Showing posts with label Dave Wannstedt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dave Wannstedt. Show all posts

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ex-Bears Quarterback of the Day: Rick Mirer

Twelve years before Jay Cutler, the Bears traded a different first round pick to a different AFC West team to acquire a strong-armed mobile quarterback. The man was to be the 9,787th attempt at finding a savior at the most important position, and he was also supposed to the person who saved Dave Wannstedt's ass. He failed epically at both.

This man, of course, was Rick Mirer.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Killin' Time- People I Hate: Dave Wannstedt

I've decided to take a fish-in-a-barrel approach to today's "People I hate" and go after former head coach of the Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, and University of Pittsburgh Panthers Dave Wannstedt. I say former head coach because he was fired from all three jobs. F*&k you, Dave. If you don't know who Dave Wannstedt is or why he's appearing on this segment of a Bears blog, well, you must be a very small child. While I question why a child is reading this blog, I'll briefly state that Wannstedt was the head coach (and de facto GM, since he was given personnel control by McCaskey when he was hired) of the Bears from 1993-1998, and in that time went 40-56 with just one playoff appearance. The Bears organization, which had been one of the winningest franchises in the NFL from 1984-1992, fell into such a shambles under Wannstedt's control that they averaged 10 losses a year from 1996-2003. The franchise spent most of the Dick Jauron Era (1999-2003) cleaning up the mess from Wannstedt's rampage (although the Jauron Era certainly had its own mistakes to fix) and thus two straight head coaching tenures were absolutely fruitless for Chicago. Today I've decided to kick Wanny while he's down by going after one of his many shortcomings (since going after all of them would take too damn long) and listing the

TOP FIVE HILARIOUSLY AWFUL DAVE WANNSTEDT PERSONNEL DECISIONS:

5. Re-signing Alonzo Spellman (and not Jeff Graham)
Alonzo Spellman was a defensive end from Ohio State who had been the last first round pick of the Ditka regime in 1992. Spellman had largely under-achieved through the first four years of his contract, and entered the last game of the 1995 season with just 19 sacks in 62 career games. Spellman had three sacks in the '95 season finale against the Eagles, and entered the offseason as a potential free agent.

Another free agent that offseason was wide receiver Jeff Graham, who had 150 receptions for 2,245 yards and 8 TDs in two years as a Bear, including a then-franchise record (since eclipsed by Marcus Robinson's lightning-in-a-bottle 1999 season) 1301 yards in 1995.

Given that the Bears are rarely a free-spending team, they were in the position of only re-signing one of the two, and Wannstedt chose to gamble on Spellman, based on a one-game outburst, rather than Graham, a consistent performer.

Graham went on to play until 2001 with the Jets and Chargers (he actually managed 907 yards with the 2000 Chargers despite catching passes from Ryan F*&king Leaf) while the Bears had to run through a motley assortment of receivers in the last few years of the Wannstedt Era.

Spellman, meanwhile, had a respectable 8 sacks in 1996 before the wheels fell off in 1997. Spellman injured his shoulder in 1997 and finished with just two sacks, but even more concerning than his shoulder injury was the fact that he was batshit crazy. In March of 1998 Spellman, angry that his doctor was late to an appointment, decided to yank a phone out of the wall of the office and threatened to kill himself. Spellman also ballooned in weight, began to have drug problems, and was eventually released after he refused to have surgery on his injured shoulder. Nice choice, Dave.

4. John Thierry over Trace Armstrong
One of the reasons that Wannstedt may have decided he needed to re-sign Spellman was the glaring mistake he'd made the year before when he let defensive end Trace Armstrong go after drafting John Thierry. John Thierry was a linebacker at Alcorn State, a I-AA school, that Wannstedt thought he could turn into a defensive end. Wanny compared him to Charles Haley, which was right on since Thierry finished just 67 sacks, 5 Pro Bowls, and 2 All Pro nominations short of Haley's career totals. Even more important was the fact that Thierry's 12.5 sacks in 5 years as a Bear barely exceeded the 11.5 sacks that Trace Armstrong had in 1993 alone. Wanny decided to go with the young Thierry over the proven Armstrong and got burned badly, as Armstrong would go on to play for another decade, with three more seasons of at least 10 sacks (including 16.5 as a 35 year old in 2000) while Thierry never had more than 4 sacks in a season as a Bear.

3. The runningback he didn't draft
Before Wannstedt's first draft with the Bears in 1993 it was obvious that the team needed help on the offense. Neal Anderson, a shifty runningback similar to Matt Forte who could catch passes out of the backfield had been injured for most of the previous seasons and was approaching the dreaded age 30 wall. He was also a poor fit for Wannstedt's offense (based on Jimmy Johnson/Norv Turner's offense in Dallas) which needed a workhorse back. One was available in the 1993 draft in the person of Jerome Bettis, whom you may have heard of. Instead, the Bears drafted Curtis Conway, a one-dimensional receiver from USC who had only played wide receiver for a year in college. While Conway had a long and somewhat above-average NFL career, he was an inconsistent performer who had just two seasons with more than 733 receiving yards during his seven years in Chicago, while Bettis went on to finish his career with the 5th most rushing yards in NFL history. Guh. That's alright, though, because of...

2. The runningbacks he did draft.
During that 1993 season, where the Bears averaged just 14 points per game thanks to a poor season by the aging, injured Anderson (who'd have thunk?) and Conway contributing a mere 19 receptions (Bettis had 1400 yards rushing, but who's counting?) it became apparent that the Bears did need to find a runningback. They tried to get by in 1994 with Lewis Tillman and Tim Worley (both sucked) but were ultimately forced to draft a runningback in 1995. That runningback was Heisman Trophy winner Rashaaan Salaam.

To be fair to Wanny, the Salaam pick seemed to be worth the gamble (there were rumors of drug use and his hands were always questionable) when he set rookie records for the Bears by rushing for 1074 yards and 10 TDs in 1995. However, he also fumbled 9 times, caught just 7 passes (and had numerous drops), and averaged only 3.6 yards per carry. In 1996, Salaam suffered through an injury-plagued season and finished with just 496 yards (3.5 avg), then later admitted to smoking heavy amounts of marijuana while rehabbing and struggled with his rehabilitation and his weight. Salaam went flat-out bust in 1997, rushing for just 112 yards, and was released. That cleared the way for....

Curtis Enis, the #5 overall pick in the 1998 draft. Enis was a guy who had rushed for a ton of yards at Penn State, but had also accepted money from an agent while he was there (among other controversies) and was once described by Joe Paterno as "the biggest con man to ever go through the Penn State program." The Bears, however, bought into the "changed man" act that Enis gave them in pre-draft interviews and chose him over Randy Moss, who they deemed to be a bigger character risk. Enis naturally showed his character by immediately holding out for an outrageous contract, resulting in a showdown that resulted in Enis playing just nine games his rookie year, with only one start. He rushed for just 497 yards that year with no touchdowns (3.7 average), and the Bears managed the same 4-12 record in 1998 with their new runningback bust that they had in 1997 with their old one. Enis went on to rush for just 916 yards in 1999 before new coach Dick Jauron moved him to fullback. He was out of the NFL after just three years, just like his predecessor. At least the Bears didn't have to deal with Randy Moss and all of his damn character issues. And all of those damn touchdowns. Bullet. Dodged.

1. Trading for Rick Mirer
It's hard to really explain to people who weren't there at the time, or who don't really remember Rick Mirer, everything that is wrong with the Bears decision to trade for him. To begin with, never before in the history of football has a player with such an incredibly proven track record of awful play been acquired at such a high cost. Even if Mirer had been able to resurrect his career like a Jim Plunkett or a Tommy Maddox or other quarterback busts who moved on, none of them demanded a first round pick as compensation. Hell, even Steve Young didn't merit a first round pick when he was traded from the Bucs to the 49ers. Yet, there was Dave Wannstedt sending away the 11th overall pick in the 1997 for a guy who had a 41-56 TD:INT ratio and a 65.2 QB rating in Seattle.

Perhaps even more frustrating was the fact that Wannstedt had Erik Kramer on the roster, a quarterback who had set every single franchise passing record possible in 1995 and who had passed his physicals and fully recoverd from the neck injury that had ended his 1996 season after just four games. Kramer had a 40-24 TD:INT ratio and an 83.9 rating in his three years as a Bear, numbers that would make any sane human being concede that he was a vastly superior quarterback to Rick Mirer, not to mention the fact that Kramer would be entering his fourth season in the system in 1997 while Mirer, a notoriously slow learner, would be entering his first.

With every logical impulse telling him no, Wannstedt pulled the trigger anyway and sent the 11th pick to Seattle for Mirer in one of the greatest heists in history. Mirer then struggled to learn the offense, Kramer clearly outplayed him in the preseason, and Kramer started while Mirer served as an expensive clipholder. Kramer was benched after an 0-3 start and Mirer was given three chances to prove himself and failed epically, going 0-3 against the Patriots, Cowboys, and Saints while compiling a 37.7 quarterback rating and guiding an offense that was outscored 72-9 under his watch. Kramer was reinserted and had a mediocre 74.0 passer rating (nearly twice as high as Mirer's, though) but managed his second 3,000 yard season in Chicago. Mirer was cut after one year, making him the greatest front office blunder in the history of the organization.

One final reason the Mirer trade still chaps my ass? The Bears biggest need in the draft that year was tight end, and, after trading away the 11th pick, they settled for USC tight end John Allred (30 receptions in 4 years as a Bear) in the second round. Had they decided to go with Kramer as their starter at QB in 1997 and spent their first round pick on a tight end, there was some guy named Tony Gonzalez available who went to Kansas City with the 13th pick. Might have been handy to have that guy around for the last 14 f*&king years.

So in summary, I f*&king hate you, Wanny.

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 Pro-Football-Reference.com 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 Pro-Football-Reference.com 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

OC-Shoop

DC- Blache

QB-McNown/Mirer/Grossman

RB-Enis/Benson/Salaam

FB-Muster

WR-Terrell/Bradley/Wade

TE-Allred

LT-Thomas

LG-Sapp

C- Zawatson

RG- Spears

RT- Colombo

DE-Spellman/Bazuin

DT-Johnson

DT- Haynes

DE-Thierry

SLB-Cox

MLB-Jones

RLB-Okwo

LCB-Williams

RCB-Lincoln

FS-Manning

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?

Friday, August 7, 2009

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

Last year (with great help from the scholars at Hire Jim Essian!) I compiled a list of the worst pitchers and position players developed by the Cubs in my lifetime. This year I've decided to do the same for the Chicago Bears (once more with help from the HJE regulars). So here are the greatest Bears draft busts at every position taken during my lifetime (1988-onward)

Quarterback- As most football fans now, quarterback is where the Bears have struggled greatly to find stability for the last half century (hopefully that problem is now over with Cutler under center), and many draft picks have been wasted on the most important position on the field, the greatest three mistakes make up the team's depth chart-

1st String-Cade McNown. My feelings on McNown are well known. The weak armed, cocksure McNown was drafted out of UCLA with the 12th overall pick in the 1999 draft. The Bears chose to overlook his weak arm and somewhat questionable attitude because they felt that, as a four year starter, he was "NFL ready," and with his decent mobility they believed he could be a Jake Plummer type quarterback for them (why they thought that was a good thing I'll never know). Instead what they got was the single most despicable player in Bears history, one who alienated fans, teammates, coaches, and the media. He blamed his receivers' fatigue when he over threw them on deep routes. He blamed the offensive line when he failed to call the right protection. He told the fans to stay home if they wanted to boo him. He was, without a doubt, the worst Bears quarterback of many, and that's why he's right here at number one.


2nd String- Rick Mirer. While not a draft choice of the Bears, Mirer makes into onto this list because of the 1997 first round pick that the Bears traded to Seattle in order to obtain him. Why the Wannstedt Brain Trust ever decided that Mirer had what it took to be an NFL starter after having over 1500 passes worth of evidence to the contrary I'll never know. Mirer arrived in Chicago, failed to learn the offense quickly or push Erik Kramer out of the starting job, and failed miserably after being handed the job starting with the fourth game of the season. Mirer went 0-3 in 3 starts with a 37.7 rating, 0 tds, and 6 ints. The Bears were outscored 78-23 with Rick at the helm.


3rd String- Rex Grossman. This one sucks to put here, because I still, after everything, like Rex Grossman. I've never seen a player so brutally attacked by fans and hte media for so long and never lash out or break down. When he was on he was the best we've ever seen under center. When he was off, which sadly became the norm towards the end, he was absolutely brutal. I wish him luck in Houston, but there's no denying that at the end he was a bust.

Runningback- The Bears have a great history of runningbacks. Red Grange, Bronco Nagurski, Rick Casares, Gale Sayers, Walter Payton, Neal Anderson, and even Thomas Jones were all either solid or spectacular players. Anthony Thomas provided some quality yardage during the Jauron years. Matt Forte looks to be the real deal. But all of that greatness doesn't excuse three colossal busts at halfback-

1st string- Curtis Enis. A former Parade All American, Ohio Mr. Football, and two year starter at Penn State (where he rushed for 3,256 yards and 36 tds in roughly 2 1/2 seasons of work), Enis was who the Bears tabbed with the 5th overall pick in the 1998 draft. The Bears had been considering Marshall wide receiver Randy Moss, but decided that his attitude problems made him too much of a risk. The Bears initially tried to trade up in the draft to select either Ryan Leaf or Andre Wadsworth (so no matter which of the three they wound up with, all would have been busts), then refused offers from Jacksonville (which had two first round picks that year), New England (also had two first round picks), and St. Louis to trade down in the round so that they could have a crack at Enis. Enis then held out for a large contract for much of training camp in 1998. Head Coach Dave Wannstedt punished him by keeping him as a back up. Enis was finally given a start in the 9th game of the season, and promptly tore his ACL. He started 12 games in 1999 and rushed for 916 yards, but with a paltry 3.3 ypc average. By 2000 he had been shifted to fullback, and after that year was out of the league despite a comeback attempt with the Browns.

2nd String- Cedric Benson. I think I covered Benson enough the other day.


3rd String- Rashaan Salaam. It's more or less a toss up over whether Benson or Salaam was more disappointing. I give the victory to Benson because he was taken higher in the draft (4th overall vs. 21st), he pissed me off recently, and Salaam's 1995 season (1,074 yds, 10 tds) was actually pretty solid. Salaam, the 1994 Heisman winner, was he 21st pick in the 1995 draft out of Colorado. In Ron Turner's record breaking 1995 offense he was solid as a rookie, even if his fumbling habit (9 in 16 games) was a bit disturbing. After 1995 things went downhill for Salaam. He fumbled even more often, broke his leg, admitted to smoking a great deal of weed during his rehab and never managed to get back on track. He was released after the 1997 season, leading the Bears to draft Curtis Enis. And thus fail led to fail.

Fullback- The blocking back in most pro offenses isn't usually a position taken high in the draft, which usually means fullbacks are unlikely to show up on draft bust lists. However, the Bears did spend a first round pick (the 23rd overall) in 1988 on fullback Brad Muster.

Brad Muster-Muster was drafted to replace Walter Payton's backfield mate, Matt Suhey. While Muster's career statistics look good, he was often injured and never earned the respect or admiration that had been granted to Suhey. Most felt that he never earned his first round status, as it was likely that the Bears could have used that pick on a different position and still acquired a fullback in a later round. (Special thanks to HJE's Mike D. for the Muster description, as I'm a wee bit too young to remember him).



Wide Receiver- The Bears have never really had a standout wide receiver, despite occasional fluke seasons like Marcus Robinson's 1999 (1400 yds, 9 tds) and Marty Booker's solid 2001 and 2002 seasons. So it should be no surprise they've had their fair share of draft day wiffs at wideout.

WR #1- David Terrell. Terrell, a record setting wide receiver for Tom Brady and Drew Henson at Michigan, was the 8th overall pick in the 2001 draft. Terrell failed to pick up the offense, complained about his role in it, often suffered a case of the dropsies, and started just 14 games in his first three seasons for the Bears. In 2004 he had his first 100 yard receiving game in the season opener, then disappeared after the injury to Rex Grossman. He drew several penalties throughout the course of the season and quickly made his way onto Lovie Smith's shit list. He was released after the '04 season, spent on year with the Broncos, and has failed to catch on anywhere else since (including an attempt to make the Chiefs just last week).

WR #2- Mark Bradley. The man drafted in the 2nd round to replace Terrell started 4 games in his rookie season of 2005 before tearing his ACL. In his absence Bernard Berrian stole his job, and Bradley never started another game in 2006 or 2007. He too wound up on Lovie Smith's shit list for reasons unexplained. He was released in 2008 and now plays for the Chiefs.


Tight End- The Bears had struggled for many decades to replace Mike Ditka's production at tight end before signing Desmond Clark in 2003 and drafting Greg Olsen in 2007. Along the way they wasted a few draft picks on the pass-catching linemen, the most prominent being:

TE- John Allred. The Bears made Allred their first pick (2nd round) in the 1997 draft, making the first two rounds of that draft a complete waste including the pick sent to Seattle for Rick Mirer. The USC product started just 30 games in four seasons for the Bears and never had more than 109 receiving yards or 1 td in any of those years.


Offensive Line- The Bears have spent three first round picks on offensive tackles in my lifetime. Two of them have made this list. The third (Chris Williams) will be the starting right tackle this year. Here's hoping he doesn't supplant either of these two on This team. At guard they've had their fair share of whiffs, although fortunately guard isn't often a 1st round position:

Left Tackle- Stan Thomas. A pick that then head coach Mike Ditka thoroughly opposed, Thomas was the brain child of idiotic former Bears president Michael McCaskey. The 22nd overall pick in the 1991 draft, Thomas started just 7 games his rookie year, zero his second year, and was released by the Bears and washed out of the NFL by year three.


Left Guard- Bob Sapp. A third round pick by Wannstedt in 1997, Sapp was cut by new VP Mark Hatley BEFORE the 1997 season even started, and never appeared in a game in a Chicago Bears uniform. He started one game for the Vikings that year before leaving football in order to become an MMA fighter in Japan known as Bob "The Beast" Sapp. He also made a cameo in the remake of "The Longest Yard."


Center- Dave Zawatson. The Bears have drafted just two centers in my lifetime, one being an unimportant 9th round pick, and the other being Olin Kreutz, so no real busts at this position. Therefore I'm forced to take Dave Zawatson, a guard drafted in the 2nd round of the 1989 draft, and shift him to the middle. Zawatson played in just four games with zero starts his rookie year before being released.

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Right Guard -Marcus Spears. A 2nd round pick in the 1994 draft, Spears failed to crack the starting lineup in any of his three years in Chicago, and only made it into 9 games total, all in his third year. He was released after the '96 season and spent 8 years as a back up in Kansas City and Houston before retiring in 2003.
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Right Tackle- Marc Colombo. The Bears first round pick in 2002 (29th overall), Colombo got off to a promising start his rookie year before shredding his knee in the turf at St. Louis. Colombo then missed all of the 2003 season and most of the '04 season before returning. After appearing in just 9 games (2 starts) for the Bears in 2004 and 2005, Colombo was released and caught on with the Cowboys. He's started every game for Dallas the last three years, making him a contemptible bastard unworthy of his mother's love.

That wraps up the offensive half of the football for this team of failure. The defensive and special teams will be revealed on Monday.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

WHY GOD?!?!

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I HATE YOU, WANNSTACHE!!!! I HATE YOU!!!!