Former Bears GM Jerry Angelo held to a theory that there were in fact three true “franchise” positions on a football team: quarterback, running back and pass-rushing defensive lineman, usually an end.

The “franchise” identifier did not refer expressly to the monetary value of the position. It was rather to the fact that those are the three positions capable of dominating a football game, as much as any one player can in the ultimate team sport.

Quarterbacks, obvious. See: Packers, Green Bay/Rodgers, Aaron. Running backs, same. The Bears have an entire indoor practice center named for one of theirs who was effectively the offense for too much of his career.

As for defensive end, the Bears’ results of the past several weeks are proof enough.

Their two victories have come in no small measure because of game-turning plays from defensive ends, critically important at a time when their defensive tackles and linebackers and defensive backs are in and out of the infirmary.

In Green Bay it was the three sacks by Shea McClellin, one taking out Rodgers with a shoulder injury. More than that, the plays ended drives in a game when the rest of the defense was proving unable to stop running back Eddie Lacey too much of the time.