In the midst of another lost season, Chicago Bears fans call for the firings of general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy. Things won’t change, however, until the real culprit, Ted Phillips, is gone.
The Chicago Bears are in the middle of the worst stretch of head coach Matt Nagy’s tenure. After starting out the season 5-1, they’ve lost five games in a row and are now 5-6. At the start of the losing streak, they were atop the NFC but now find themselves on the outside looking in.
Bears fans are understandingly upset. In the Super Bowl era, their team appeared in just two of them, winning only one. Yes, it was a glorious title, but the team has lived off that title for 35 years. In those 35 years, they’ve had only 14 of them with winning records. This is not good for a franchise that won championships regularly before the Super Bowl and boasts some of the greatest players in the history of the NFL.
The way things are going, the 2020 season looks to be another losing season. The fans are calling for the team to fire Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace. Pace’s record with the Bears isn’t something to write home about. The team’s record in his six seasons is just 39-52. They’ve had three double-digit loss seasons and three last-place finishes. This season looks like those numbers will go up to four.
Who is really to blame for the latest debacle?
Yes, Pace and Nagy deserve some blame for the Bears’ downward spiral. Pace assembled this team. He did a good job of building a tough defense but basically ignored the offense. Additionally, when injuries and the COVID virus hit, he stood pat and didn’t make the moves to add to the roster. Eddie Goldman opted out, Roy Robertson-Harris went down, the offensive line used six different lineups because of injuries and the virus. Pace didn’t make any major moves to bolster the roster after key players went down despite having some good players available to help.
Nagy stubbornly held onto play-calling duties despite having the offense struggle. He also didn’t do much to take advantage of Mitchell Trubisky‘s abilities. Also, while he kept saying he knew how important the running game is to the offense, he failed to involve it more. During this losing streak, he blasted a defensive unit that’s been mostly responsible for his career winning record.
The real culprit in the debacle, though, is team President and CEO Ted Phillips.
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Phillips has been in his position since 1999. As with Pace, his record isn’t a good one. The Bears had only seven seasons with a winning record. That means they’ve had 14 seasons with a losing record, eight of them resulted in last-place finishes. Under his direction, the Bears have a grand total of three playoff victories.
Having the right general manager and coach is important but Phillips is the one who hires the general manager. In addition to Pace, Phillips had Phil Emery (23-25), Jerry Angelo (record of 95-81), and Mark Hatley (19-45). What’s the point of keeping Phillips when he continues to hire the wrong people?
Are the Bears ready to make such a big move by firing Phillips?
In 2014, the Chicago Bears suffered an embarrassing season. There was infighting behind closed doors and on the field. Quarterback Jay Cutler, the supposed leader of the team, quit on the team. Linebacker Lance Briggs admitted to tuning out the coaches during meetings. It was so bad that both Emery and head coach Marc Trestman were sent packing.
This is where the team finds itself. They’ve lost five in a row and suffered an embarrassing loss (again) to the Green Bay Packers. Yes, they won a division in 2018, but that season seems to be an outlier in the midst of all the losing.
Phillips is responsible for that.
George McCaskey, the Bears’ Chairman of the Board, is said to be furious after the loss to the Packers. That could mean that changes could come. Despite the fans’ calls for wholesale firings today, the Bears don’t move that way. The team is deliberate in its moves. If McCaskey wants to do the right thing, however, he must take Phillips out of his role. The McCaskeys love Phillips so they could move him somewhere else, similar to what they did with Michael McCaskey.
The Bears need to find a real football person to run the organization. Let that person make the decision on Pace and Nagy. It’s time for the Chicago Bears to rise to the ranks of the elite like they were decades ago. There are too many fans who never saw the Bears win a title. That has to change and it has to change this offseason.