Evaluating football in 2020 is more difficult than ever.
No traditional offseason training program to provide a proper ramp-up for the year. A condensed training camp hosted in team facilities with a number of restrictions. An August without preseason games for which to judge starters, depth pieces, and players on the fringe.
And yet, Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey still has championship aspirations for his club.
“The goal every year is to win the Super Bowl,” Chairman George McCaskey said in his recent Zoom press conference. “Two years ago, we made a great run and fell short. Last year, we regressed. We need to find out which team it is. Is it the team that took the NFL by storm two years ago … or is it the team that fell back last year?”
So how does one evaluate the GM in these trying times? Mc Caskey shared some quotes that caught my attention:
• “Part of the evaluation is seeing how he responds in his role as general manager to the challenge. I’ve been very impressed in what I’ve seen so far, and we expect that top-level performance to continue through the season.
• “With that particular position, it’s one of leadership, primarily. He’s in charge of the entire football operation, so that’s a factor. Winning, of course, is part of the assessment. And then his personnel; his supervision of the personnel department, scouting department.”
• “I’ve been impressed with his and Matt’s leadership during these chaotic, challenging times. They’ve come up with a good plan, they’re executing it well. … It’s been very encouraging to see.”
In other words, even in a year in which it would be easy to give the front office a mulligan for what they went through to get to this point, Bears GM Ryan Pace finds himself under the microscope.
This is a year of reckoning for Pace.
Over the next 16 games, we’ll draw a conclusion regarding Pace’s hand-picked drafted quarterback. We’ll also get a better idea of how good this defense is and how long it can carry a straggling offense. Speaking of which, this is when we’ll learn if his head coach and system are a fit for the franchise. And ultimately, this is figures to be the year in which we’ll learn whether or not change should be on the horizon.