinelli sacked him. and the lions went 0-16. they needed martz’s offense to have a chance that year. and marinelli screwed the pooch.

    marinelli is still the man running the no pass defense – pass defense in chicago. why does he get a free pass?

    on to detroit. up here north of daytwa, i know they have no running game.

    but that is no excuse. for giving up more points this year than last year, when they went 6-10.

    they arent that good. and they are immature, even compared to oakland.

    and they will get shown up again this weekend.

  47. riverhorsey says: Jan 3, 2012 7:53 PM

    he doesn’t have much confidence in his future GM

  48. oxycode30 says: Jan 3, 2012 8:00 PM

    Glad Jerry is gone, not sure about Martz though.
    Not thrilled Cutler – who has tremendous upside, a great ARM and instincts – has to learn a whole new system.
    If Ruskell is promoted, or even retained, it’ll be a negative.
    The biggest remaining problems are Lovie and the McCaskey’s. Sadly we’re stuck with them.

  49. fcs34 says: Jan 3, 2012 8:43 PM

    If we can simply get back to playing Bears football with players that are suited to Soldier field and and an o-line that can block we won’t need Cutler to be Tom Brady. This team already had a culture that was 50 years in the making, it’s time to return to it.

  50. tommytd says: Jan 3, 2012 9:07 PM

    Not getting Forte under contract – would that be a factor?

  51. jutts says: Jan 3, 2012 9:09 PM

    Thank God, my prayers have been answered..

  52. so1ar says: Jan 3, 2012 9:24 PM

    The new Bears GM needs to have Goddell bang on his chest 3 times and yell “DITKA” before every draft pick. Id die a happy man.

  53. 1historian says: Jan 3, 2012 9:35 PM

    “We need to close the talent gap.”

    Ya think?

    We are talking some SERIOUS genius here boys and girls

  54. yevrag3535 says: Jan 3, 2012 9:48 PM

    No kidding! Doesn’t everyone in the league. This guy is a idiot!

  55. popolover says: Jan 3, 2012 10:13 PM

    The Polians are being considered in Chigago according to the Polains. This is TYPICAL Polian workings. That is why Bill only talks to National media so that he can get any thing out there he wants.

    Funny Quote was for Bill only, not Chrisissy. Of a team is looking for talent in the draft, they better look somewhere else casue Chrisissy doesnt know a 2nd round player from a 3 round player from a 4th round player. He is not an evaluator.

    If you want your ENTIRE staff miserable and to be bullied, then go ahead and hire the Polians. However, I can save you a TON of money. Just hire Chris and daddy will be free , cause he can not do it alone.

    I thought my postings would be done for a while…. not when the great OZ has spoken (for anyone new to my post that is Bill Napolian the NFL dictator)

  56. playitfunky says: Jan 3, 2012 10:32 PM

    Bill Polian? You just saw how talented his team is without Manning. Basically the Colts scored Manning, and that made it easy. The fact they had Manning and only made a defense good enough to win it all 1 time says to me Polian is avg at best. Also Cutler is no Manning, Bears fans need to realize that trade isn’t going to work out.

  57. binarybulge says: Jan 4, 2012 12:04 AM

    As a Packer fan, I don’t feel bad for Bears fans. I hope your team rots in third place (or worse) for years to come. Most of you are insufferable jagoffs.

    Over the years, most of the intelligent and mature fans in the North have come from Green Bay and Detroit, and even Minnesota (if you subtract the Favre years, when the bandwagon was out of control). Most of the time competing fans usually show some respect for one another (compared to divisions like the AFC or NFC East). Bears fans, however… they’re the abusive uncle no one wants to invite to the BBQ.

  58. gnarlesbarkley says: Jan 4, 2012 12:53 AM

    Ed McCaskey still pulling the strings…

  59. ray0414 says: Jan 4, 2012 1:20 AM

    cutlers talent isnt a question, its his ATTITUDE. does the guy ever smile? does he ever go out there and have fun? i cant stand cutler cause of that. the guy just seems like an ass. but if they dont resign forte, they wont go anywhere. *lions*

  60. forteallday says: Jan 4, 2012 1:42 AM

    packerhq says:Jan 3, 2012 5:29 PM

    First let me say that this really isn’t fair for Bears fans they deserve better.

    Mr. Phillips how they heck can your team”close that talent gap” when your idiot HC changes offensive systems like underwear and your antiqued defensive scheme is well old ?

    Sounds to me like Phillps and Lovie crafted this load of crap to save there butt.

    Hire a decent GM that builds through the draft and make Lovie accountable to that GM… otherwise more sad days ahead Bears faithful … you guys deserve better.

    wow your not from wisconson at all hows rural life u ignorant neanderthal… lovie needs to change the offensive gameplan cause martz is a mad scientist as advertised. lovie needs to stay in place because yea our defense is old and changing systems at this point in there career would just be a trainwreck so sit back and enjoy your jugernaut offense and stop trolling bears post TROLL

  61. tommytd says: Jan 4, 2012 6:09 AM

    HOW ABOUT CLOSING THE TALENT GAP IN THE FRONT OFFICE!

  62. jimmysee says: Jan 4, 2012 7:33 AM

    I think that Chicago job is a good opportunity.

    The commitment to Lovie is only for one more year.

    It’s a good time in the 2012 draft to find and develop a #2 QB who could be ready in three years or so when Cutler is done.

    Stop signing costly free agents.

    If Bears fans can be patient, the team is well positioned for a renaissance.

    A good GM could lead that.

  63. any23time says: Jan 8, 2012 7:00 PM

    I really dont understand why everyone seems to hate Lovie Smith for. He has done a really good job for along time. People dont seem to realize that if he left is there a better surefire replacement that is going to be better? No. If he left i bet he would be the top coach on the market. So can we please stop hating him.

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