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Monday, August 10, 2009

The Roster of Broken Dreams, Bears Edition- The Defense!

Following the offense on Friday, here are the defensive players for our All Bears Draft Bust Team-

Defensive End- It all starts up front for this defense, with the edge rushers. The great Bears teams of the 1980s, and the two Lovie Smith playoffs teams of 2005 and 2006 were all built around pressure from the front four. The Bears have still had some whopping busts on the line, including our three man rotation at defensive end-

Right Defensive End- Alonzo Spellman. The last first round pick of the Ditka regime was Ohio State sack artist Alonzo Spellman, with the 22nd pick in 1992. Spellman was drafted to replace the aging Richard Dent. Spellman failed to ever even come Close to the numbers Dent put up in his time in Chicago, never registering more than 8.5 sacks in one season (and even in that career year he did much of his damage in just one game, with three sacks against Philadelphia). Spellman would often disappear for stretches at a time, often going months without a sack before reeling off a good game or two. After suffering from injuries and ineffectiveness during the 1997 season, Spellman was released by the Bears. After sitting out the 1998 season, he played three more seasons with the Cowboys and Lions before being released in 2001. Spellman has become known more for his erratic personality and bipolar disorder than his career as a football player, some excerpts (straight from ol' Wikipedia):

"Spellman exhibited erratic behavior during his time with the Bears. The first incident in which this behavior became public was in March 1998, in which Spellman became enraged when a doctor was late for an appointment, pulling a telephone off of a wall and threatening suicide. Complicating matters, Spellman had access to alcohol and a firearm and by this time weighed in the neighborhood of 300 lbs (136 kg). Authorities were called in, and friend and former teammate Mike Singletary helped get Spellman to check into a hospital, but Spellman later wandered out of the hospital.[1]"

"Spellman was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but refused to take medication, instead becoming increasingly reliant on drugs and alcohol. This led to even more erratic behavior and run-ins with the law. These problems, along with his refusal to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his injured shoulder, led to Spellman's release by the Bears."

"Most notably, he had a manic episode on July 23, 2002 in which he disrupted a flight from Cincinnati to Philadelphia. Spellman initially suggested that the flight was going to crash, then became verbally abusive to other passengers and threatened members of the flight crew.[1] The plane was forced to make an emergency landing. Spellman was released, but then destroyed some property at his brother's home and was taken to a psychiatric hospital. He was later arrested on charges of interference with a flight crew.[3] Although doctors confirmed that he had bipolar disorder, Spellman was determined to be legally sane and spent 18 months in federal prison."

"Spellman was arrested again[5] on January 29, 2008 after leading authorities on a pursuit after being involved in an apparent altercation at a Tulsa, Oklahoma convenience store. The chase ended after three of the tires on Spellman's car were deflated by stop sticks and pepper-spray pellets were fired after Spellman refused to get out of the vehicle."

Since leaving the NFL Spellman has played in the Arena Football League and has also participated in Mixed Martial Arts.

Left Defensive End- John Thierry. The man who was intended to be Spellman's long term book end is indeed his companion on this team. With the 11th overall pick in the 1994 Draft, Dave Wannstedt snagged linebacker John Thierry from 1-AA Alcorn State, with the intention of turning him into a defensive end. Wannstedt claimed that Thierry could be "the next Charles Haley." I'm going to link to Charles Haley's numbers here. Click on Thierry's namelink, then on the Haley link. Go ahead and compare the stats. I'll wait. Back yet? Hurts, don't it? Instead of become a pass rushing force with 6 seasons of double digit sacks like Haley, Thierry became a monumental bust, who never cracked the starting lineup for more than 9 games in a season or registered more than 4.0 sacks as a Bear. After finally being chased out of town with his hair-lipped head coach following the 1998 season, Thierry wound up in Cleveland, then Green Bay, where he posted better numbers in both cities than he ever did in Chicago. Asshole.

2nd String- Dan Bazuin. You'll notice, if you click the link, that a search for Dan Bazuin on the all-knowing returns no answers. That's because Bazuin, the Bears 2nd round pick in the 2007 draft out of Central Michigan, never played a single down in the NFL. After registering 33.5 sacks in his highly productive college career, Bazuin injured his knee during his first NFL preseason. When the injury required a second surgery, Bazuin was released by the Bears. After failing to make it as a practice squad member of the Houston Texans, Bazuin was informed by doctors that he'd never be able to play football again, and he promptly retired.

Defensive Tackle- Just as important as the defensive ends, the Bears have had some great success drafting either spectacular or solid defensive tackles in my lifetime, players like Tommie Harris, Chris Zorich, and Jim Flanigan. That doesn't excuse them of a few of the mistakes they've made, however.

Nose Guard- Tank Johnson. Johnson, of course, makes this list more for his off-field than on field activities. Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2004 draft, Johnson was supposed to pair with that year's first round pick, Tommie Harris, and provide the Bears with an unstoppable duo of tackles for years to come. At first Tank's greatest challenge was cracking the starting lineup, which he failed to do consistently until an injury to Tommie Harris in 2006. Then Johnson suffered his series of run ins with the law, culminating in a house arrest that required Johnson to get a special dispensation so that he could participate in the Superbowl in Miami. The full details of Johnson's troubles with the law are compiled here, and it would take up far too much room to copy and paste. If you're not willing to read all that, here's a brief synopsis: he was arrested for illegal firearms, assault, resisting arrest, reckless driving, and driving while intoxicated, his house was searched and found to full of loaded, illegal weapons (there were children in the house), his friend and bodyguard was found in the house and arrested for pot. That same bodyguard then got shot and killed. Then after the 2006 Tank was arrested once more and finally released by the Bears, having played just three seasons for the team. He started just 15 games during that span, and record just 9 sacks. After being cut by the Bears, he spent 2007 and 2008 as a back up with the Cowboys before joining fellow bust Cedric Benson with the Bengals this offseason.

Nose Tackle-Michael Haynes. The other half of the Bear's two picks in the first round of the 2003 draft (Haynes went 14th overall, Grossman went 22nd) also makes this list. Haynes, a defensive end out of Penn State, was a one year wonder who racked up 15 sacks his senior year. After being taken by the Bears he failed to start a single game his rookie year or challenge Alex Brown for playing time. When Lovie Smith brought the Tampa 2 defense with him to Chicago, Haynes found himself a poor fit for the scheme. The Bears moved Haynes to defensive tackle (which is why he occupies this spot on the list), but he still failed to make a significant impact. He was traded to the Saints after the 2005 season after starting just 4 games and registering only 5.5 sacks in three years. The Saints released him after just one game, and he's been out of football since 2007.

Linebacker- At linebacker the Bears have hit on some great picks over the last few decades, from Rosevelt Colvin and Warrick Holdman to Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. But they've made their fair share of mistakes at this position, and the defenses throughout much of the 1990s suffered because of two of three picks that make this team.

SLB- Ron Cox. A 2nd round pick in the 1990 draft, Cox spend 5 of his 7 seasons in Chicago in a reserve role, and never started more than 13 games in a season, made more than 56 tackles, had more than 3 sacks, and recorded only 1 career interception.

MLB- Dante Jones. The Bears second round pick in the 1988 draft, Jones spent his first five seasons riding the bench behind Hall of Famer Mike Singletary. Jones stepped finally stepped into the starting spot in 1993, and had a monster season, with 189 tackles, 4 interceptions, and a sack. Too bad he was a one year wonder and dropped to just 61 tackles with no sacks or interceptions before being benched in 1994. He was released after that season.

WLB-Michael Okwo. Much like his fellow 2007 draft pick, Dan Bazuin, a search for Dan Bazuin returns no results, because Okwo has also never played a single NFL down. The '07 third round pick from Stanford was also injured during his first preseason, required multiple surgeries, and was cut by the Bears before the 2008 season. He's currently a free agent.

Corner- The Bears have only drafted two first round corners since 1988 (Donnell Woolford and Walt Harris), and while neither one was spectacular, both were quality players, so there haven't been any Major draft whiffs at this position in my lifetime. They've even gotten good value from the corners they've drafted in the 2nd round in that time (Tillman and Hester, although Hester has obviously made his mark somewhere Other than corner). So that makes the two "busts" at this position merely two mediocre players-

LCB- Roosevelt Williams. A third round pick out of Tuskegee in 2002, Williams played in just 13 games (2 starts) for the Bears in 2002 with 9 tackles, 0 interceptions, and no pass deflections before being released after the 2002 season.

RCB- Jeremy Lincoln. A third round pick out of Tennessee in 1992, Lincoln started for just 2 1/2 seasons and was mostly pedestrian in pass coverage, recording only 5 interceptions in 47 games. He was cut before the 1996 season.

Safety- The Bears have drafted fairly well at the safety position the last two decades, drafting a couple Pro Bowlers (Mark Carrier, Mike Brown) and several guys who were at least of starting quality (Tony Parrish, Mike Green, and Chris Harris). The jury is still out on guys like Kevin Payne, and thus I'm forced to make some tough decisions at safety. Including...

FS- Danieal Manning. Drafted as a free safety out of Abilene Christian in 2006 (2nd round), Manning supplanted the aforementioned Chris Harris as the starter during the 2006 season. He was inconsistent at best (and a poor tackler), and he was moved to corner, then nickel, where's he's been inconsistent at best (and a poor tackler), with just 5 interceptions and 17 pass deflections in 46 career games. This year he's expected to start at free safety again (but play nickelback in passing situations). Hopefully he'll play his way off this list by being more consistent (and learning how to tackle. Did I mention he's a really bad tackler?).

SS- Todd Johnson. A 4th round pick out of Florida in the 2003 draft, Johnson was a prodigious hitter, but a poor fundamental player who missed as many tackles as he made and hasn't recorded a single interception in his 5 year career (3 years in Chicago, 2 in St. Louis). He was cut after the 2006 season.

Special Teams-

Punter- Todd Sauerbrun. You do not draft punters. If you do, don't draft them in the second round. To illustrate my point, in the entire 20 year time span that this covers, there have been only 16 punters drafted in the 4th round or higher. Only One of those was taken as high as the second round, and that was Todd. Apparently deciding the Bears had no greater needs (hint: they did), Dave Wannstedt in all his brilliance decided to spend the 56th overall pick in the 1995 draft on Todd Sauerbrun. It doesn't really matter what Sauerbrun has done with his long career (except that time in 2007 when he kicked it straight to Devin Hester twice and Hester ran it back both times for touchdowns), no punter is worthy of a second round pick. Not even Ray Guy. Nevermind spending it on asshole so selfish that during his time in Carolina he refused to step in as the emergency placekicker for the injured John Kasay unless the Panthers rescinded fines they had slapped on him earlier in the year for being overweight. Sauerbrun definitely belongs.

Kicker- Carlos Huerta. Huerta wasn't technically drafted, as most kickers aren't, but he belongs on here since he was a Bears rookie whom Dave Wannstedt decided was more worthy of the kicking job then veteran Kevin Butler. Huerta promptly missed three of his first seven field goals and was cut midseason in 1996.

Returner- Bobby Wade. Wade, a 5th round pick in 2003, was too low of a pick to make it as a wide receiver (nevertheless, he sucked), but he does make it as a returner. Wade was handed the punt-returner job in 2005 and fumbled a whopping 10 times. He was cut late that season and landed with Titans, then the Vikings, where he was most notable for mouthing off recently over comments Brian Urlacher may have made about Jay Cutler. Bobby is apparently unaware of the famous "don't talk unless you can back it up" aspect of smack-talking, since no one's trembling in fear of his career average 355 yards a year receiving skills.

Coaching Staff-

Head Coach- Dave Wannstedt. Who else did you expect to coach this roster of fail, considering he drafted, acquired (Mirer, Huerta), or re-signed (Spellman) most of it? Hired from the Dallas Cowboys before the 1993 season, Wannstedt refused to take the job unless promised control of personnel. Wannstedt was given control, VP Bill Tobin resigned, and the reign of terror began. After starting 32-32 with playoff appearance in his first four years, the rotting foundation that Wannstedt had built finally collapsed into an 8-24 finish in 1997 and 1998. Wannstedt's final career record in Chicago was a bumbling 40-56. After getting canned by the Bears, Wannstedt took over the Dolphins, where he made a few playoff appearances with the team Jimmy Johnson built before he slowly ground that team into the hell it's been in recently. He resigned in 2004 after starting 1-8, and the Dolphins have yet to recover, going 30-41 since his resignation. Most infuriating is Wannstedt's refusal to accept blame for the failure in Chicago, as he claims that the Mirer trade wasn't solely his idea, and that he had the roster set up for a Superbowl run in 1996 had the Bears not lost Erik Kramer to a neck injury (apparently he just overlooks that the team had started 1-3 With Kramer). Congratulations, Dave. This is where you belong.

Offensive Coordinator- John Shoop. This should be no surprise to anyone, even though Gary Crowton gave a strong argument, since Shoop was possibly the most ridiculed coach in Bears history Other than Wannstedt. Fond of wide receiver screens, dive plays, and three yard outs on 3rd and 10, Shoop managed the most schematically incompetent offense in Bears history. In his three years at the helm the Bears finished 26th, 29th, and 28th in offense. He was booed so vociferously that he was moved from the sidelines to the booth for his own protection. He too, belongs.

Defensive Coordinator- Gregg Blache. Blache, the genius known for uttering his most famous phrase "sacks really aren't important," commanded a Bears defense from 1999-2003 that finished an average of 20th in the league. His defense, built around giant, run stuffing defensive tackles that freed up the linebackers to make plays, worked for just one year, in 2001, a year most Bears fans will admit was a fluke. The only time the defense worked, in 2001, it was because of an absurdly high number of turnovers (37). In its other four years under Blache's tutelage, the Bears defense averaged just 25 turnovers a season, and managed an average rank of 21st in yards allowed and 22nd in points allowed. Blache has somehow managed to maintain a good reputation in the league, and is now the defensive coordinator for the Redskins, where he had to promise free agent Albert Haynesworth that he wouldn't force him to be a fat, gap plugging roadblock in his moronic scheme in order to get him to sign.

So there you have it, folks. We've now completed the entire roster of BearsFAIL, with a quick depth chart of-

HC- Wannstedt


DC- Blache








C- Zawatson

RG- Spears

RT- Colombo



DT- Haynes








SS- Johnson

P- Sauerbrun

K- Huerta

Returner- Wade.

Let me know what you think. Would they go 0-16? 2-14? Could they beat the Lions? Could they beat the University of Indiana?

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