The season wrap-up press conference held by Chicago Bears General Manager Ryan Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy was followed by Chairman George McCaskey holding court at Halas Hall. You can watch the entire press conference embedded below.
But first, here are some worthwhile highlights from McCaskey’s media session.
DEFLECTING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE QB
George McCaskey can be in an awkward spot when speaking with the media with regards to football personnel decisions, because that isn’t his thing. But because he is the chairman of the NFL’s charter franchise, his media availability was naturally peppered with questions regarding quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s future. And while McCaskey’s non-answers and deflections of questions didn’t provide much insight, this snippet is worth noting:
George McCaskey on the Bears backing Mitchell Trubisky: "Bears fans should be relieved that I don't get involved in the football decisions. That's all Ryan [Pace] and Matt [Nagy]. We're confident in them making the right decisions for the Bears going forward."
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) December 31, 2019
Well, that’s certainly one way of deflecting questions about the quarterback.
I’ve had two days to wrap my mind around McCaskey’s words and still struggle to come away with a full grasp of what he meant. Between his deflection of other Trubisky related questions and the answer above, making sense of it all is challenging.
After all, McCaskey does provide a vote of confidence in the team’s GM and head coach to get things back on track after a disappointing season. But responding that he’s not involved in football decisions when asked about Trubisky feels more than a little loaded. And in a way, that makes it feel like a vote of no confidence in the quarterback. Or, at minimum, it’s difficult to read those words and think McCaskey is not – at some fundamental level – disappointed in the quarterback’s development and progress.
But at least the honest assessment from McCaskey is different than generic commentary as a thinly veiled vote of confidence that otherwise could have been lobbed in the general direction of his embattled quarterback. Also, staying out of the football decisions is a good thing.
MCCASKEY’S CHECK-LIST FOR CHANGE
For someone who isn’t a “football guy,” McCaskey sure has some thoughts on how to improve a broken offense and a quarterback who is constantly under fire. Here’s the check list: “We need more production out of the tight end. We need receivers running the correct routes. We need to get the running game going. If we have an established running game, that will help Mitchell a lot at the quarterback position.”
McCaskey isn’t wrong in wanting improvements across the board. But at what point does better quarterback play improve those facets of the game? I suppose that is why McCaskey said fans should be glad he isn’t in charge of football decisions.
HIGHLIGHTING HOW CHANGE COMES ABOUT
Having confidence in your front office and field general is one thing. But how are they supposed to go about making sure change is real and not just lip service? Unlike his Trubisky related comments, McCaskey has a pretty straight-forward idea as to how the Bears bounce back:
“The key is the evaluation process. It’s going to be thorough. It’s going to be forthright. It’s going to be honest. At times it may be painful, but that’s what we need to get better. … We can’t be afraid to point the finger at ourselves.”
Ahhhh, accountability. What a concept!
But McCaskey is correct. If the Bears are to be better in 2020 than they were in 2019, the two guys in charge of running the show need to look in the mirror and give themselves some honest assessment about what went wrong, where it happened, how it can be fixed, and how similar mistakes can be avoided moving forward. It won’t be easy, but nothing worth anything ever is.
SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF THE MATRIARCH
It’s becoming a tradition unlike any other to as George McCaskey about how team owner Virginia McCaskey felt about the season. So here it is:
George McCaskey on Virginia McCaskey’s reaction to the season: “Like all #Bears fans. She’s disappointed.”
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) December 31, 2019
George McCaskey's obligatory annual curtain pull-back on his mom, Virginia's, reaction to the season.
"The hope was there. The Bears were back. And then to take a step back was especially disappointing. And she feels it, like all Bears fans do."
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) December 31, 2019
At least we’re all on the same page, right?
I can’t imagine how awkward it would be to be in a position of power like George, and asked about my mother’s perspective on things as often as he is, but that’s the life of being in those shoes. Surely, Virginia McCaskey was going to be disappointed in a team that had aspirations of winning a Super Bowl on Papa Bear Halas’ Birthday. But it wasn’t meant to be.
McCaskey touched upon much more on Tuesday, which you can watch below: