Tired: “Silence is deafening.”
Wired: “Silence is annoying.”
Inspired: “Silence is … concerning.”
I’ve spent a healthy chunk of my day thinking about these two tweets:
Still quiet out of Halas Hall this AM. #Bears
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) January 12, 2021
I know many believed the firing or reassignment of Ryan Pace was a foregone conclusion.
The fact that they are in their second day of meetings, with no decision announced, confirms it was not.
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) January 12, 2021
The Chicago Bears’ brass is apparently in its second day of meetings after the team’s season-ending loss to the New Orleans Saints in Sunday’s wild-card round. I imagine some of the Bears caucus features exit interviews between players, coaches, and staff. That’s normal, run-of-the-mill, after-the-season stuff. That isn’t what concerns me. Instead, it’s the big-picture organizational stuff.
Seriously … what’s the need for two days of discussions here?
Ryan Pace is a general manager whose teams are 42-54 since taking over in 2015. And while they made the postseason twice in the last three years, the Bears have (1) short-term cap issues, (2) a defense in a second year of regression despite significant investments in players, and (3) a long-term problem at quarterback. Pace has just one year left on his contract, but general managers don’t tend to enter lame-duck years. In other words, Chicago’s upper management should be discussing whether to cut ties now or extend a GM whose inability to find a solution at the most important position in sports despite taking three big swings.
Matt Nagy is Pace’s hand-picked head coach whose arrival was supposed to lift all boats. Or at minimum, move the offense into the 21st century. Credit Nagy for leading Chicago to the postseason twice in three seasons. Doing so while staving off a possible mutiny where a defense did a bulk of the heavy lifting while his offense stunk shouldn’t be lost on anyone. Nagy has two years remaining on his contract, but he ends up in the cross-hairs because his offense has either (1) never taken off and/or (2) regressed from Year 1 (depending on your point of view). In any case, it’s fair to ask what Nagy’s future with this franchise is — especially if someone as accomplished as Doug Pederson can get fired just two years after winning a Super Bowl.
Ted Phillips has been the Bears’ president since 1999. Phillips has overseen the hiring of five head coaches and three general managers. Under his watch, the Bears have more losing seasons (11) than playoff appearances (6). To be clear, Phillips doesn’t make decisions on the field. And he certainly isn’t making plays on it, either. HOWEVER … he has been in the organization’s highest position for two decades with just seven winning seasons and one Super Bowl appearance to show for it. That’s simply not good enough.
As far as I’m concerned, these meetings shouldn’t be all that complicated.
This is how it would work in a competent front office …
For Pace, he must answer why he deserves another opportunity to find a franchise quarterback. I say another, because he previously whiffed on Mike Glennon, Mitchell Trubisky, and Nick Foles. Should he answer that in a satisfactory manner, Pace should be asked to lay out a plan to get said quarterback. From there, the discussion goes to how Nagy and his staff will develop said quarterback. Nagy should have to answer why he was unable to unlock Trubisky’s talents and make the most out of Foles’ intimate knowledge of the offense *HE* wanted to run.
Should Pace and Nagy give unsatisfactory answers to those questions, then it should be time for a clean slate and and searches for replacements should begin in earnest.
I’m partly annoyed that this is taking so long because it’s impossible not to be a prisoner of the moment. But I’m more bothered that evidence toward making one decision or another is right there — and has been there for some time. It’s like the Harlem Globetrotter yo-yo’ing the ball while taunting some poor schlub on the Washington Generals. He’s spinning the ball on his finger. Just take it! Take the ball!
The Bears are essentially a family business with George McCaskey running the show under Virginia Halas McCaskey’s rule. But they’re also a billion-dollar entity that should have a stream-lined process for proper organizational building. Instead, we’re unsure about the process during a crucial time for the franchise. That’s not ideal.