How Should We Remember Ryan Pace? And Other Bears Bullets

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How Should We Remember Ryan Pace? And Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

Twitter still hasn’t completely crashed and Justin Fields is still the Bears quarterback. It doesn’t make my favorite college football team’s late-season collapse any easier to take, but I’ve got something to look forward to today. Buckle up!

  • Today’s Bears-Falcons game isn’t just a battle of teams playing in states that Ludacris called (or currently call) home. It’s an old flames game. We know that former Bears GMs Ryan Pace and Phil Emery are operating out of Atlanta these days. And there is a non-zero chance that ex-Bears return ace turned stnadout Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson is on your fantasy team. But they aren’t the only Chicago ex-pats in the A. On the player side of things, defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson (2018-20), receiver Damiere Byrd (2021), offensive lineman Germain Ifedi (2020-21), and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (2016-19) are active on the 53-player roster. Running back Damien Williams (2021) and offensive lineman Elijah Wilkinson (2021) would’ve also made the cut, but both are currently on IR.
  • But it’s not just players. Because on the coaching side of things, Atlanta has Offensive Coordinator Dave Ragone (2016-20), QBs Coach Charles London (2007-09, 2018-20), Michael Pitre (2021), Ted Monachino (2021), Jon Hoke (2009-14). All in all, bringing along 13 former Bears to Atlanta is … a choice.
  • Let’s briefly address the elephant in the room — how should we remember Ryan Pace’s legacy in Chicago? On the one hand, he was able to successfully clean up the mess left behind for him by Emery (which I imagine made for some awkward moments around the water cooler when the two began working together in Atlanta). And Pace was the GM who helped orchestrate a pair of playoff teams. Plus, he’ll always be the general manager who drafted Justin Fields. Surely, Pace is rooting for Fields to succeed — if only to save face for the other side of the argument.
  • Because while Pace was those good things, he was plenty of not-so-good things as a GM. He tried too hard to make the Bears his version of the Saints, which turned out to be costly. Pace’s mismanagement of the cap and draft picks left Ryan Poles the same problems Emery left for him. Digging out from the Emery-Marc Trestman era was a welcome sight, but Pace didn’t keep up with the NFL trends, which left the Bears in the dust of more progressive squads. In the end, I don’t think we’ll ever be square with Pace. Even if Fields becomes a bonafide star, Pace did too much to organizational harm to call it “even” if it happens. This doesn’t mean we aren’t thankful for Fields. But sometimes, the bad outweighs the good.
  • Fields making Pace watch him make history would be too sweet:
  • Pace has to be feeling like he is on the Yogi Berra “dèjá vu all over again” plan. Because while the Bears have their quarterback situation figured out, things don’t seem as certain with the Falcons:
  • Atlanta could be in a good position to draft a QB next spring — but only if Mariota tanks. So … are the Falcons rooting to bottom out or squeeze their way into the playoffs? In either case, ATL should be looking to move on at quarterback. Perhaps the Bears and Falcons could be trade partners this spring. A trade-back could benefit the Bears’ rebuild efforts. Maybe Pace can nudge Atlanta’s GM into swinging a deal. We know darn well Pace isn’t afraid of trading up.

Remember when the Falcons could’ve drafted Georgia native Justin Fields to be Matt Ryan’s heir apparent and instead selected tight end Kyle Pitts? Thanks, Falcons!

  • We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a positive health update from one of Fields’ draft classmates. Teven Jenkins might be good to go later today, but only if the medical staff clears his nagging hip injury:
  • Jenkins is Pro Football Focus’ sixth-highest grade guard. That 78.8 grade looks good to me. And while the pass blocking is still a work in progress, Jenkins’ work as a earth-moving run-blocker (81.1 run-blocking grade) is something else. Talk about a player who’s always looking for that action.
  • Another Sunday, and another week in which the Bears are playing in a state-of-the-art stadium. Hopefully, the Bears brass in attendance takes notes on things they like:
  • The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta looks sharp. But replace the in-stadium Chick-fil-A (which isn’t open on Sundays when the Bears play most of their games!) with an Al’s Beef and then we can talk. Speaking of concessions, did you know the Mercedes-Benz joint has cut food prices *TWICE* since opening? If there is one thing I hope the Bears take from their experience at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, it’s that concessions shouldn’t need a downpayment for purchase.
  • The Luke Getsy hype train has left the station. And if the Bears offense keeps chugging along, we’ll see many more articles championing his future head coach candidacy:
  • With Khalil Herbert set to miss the next four games (starting today), it would be neat to see Getsy get sixth-round running back Trestan Ebner in the mix. Gabby Hajduk (Bears official website) writes that Ebener is ready for an incerease in work load. Ebner won’t be coming in cold, but he knows there is a difference between what he has experienced and what could be coming soon:

“It’s not like the only time you’re getting contact is in practice, you’re actually getting it from somebody that’s trying to take your head off in the game. And so I feel like that’s a lot better than just getting thrown out into the fire. So I feel like that helps and then it’s obviously a difference, offense and special teams, but I feel like it’s better to have played a little than not played at all.”

  • A forgotten moment from the last time the Bears and Falcons met under the dome:
  • Another blast from the past:
  • Remembering reading Vaughn McClure as a Bears beat writer when I was younger and as a Falcons reporter before his passing takes me back.
  • This is a work of art:
  • When the Bears are done, I might tune into this just for the uniform matchup:
  • This is one of the wildest game-ending sequences you’ll ever see:
  • After getting help from some friends, the Bills made it to Detroit:
  • Bring ’em here, Jed:
  • The accuracy here hurts because it is true:


Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.