If you want the positive spin on all this, here goes:
This is what amazes me:
- Marty Hurney spends millions re-signing the "core" from a 2-14 team (2010). While doing so, he ignores needs at some positions and loads the garage at others.
- Marty misses on several high draft picks over the past 5 years: Otah, E. Brown, Clausen, Armanti, McClain, Fua, S. Martin, etc. while explaining that we are "building through the draft"
- Marty ignores key positions and we are forced to play low-end players at them (CB, DT, WR, RG)
- Because Marty overpays for everyone else, we go bargain basement at FS with a special teamer from Baltimore named NAKAMURA. Marty overpays for him.
- Because Marty has not drafted a CB in the first or second (or brought in a good free agent) at CB since 2006 (if you count Richard Marshall), we start JOSH NORMAN, a 4.6 40 guy from Coastal Carolina who talks trash as he gets burned regularly.
- Because we have not drafted a WR above the third round (exculding USC busts Colbert and Jarrett) ever, our #1 WR is 33-year old, 5-9 slot converted to Flanker.
In 2012, We won 7 games. Three games were in the bag and slipped away due to poor decision-making (Atlanta in Atlanta, Chicago, and Tampa Bay in Charlotte). All 3 of these games were lost by exploiting weaknesses Marty Hurney created. This team could have VERY EASILY been 10-6. If we finished 10-6, we would have been talking about how we BLEW games vs. Tampa Bay in Florida, Dallas, and Seattle--and Kansas City. In other words, this team was flirting with a 10 to13-win season. This team that was 2-8 at one point.
The issue was personnel as much as anything. We all wanted to blame Rivera for the loss in Chicago. The reason he played soft? Norman, his starting CB, was too slow to play press coverage. He cannot recover, which would give up the deep ball. They were in a spread formation, which meant help was not available. Rivera had no Gamble to put on Marshall. Cutler had been off, so he hoped the Bears would make a mistake.
I guess what I am saying is this: The problem was the players on the field. Rivera had to make decisions with what he had. It is like a NASCAR driver using salvage parts and the fans expecting a win. Sure Rivera could have been better, but did you see the game Billechick called? He is considered the best coach since Lombardi. He simply has better players. Without Brady, Billechick is on his fourth or fifth job right now.
If we have another draft like we did last year (hats off to marty) and a few players finish maturing and the light comes on (Silatolu, Fua, Adams, Gettis) I see this team being much improved. Rivera is now scared and hungry.
MORE GOOD NEWS: We were winning with players like Kearse (NT), Dockery (CB), Thomas (CB), Byers ©, Austin (RG), and Campbell (S). Did we find some gems? I think we did in all cases.
If Gettlemen addresses needs on the OL, DT, WR, and CB to start with, this team will be dangerous in 2013. Do not underestimate the way they played for RR after the being eliminated during Halloween week.
This is not to say that Rivera did not make mistakes, it is to say, however, that Hurney's ineptitude handcuffed Rivera in a lot of ways. OK, haters, have at me. Tell me about the impending doom of the franchise and how this team sucks because Rivera is an idiot. I just wanted you to look beneath the surface. As a former high school coach, I know that there is a difference between what you need to do and what you can do, based on players.