When Matt Nagy is Shown the Door, Ryan Pace Must Be Asked to Leave Behind Him
No one likes to see somebody lose their job. However, it is a sad reality that in any workplace, when an employee has failed to perform at an acceptable standard, their employment will ultimately be terminated.
Unfortunately for Matt Nagy, this is the inevitable situation that he will face at season’s end when the Bears’ front office will be left with no other option but to part ways with the 2018 NFL Coach of the Year.
With a career record of 32–32 (.500), and two straight exits in the playoffs, the offense under Matt Nagy (with the exception of course of 2018), has habitually struggled to post consistent and competitive scores during the modern era of high-scoring.
Outside of the 2018 season, Chicago has ranked poorly for points per game in the NFL:
2017: 29th – 16.5
2019: 29th – 17.5
2020: 23rd – 22.4
2021: 28th – 17.1*
*As at the completion of Week 16.
The bases are loaded with the generational talent Justin Fields and a supporting cast of Roquan Smith and David Montgomery. The Bears front office must hit the next coaching appointment out of the park. With Ryan Pace already on two strikes with the appointments of John Fox and Matt Nagy, there is just way too much on the line now for the organization to fail once again with the head coaching position.
Ryan Pace’s run at Chicago has reached a juncture. His career at Halas Hall has been good, however it has been nowhere in the vicinity of being great. On Pace’s watch, the Bears have had a terrible win-loss record of 46-64 (0.418). His performance, much like Chicago’s record during his tenure, has been unacceptably below average.
The 2018 Executive of the Year’s track record in hiring head coaches has been a dismal failure. And quite frankly, it should concern most, if not all Bears fans greatly if he were to be given the responsibility of his third head coaching hire in 7 years.
Pace must be congratulated though for the drafting of Justin Fields, and his overall performance at the 2021 draft. No question. However, one year of Fields’ career has already been hindered under Pace’s management. Pace backed Matt Nagy’s mind-boggling decision to put Andy Dalton in at the number one spot. The clock has already begun ticking on Fields’ career and in the ultra-competitive world that football lives in, time is of the essence for this young star. Fields deserves to be paired with an elite coach that can nurture his growth, further develop his talents and rejuvenate the offence to compete with the likes of Green Bay, Kansas, Tampa Bay and Arizona. Pace has proven twice now that he has the inability to identify these qualities in a coaching candidate.
Pace’s misses at the quarterback position are well documented. Mike Glennon, Nick Foles and Andy Dalton are obvious names and the only thing more confusing about the decision to give away four picks to move up the draft and grab Mitch Trubisky, is the secrecy and disconnect that he had with John Fox in order to do so.
It also cannot be denied that Pace has crushed it with mid-late round picks, however, being highly successful in one aspect of one’s role, should not be cause for someone to continue in it if they have been an abject failure in most others. Such as Pace’s neglect of the offensive-line and safety positions.
Pace’s mismanagement of the salary cap has been well-documented. And despite some breathing space for the Bears off the back of the announcement last Tuesday by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero that next season’s salary cap will increase to $208.2 million, the Bears will find it difficult to make all the pieces fit for 2022.
With one of the oldest rosters in the league and only 33 contracted players for 2022, according to Spotrac, the Bears will have around $44 million in cap space to play with in order to make this team somewhat competitive in 2023 and beyond.
In just a few weeks, George McCaskey and Ted Phillips will once again take center stage to speak to the NFL world. McCaskey and Phillips were savaged by the fans and media alike for having lost touch with reality and a failure to address the glaring issues facing the organization nearly 12 months ago.
Amongst some of the cringe worthiness, we were offered these pearls of wisdom from Ted Phillips:
“We’re not happy and we’re far from satisfied. Making the playoffs is a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. We need to win in the playoffs and we need to compete for and win a championship. We know we need to get better. We believe that Ryan and Matt are excellent leaders.”
If there was ever a time to borrow Ted’s whole question-talking routine:
12 months on, are we any more satisfied? Nope.
Did we get our playoffs win? Nope.
Has the organization got any better? Nope.
Have we competed for this year’s championship? Not even close.
I guess everything else is there huh Ted?
There’s just nowhere for George and Ted to hide now. They’ve forced themselves into a corner and change now just has to be made. If they’ve learned anything from the outrage in January, it is that Bears fans don’t suffer fools. We refuse to accept mediocrity and near enough is no longer good enough.
It is time now for the Bears’ front office to move on from a General Manager that for 7 years has hired two dud coaches, four carbon-copy quarterbacks, neglected the o-line and gifted away countless picks in order to correct his errors of the past.
As Bears fans, we have come to believe that any change to the Bears organizational structure will only go as far up as the GM position. Therefore, it is on McCaskey and Phillips to push their chips to the center of the table and get the best GM available, (the appointment of a Director of Football might also be nice), that can take this organization into a new era, and one that will begin by securing the next coach in Chicago capable of leading this team to its next championship.
As we await with baited breath and anticipate any such moves, perhaps it might be timely to reflect on George McCaskey’s comments from last January:
“It would be a perfectly natural reaction to say, ‘Back up the truck, major overhaul,’ whatever you want to call it. After one particularly dispiriting loss this season, a season-ticket holder sent me an email that read: ‘Fire somebody. We deserve better.’ I get it. You deserve your Bears being winners. The decisions we’re announcing today might not be the easiest or most popular, but we believe they’re the best decisions for the Bears.”
You’re right George. Us fans do deserve better. And we damn well deserve a winning football team. It is time now to make not what you think are the “best decisions”, but rather to make the “difficult decisions”.
George, it must hurt you to know that to the rest of the NFL world, the family business has become irrelevant. A joke. A punchline. A laughing stock.
What should hurt you even more is when a disrespectful, douche quarterback from a divisional rival tells your fans that he “bleeping owns them”.
It’s your move to make now George. Who really owns this team?