The Bears haven’t landed on their next quarterback yet, and might not for a while. But for once, that’s okay. After a series of questionable decisions that led them to their current position, the front office may be finally willing to try something different.
It’s something we discussed two years ago, when they clearly needed to re-vamp their entire QB evaluation process, and it remains true today:
At a higher level, Chicago’s front office needs to re-evaluate their entire quarterbacking process. All of it. Every crevice, nook, and cranny. It needs to be an all-encompassing deep dive into the position. From top to bottom. This needs to be a complete tear-down and rebuild of the position group. Everything from the players, coaches, scouts, evaluation techniques, processes, language … everything. Any part that led the Bears to where they are today with this quarterback situation needs to be under the microscope, put through the wringer, picked apart, analyzed, and evaluated.
Four-hundred and twenty-eight days have passed since I wrote that paragraph. And for the first time since then, I feel as if Chicago’s football team *IS* doing something different with its quarterback unearthing process. Take the Carson Wentz sweepstakes, for example.
Albert Breer recently dove into the deal that sent Wentz from Philadelphia to Indianapolis, and the anecdotes about the Bears’ role in that saga piqued my interest. Specifically, the involvement of QBs Coach/Pass Game Coordinator John DeFilippo.
If you’ll recall, DeFilippo was Wentz’s position coach in 2017 during his break-out campaign. So if anyone was going to be in a position to comment and assist, it was DeFilippo. And, indeed, DeFilippo reportedly gave the Chicago brass his “institutional knowledge on the player and person.”
That’s certainly notable for a number of reasons. But none more than this: The Bears’ brass is finally taking input from their coaches this time around. And that’s not inconsequential. Seriously. You may be thinking it should be – and you’d be right – but it isn’t. No, the Bears didn’t end up with Wentz despite DeFilippo believing he is “fixable,” but that’s sort of besides the point.
If Pace is finally taking data, information, anecdotes, or anything of use from coaches and staffers when it comes to this QB hunt, it’s already a better process than the one he used when landing on Mitchell Trubisky — and not Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes — as the quarterback he needed to draft in 2017. Again, this isn’t a small development.
Remember, then-head coach John Fox made it known that Deshaun Watson was his preferred quarterback in the 2017 Draft class. Dave Ragone, who was the QBs Coach at the time, also came away with Watson as that class’ QB1. But if you’ll recall, it was Pace and Bears Scouting Director Mark Sadowski who had Mitchell Trubisky as their top quarterback. And more than that, it was Pace’s infatuation with Trubisky that steered him toward the UNC product as the QB he had to have. Ultimately, that was a failed process. Thus, making it worth underscoring DeFilippo’s communication with the Bears’ when it came to Wentz, as well as the team’s involvement/interest in the player.
In the end, the Bears didn’t get Wentz. And maybe that’s a good thing in the grand scheme of things. It’s possible that Chicago dodged a bullet in not executing a deal. But what’s more important is that whatever the process of finding a new QB entails, it involves coaches who will have their hands on said player. It might seem like a small step, but it’s a significant one based on prior experiences.