At some point, we’ll fully remove ourselves from the previous iteration of Bears football. We’ll unshackle ourselves from Matt Nagy’s mistakes. And we’ll distance ourselves from Ryan Pace’s shortcomings. But we also need to keep in mind that those two are major reasons why the 2022 Chicago Bears are where they are at this moment.
No, Pace and Nagy’s failures don’t absolve Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus of any missteps they have moving forward. Instead, it gives us necessary depth and perspective as we move along. After all, you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.
With that in mind, Darnell Mooney’s recent visit on the Red Line Radio podcast delivers a strong reminder as to why changes were necessary. And what might be most encouraging about Mooney’s quip is that it seems that the new coaching staff has given him newfound perspective as to how things should work when functioning properly.
“It’s smooth. Everybody knows where to go, when to do something, what’s the expectation, what’s the standard,” Mooney said when discussing the differences between the last year of Nagy and the start of the Matt Eberflus regime. “You know what you’re getting out of the next day. It’s not coming in and like, ‘Uh, what do we got going on?” … Everybody knows exactly what the coaches want.”
Oh! So, *THAT* is how it should work.
You’re supposed to know what is on the docket for a given day? What a concept! Your coaches should be expressing their expectations to their players? That’s wild! And everyone is to follow a standard set by the folks at the top. Who knew!?
Think about the communication issues that were prevalent throughout the year for last year’s Bears. And at every level of organization. It was a nightmare.
For instance, remember reporting that Chairman George McCaskey made the call to name Justin Fields the team’s permanent starting QB? Or that time McCaskey waited forever to address players regarding the report of Nagy’s firing, leaving the coach to hang out to dry. Pace didn’t address it until days later, either. The miscommunication at the top of the organization trickled down and was problematic throughout the football season.
Messaging regarding Justin Fields and his development plan were all over the map. From Nagy saying in June that Fields cannot win the starting job in camp to pivoting in July and declining to totally shoot down the idea of Fields starting in Week 1. Even when discussing Fields’ elevation to QB1, Nagy’s communication discussing the move left me wanting so much more. Something as simple as who was calling plays after a win was a jumble of words that were strung together despite having no substance or meaning behind them. Nagy couldn’t even cleanly convey who was calling plays and when — and during multiple points of the season.
No wonder Mooney said what he said about the differences between the two regimes. It’s truly night-and-day stuff.
We don’t know what the future holds for the new regime. Frankly, we won’t know for some time. But that Eberflus and first-year GM Ryan Poles are swiftly moving away from the old guard’s way of doing business feels like an important first step for the folks inside Halas Hall. And it begins with something as small as communication.