The Chicago Bears may have moved on from Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy in favor of Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus. But that doesn’t mean this is the last they have heard or seen of the old regime either. Both have landed jobs elsewhere. Pace joined the Atlanta Falcons in a “senior personnel executive” role on Thursday.
Nagy went back to his old stomping grounds, returning to Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs as quarterbacks coach and senior assistant.
Old Chicago Bears Regime of Nagy, Pace Lands on Their Feet
Perception vs Reality
There is some debate over whether either deserved their new role after their Bears tenures. But the real question will be, what if they are successful? If Poles and Eberflus are the match they have been billed to be, great. Especially if Pace and Nagy flame out. But if the old “football guys” outperform the new ones in a new location, look out.
We’ve already seen it with players like Leonard Floyd. He just won the Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams while notching 9.5 sacks after having 10.5 last season.
The Bears got a franchise record-breaking campaign out of Robert Quinn so the shed tears are minimal. But the cost to get to this point was not small. It took draft capital used on Floyd to the actual dollars spent to acquire Quinn in free agency.
We might see it again with Mitchell Trubisky.
He is expected to receive a healthy amount of interest on the open market after rehabbing his image for a year backing up Josh Allen in Buffalo. All of the negative stories about Nagy’s locker room decorum certainly haven’t hurt either. Trubisky threw all of eight passes for 76 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception this season.
But he put on quite the performance against the Bears in the preseason. Trubisky carved them up for 221 passing yards and a touchdown in a 41-15 Bills win at Soldier Field.
Adrian Amos, now with the Green Bay Packers, has been vocal on the matter too.
Time and Place
Just because Pace and Nagy became the face of dysfunction for Bears fans doesn’t mean the rest of the NFL sees them that way. This despite many in the media using them as a punchline. Especially after the comments of one Aaron Rodgers during a loss on October 17. The duo will now have a chance to show it was the setting that was the malfunction.
That makes the “who deserves” it argument somewhat relevant as one guy (Nagy) caught more flack on a regular basis while the other (Pace) probably got criticized on a grander scale as his decision to keep Nagy around backfired in real time.
For Nagy, the move does put him in a more focused role and gets him closer to his roots. He held the same position from 2013-2016 before he was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2017.
Still, it is an interesting hire for the Chiefs.
Given the questions about him when he left, their success since his departure, and his mismanagement of four quarterbacks including a top-three pick and a Super Bowl MVP, it’s fair to wonder why they gave him that role again. We should remember that many accounts detail a Patrick Mahomes that looked much rougher, and worse, as a rookie than the one we see today.
Pace got a lot of credit for finding gems in the middle and late rounds of the NFL Draft. Perhaps too much considering he is the reason the Bears were regular shoppers in the bargain bin.
But the fact remains he left the Bears in better shape than when he left as far as the roster is concerned. The defense still has talent, especially in the front seven with Quinn, Khalil Mack, and Roquan Smith.
They also have Justin Fields; a better starting point than any regime has had in recent memory.
Pace is reuniting with his former boss with the New Orleans Saints in Atlanta who could be in the market for a quarterback this draft cycle.
Controlling the Controllable
Ultimately, if the Bears win games, no fans are going to care what Nagy and Pace are doing either way. But you can bet the national media will be pointing to a larger issue at hand than just the rotating faces that have come in and out of Halas Hall since Lovie Smith got fired if they are struggling while the organizations employing those two have success.
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