At their end of the season press conference, the Chicago Bears sent a message to their fans. That message: Let them eat cake. A famous line from a “great princess” of the 17th or 18th century upon learning the peasants had no bread. No fanbase is more loyal to their team and that in part may be why ownership flew in the face of their supporters with this move. Put simply, because they can.
Message from Bears to Fans Doesn’t Sit Well
90 Minutes of Blather
Fans were treated to an hour-plus long explanation as to the hows and whys their favorite team would be practicing insanity. How else do you describe letting Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy stick around and, presumably, make another drastic move at quarterback given how they’ve handled things?
Yet there they all were. Pace, Nagy, George McCaskey, and Ted Phillips all took turns speaking and fielding questions. Not one of them offering up anything close to what could be considered a satisfactory answer about anything pertinent. Instead, there were repeated self-pats on the back for the team not falling apart during a six-skid. Well, that and platitudes for fifth-round rookie Darnell Mooney.
No, there was a change made: defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano is set to retire. Some have speculated that Pagano would be this year’s scapegoat but that he’s retiring, in part, to save face. We have talked about the regression from this group. But we often stop short of dragging him through the mud. That’s because it’s hard to take risks on defense with such an anemic offense. Still, with how the unit performed, his departure makes sense.
Bears president Ted Phillips: "Have we gotten the quarterback situation right? No. Have we won enough games? No. But everything else is there.”
(This is a football version of, “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”)
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) January 13, 2021
Getting It Right
Job one for Pace is to get the quarterback position right. We know that because he told us so during the presser. But it was always his top job. Jay Cutler is still the best passer the Bears have ever had. Sid Luckman the best they’ve ever drafted. That’s obviously not on Pace or Nagy, but you get the point.
What is on Pace is the selection of Mitchell Trubisky and a roster that has deteriorated at key positions. The offensive line has been an issue the last two seasons and played no small part in the Bears struggles this season. Then when you factor in Robert Quinn‘s contract, trading for Nick Foles, and several other questionable moves it paints a very bleak future for the Bears. Pace was once again lauded for his draft finds in the mid to late rounds. But his record in the first round is atrocious. And, all things considered, the Khalil Mack trade backfired.
For Nagy, 2020 should have been a season of ownership. Owning his shortcoming as a play-caller and the offensive wizard he was supposed to be upon arrival. The Bears have only one year in three to point to any sort of sustained offensive success and even that was fluky; aided by the defense forcing turnovers at a historic rate. But to see Nagy hand over play-calling to his assistant and the offense look better would have sent red flags up for most ownership groups.
More than an hour into the Bears' season ending presser, still waiting to learn something…. anything.
— Dan Pompei (@danpompei) January 13, 2021
Read the Room
Most will point to the Bears opponents being low-level resistance as the impetus for their turnaround. That line of thinking isn’t wrong but it belies the good things we saw during that three-game stretch. They were moving the pocket for Trubisky, staying committed to the run, and getting a player like Cole Kmet more involved. It was so encouraging that we wanted to make sure fans were appreciating the process of scrutinizing the results.
Then Week 17 happened and anyone who bought the fool’s gold was swiftly reminded of the hierarchy in the NFC North as the Bears got manhandled by the Green Bay Packers 41-25. It wasn’t nearly that close but Chicago still got lucky when the Arizona Cardinals lost in the final week, making the Bears a playoff team. All that anyone asked for from the unlikely berth was a proper showing. For the Bears to look like they belonged.
What we got was a 7-3 game (which could have been 10-3 had Javon Wims caught Trubisky’s best pass of the day) they ended up 21-9 thanks to a garbage touchdown. The image of Jimmy Graham immediately running off the field after scoring should have been ownership’s approach to this season and the current brain trust. While it’s cool that you scored (made the playoffs) but it essentially meant nothing so move on.
At the doctor getting an EKG because the bears broke my heart pic.twitter.com/Qiv3ak4Tpd
— Kyle (@Ky1eLong) January 13, 2021
Chicago Bears Send Fans Ominous Message
The Philadelphia Eagles fired Doug Pederson this off-season. Pederson led them to their first and only Super Bowl win just three years ago the front office wasn’t afraid to move on. Now, reports are that Pederson wasn’t as big of a problem as general manager Howie Roseman and that the former wanted to leave to escape the latter. Regardless, there was an issue and the Eagles went about addressing and correcting it.
As it stands, the Bears have just ostensibly moved on from Trubisky by declining his option way back when and his continued struggles. Apparently, that and a new face in Pagano’s place are supposed to inspire confidence. It won’t. No, you don’t go making change for the sake of change. But nothing the Bears have done under Pace (and then Pace and Nagy) is worthy of the votes of confidence they got on Wednesday.
So when you hear the bytes citing “keeping the locker room together” and the development of Mooney being a top mention of the offense, just know. Know that those speaking obviously don’t hold you in high regard. The best line might belong to Pace for saying, “A lot of teams wouldn’t come out of the six-game stretch (losing streak) we went through.” What does that even mean? Does he think most organizations would have simply shut down?
At any rate, shout out to all the reporters who asked the tough questions to those woefully ill-equipped to answer them. Chicago Bears fans need you.
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