The Chicago Bears Chairman of the Board, George McCaskey, finally spoke on the team’s plan for general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy. He decided to stay the course and retain both men.
Well, things were quiet at Halas Hall for a couple of days after the Chicago Bears lost to the New Orleans Saints. The media and fans waited to hear word on the fates of general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy.
Well, Bears Chairman of the Board George McCaskey finally made an announcement on his decision. In a press conference on Wednesday morning, he confirmed that both Pace and Nagy would return for the 2021 season.
I was impressed with both of them this past season, especially during the six-game losing streak. The fact that our players never gave up is a tribute to the players. It is also indicative of the type of players that Ryan acquires and to the players’ regard for Matt as their head coach.
Like Ted and I, Ryan and Matt, too, have vigorous discussions; in the end, all four of us want what’s best for the Bears. There are no egos, no other agendas. Have mistakes been made? Yes. But I think both Ryan and Matt are learning and growing in their roles.
By also having CEO and President Ted Phillips involved in the press conference, it appears that he’ll continue in his position. There were reports that he’d retire after the season. That looks unlikely now. In his 22 years in that position, the Bears won just three playoff games. Two of those victories came in one playoff run.
McCaskey acknowledges decision probably isn’t popular
Even McCaskey knows that his decision isn’t too popular among the fans. The Bears made the playoffs this season, but only because of the additional team allowed in the tournament. Instead of the normal six teams getting in, this season a seventh team got in. Even then, they needed an Arizona Cardinals loss after a Chicago loss to get in.
After a 12-4 record in 2018, the Bears finished with back-to-back 8-8 seasons. The offense continually struggles against average-to-good defenses. There hasn’t been a good option at quarterback for decades and that hasn’t changed under Pace.
It appears that despite the struggles, there are no consequences.
Phillips said that fans don’t understand that their calls to fire everyone isn’t feasible. Of course, the man whose only success in his term was financial. His only concern is money. Chicago Tribune Bears beat writer Brad Biggs reported that it would cost about $20 million to fire and overhaul everything. The Bears don’t want to do that. Phillips continues to do his job.
What Phillips and McCaskey don’t acknowledge is that having a general manager as a lame duck doesn’t work either. Pace the last year of his contract. Now he has the pressure to win now. He’ll do whatever he can to put a winning team on the field in 2021, possibly disregarding the future of the team. This is a recipe for disaster and we’ve seen franchises fall into years of futility because of it.
Big decisions still have to be made
Whether the fans like it or not, Pace now has the job of improving this roster. The most important decision is what he’ll do at the quarterback position. McCaskey noted in his press conference that the team needed better production from the quarterback in order to succeed. He went in on Mitch Trubisky but it obviously hasn’t worked. Since he got another chance, will he give Trubisky one as well?
In addition, Nagy was known as a quarterback whisperer. He, however, was unable to help Trubisky. Was it because of Trubisky’s deficiencies, or was it because of Nagy’s? Now the team trusts him to be able to get through to the next quarterback?
Pace mishandled the contract negotiations with Allen Robinson. He rewarded other players who played well and entered the final year of their contracts. Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, and Cody Whitehair got their deals got their new contracts as they entered the final year of their previous contracts. Robinson expected the same. Instead, Pace withdrew from negotiations early this season. Now re-signing him looks doubtful. Pace still has the franchise tag, but that is only a one-year deal. Does Robinson trust Pace and Phillips to negotiate a fair long-term deal? We’ll see.
In addition to player decisions, Pace must now also hire a new defensive coordinator. Chuck Pagano, who received a lot of criticism for his handling of the elite defense he inherited from Vic Fangio. Now Pace has to find someone who can handle the stars on the defense and put them in a position so they can succeed.
This is a huge gamble for George McCaskey and the Chicago Bears. If Pace and Nagy fail to get the team back on track (even though McCaskey feels they’re on the right track), it will set the franchise back for years. We’ll have to wait even longer for a playoff win, let alone a playoff run.