The Chicago Bears are in the playoffs. One would normally think fans would be ecstatic about this. Yet as too often the case with this team, it comes with a complicated backstory. While they are indeed in the postseason, it’s with an 8-8 record. The only reason they qualified was thanks to the NFL expanding the field of playoff spots from 12 to 14 this year. They started 5-1 but finished 3-7. So is this team actually better than it was last year? Not according to the eye test. Yet some fear George McCaskey will use this technicality to keep the status quo.
That is to say, both GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy will be back. They haven’t had a losing season together yet. They’ve now made the playoffs twice. No way the Bears should let them go under those conditions, right? That is a loaded question. Some people do believe the two should return. They aren’t perfect but there are signs they are growing as a tandem. At the same time, this team has steadily regressed since 2018. The distance between them and the Packers is as wide as ever.
Keeping them would be embracing mediocrity in the eyes of many.
Some insiders believe this will be the course of action. However, it appears such feelings are far from a consensus behind closed doors. A source explained that McCaskey is feeling a lot of pressure from others in the organization to make changes. They aren’t buying this team is headed in the right direction with Nagy and Pace.
That is why a lot could hinge on what happens this Sunday in New Orleans. Remember the Bears did make the playoffs but it came after getting railroaded 35-16 by Green Bay. If the Saints end up doing something similar down in New Orleans? There is a strong possibility someone will find themselves out of a job that subsequent Monday.
George McCaskey may not be as idle as some believe
Brad Biggs reported on Monday that the Bears have eyes on Chiefs Director of Football Operations Mike Borgonzi as a possible Pace replacement. Something SM reported back in November. This suggests the team chairman is definitely weighing the possibility of making a change at the top of the front office. Pace isn’t in the best standing right now. Mitch Trubisky remains an average quarterback and other recent big-money acquisitions like Nick Foles and Robert Quinn have flamed out.
Combined with his contract entering its final season? That could be enough for George McCaskey to warrant making a change. Especially if the Bears lose on Sunday. How ironic would it be that Pace’s last stand came against the team Chicago hired him from back in 2015? As for Nagy, his case is more complicated. His contract has two years left and he’s yet to have a losing season. The idea with him would be standing pat in 2021 and bringing in a new GM to evaluate him.
Would that appeal to the incoming guy?
Sure. If anything it would be preferable. By sticking with Nagy, he’d be able to say he gave the coach an honest shot. Then if it doesn’t go well, he’d be free and clear to remake the organization however he sees fit. Phil Emery did the same thing with Lovie Smith in 2021. Of course, that didn’t end up going well. The hope would be the next GM is a little more competent this time.
Either way, it’s clear McCaskey has a lot of voices in his ear. Voices telling him not to make any final decision until after Sunday.