Window of opportunity

In a time where free agency seems to have eliminated any chance for dynasties the opportunity for a team to win a title is no more than a few years.

According to Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo teams have a shelf life of four or five years. Once a team is established from a cap standpoint and a personnel standpoint then it's a matter of how what the group can accomplish.

After coming off a 13-3 season expectations for the 2002 Bears will be no less than another playoff appearance, but that doesn't guarantee Chicago will find themselves in the postseason next year.

However, Angelo is positive his team is going in the right direction and with a few acquisitions in the off-season should be among the NFC elite.

"Our window is now," Angelo said. "We're a good football team. Our opportunity that we have in front of us we have a healthy cap situation, we have a good young nucleus of good players."

Although, Cinderella teams like Chicago, Pittsburgh, New England and San Francisco all made the playoffs after sub par seasons in 2000 the honeymoon doesn't' last long and these clubs need to improve in order to stay ahead of the rest.

There is a danger how quickly teams can rise and fall from year to year, which might be healthy for the league but dangerous for coaches.

"It's very hard to predict the future now with free agency," Angelo said. "I think in the last six years that was in the AFC or NFC Championship game the final four teams repeated into the final four. The dynamics of our game have changed considerably that's good. It means that anybody can get things going with good planning, a little bit of luck that's healthy.

"What's not healthy is that the expectations are great for everybody and because of it you are seeing more attrition with coaches with players because I feel that the expectations are very unrealistic and puts an inward amount of pressure teams to win right now. That they're doing out of desperateness and not soundness and that's what you have to caution yourself against."

In continuing that line of judgement Angelo said he is no rush to make a decision on the quarterback situation.

"We're going to address the quarterback position. As I said before coming in here he's the most critical piece on your football team," Angelo said. "Is that to say we're going to get a guy we're going to win because of? No, I'm not unrealistic there's just a few of them. But, we have to get somebody that is a good fit and conforms to what we do. Jim Miller did a fine job last year and that's why he's higher on our priority list in the off-season and we want to research, I in particular, what our other options are available."

Angelo mentioned keeping all options open in terms of finding a quarterback via trade, free agency or the draft.

"I'm not ruling out anything," Angelo said. "Whatever is what I feel viable to making us a healthier football team at any position in particular the quarterback position."

Free agency beings on March 1st and all of the Bears unrestricted free agents are expected to test the open market.


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