Dud of the Week: Jerry Angelo

Well, 'Dud' may not be the most applicable term for the Bears GM. Jerry Angelo has assembled some serious talent in Chicago and put quality depth at almost every position. But it's time to extend head coach Lovie Smith's contract. Not only is his team 7-0, but the Monsters of the Midway look unbeatable at times. What is Angelo waiting for with regard to Smith's extension?

Take it easy, Bears fans. We at Bear Report are not trying to say that general manager Jerry Angelo hasn't done a good job. Quite the contrary, as a matter of fact. Not only are the Bears far and away the best team in the NFC right now, but they are young and talented all across the depth chart.

And let's be honest here. Somebody has to be the Bear Report Dud of the Week whether we like it or not. After Sunday's 41-10 thrashing of the 49ers at Soldier Field, we had to look a little harder to find our dubious winner. When the offense sets franchise records, the defense suffocates once again, and the special teams completely dominate field position, we have to get creative. We can't exactly give it to the peanut vendors.

All that aside, Angelo does have some questions to answer regarding the contract status of head coach Lovie Smith. Currently in the third year of a four-year deal, he is the lowest paid coach in the NFL. This may be his first chance to be the top dog on Sundays, but based on his body of work, Smith has proven that he is a leader of men and knows what it takes to get the job done in this league.

All signs point to Smith getting his extension and a hefty raise, so why exactly is Angelo so slow to pull the trigger? The bye week would have been the perfect time not only to reward last season's NFL Coach of the Year, but it could have helped erase the bad taste in the organization's collective mouth after that ugly win in Arizona.

The Bears are a perfect 7-0 so far in 2006. They are currently the highest scoring team in the league on offense. They also lead the league in scoring defense. The passing game is rejuvenated. The running game is starting to resemble last year's punishing attack. The defensive line is wreaking havoc up front. The linebackers are making plays from sideline to sideline. The secondary isn't giving up big plays and supports the run as well as any unit in football. The special teams completely shut down the opponent's return game. Robbie Gould hasn't missed a kick all season. Brad Maynard is punting as well as ever.

And what about Smith's coaching staff? Defensive coordinator Ron Rivera is a red-hot prospect and almost certain to be a head coach elsewhere next season. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner has turned a pitiful passing team into one of the most potent in the NFL. Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson is helping morph Rex Grossman into an All-Pro before our very eyes. Special teams coach Dave Toub has made stars out of the likes of Brendon Ayanbadejo and Adrian Peterson.

What does Smith have left to prove?

Pull out the McCaskey checkbook, Mr. Angelo. He certainly has earned it. Extending Smith's contract will not only make the head coach look good, it will make the entire Bears organization look good.

It's time to get that man a pen and tell him to sign on the dotted line.

JC


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