Pyle Ponders

The Patriots are an interesting team. No standout players, just everybody fitting into place and executing well. The basis of New England's success is the fact that their players function as a cohesive unit; something the Bears struggled to do this past season.

New England's coaches and players realize what football is about. While talent is obviously a factor, teamwork and good schemes go a long way toward making average players look better. No one person can take credit for the team's success. Not Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, or the coordinators. It may not be exciting copy, but it's excellent football.

Nobody at Halas Hall seems to have grasped this concept. Everybody is searching for the quick fix, the marquee name to come in and save the franchise. The Patriots get the best out of workmanlike players who are there for the long haul. Sure, they plug in free agents just like everyone else, but they survive with a solid core of players. That's why their team is a dynasty and Chicago is always hovering near the bottom of the NFC North.

The season is over and soon free agency will begin. Already there is talk of adding a receiver or running back in the draft that will bring the Bears big play potential. I have news:there's so much wrong with the Bears that one standout player here or there isn't going to make a bit of difference.

50 starting quarterbacks in 50 years should tell you something. And what if they do get a top receiver? If there's no protection and no skilled quarterback throwing the ball, it isn't going to matter who is waiting downfield.

The only hope is that GM Jerry Angelo and head coach Lovie Smith took a lesson from what the Patriots have been able to accomplish. The value of a unified effort and a well-balanced team can never be overlooked. If the decision makers can relay that message to the team and build from it, then the situation here could begin to turn around.

Mike Pyle played for the Bears from 1961-69, including a Pro Bowl selection following the '63 season.

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