By now, we’re all aware of the massacre that transpired on Sunday night.  And before you frantically go to CNN or Fox News or whichever news outlet you generally choose, I’m talking about what the Green Bay Packers did to the Chicago Bears up at Lambeau Field on Sunday Night Football.

The 41-25 demolition that wasn’t anywhere near as close as the final score.  And that night, if you listened closely, you could (sadly) hear the door being slammed shut on Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy’s careers in Chicago.

As mentioned in the above thread, the final five games of 2020 — vs. Detroit, vs. Houston, at Minnesota, at Jacksonville, vs. Green Bay — seem like a death march to the inevitable this offseason.  It’s amazing what’s happened to this team in the span of two years…

With that, let’s reach into this week’s Bears Mailbag.  Thank you to everyone who submitted questions.  I always appreciate the participation.  Follow me on Twitter @DhruvKoul to continue the conversation.

Bears Mailbag

The question for the new regime is if they think they can rebuild the offense *in that year* itself and give it one more ride with a great defense.  The problem, though, is that the Bears don’t have a lot of resources to work with in 2021, an expensive defense, and a ton of moves to make on offense.

The Bears are projected to just have about $2M in cap space for 2021, so they would need to make some tough choices.  Jimmy Graham and Buster Skrine are obvious choices, but that doesn’t net nearly as much money as the Bears need.  They need a QB (assuming Foles is the backup), a WR to replace Allen Robinson, at least 2-3 new starters on the offensive line, including two tackles (more premium spots), and other depth moves they should make at WR and TE.

Can they make all of those moves and still trot out a great defense in 2021?  It’s not very likely.  They’ll probably have to make some moves that impact the defense, and that’s where the Bears may choose to commit to a direction — namely, a rebuild.

This is a tough one.  The game got out of hand so quickly, the Bears didn’t really get to run much of their game plan.  Mitch Trubisky alluded to that in his press conference on Wednesday, saying he was happy with his input in the game plan, but they didn’t get to run much of it due to the score.

Trubisky didn’t play well (three turnovers and some inaccuracy is bad), but there was no denying that the offense had hints of rhythm to it that it just didn’t have against Minnesota, Tennessee, the Rams, the Colts, you name it.  Some of it was due to Trubisky being able to extend a couple of plays and pick up first downs, but the schematic shift from when Nick Foles was the QB to switching back to Trubisky was evident.  The Bears were a lot less predictable in their formations and personnel groupings, and even David Montgomery had a big day on the ground.  (The good thing about Montgomery is that his 57 yard run wasn’t a misleading inflator of numbers.)

The offensive line changes the Bears made also helped.  Germain Ifedi played well enough at RT, Sam Mustipher was good at C, moving Cody Whitehair back to LG was a smart choice, and Alex Bars held his own at RG.

A lot of things came together to provide the offense a bit more rhythm, but they still didn’t score enough points, bottom line.  Maybe they work out the kinks a bit more against Detroit, but overall, it was nice to see something new and different being attempted by this coaching staff.

The Bears will likely have to do this, yes.  I’m of the opinion that if Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are fired, the Bears will need to tear this down and rebuild.

For that, they will need draft picks and salary cap space.  With so little cap space next year and a lot of money tied into a good but aging defense, some tough moves will need to be made.

I’d imagine the Bears look to trade the following defenders for cap relief and a draft pick to aid in the rebuild, at a minimum:  Kyle Fuller, Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack.

They would do well to consider offers for Eddie Jackson and Roquan Smith, as well.

I’m sure they’d love to offload Robert Quinn and Danny Trevathan on a new team, but it’s unlikely they could do that.

In my opinion, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are tied at the hip.  If one of them is worth firing, the other will likely be out the door as well.  IF there was a “have to keep one of them” scenario, and it was up to me, I’d fire Pace and let the new GM decide what they want to do with Nagy.

Pace has done a lot of good as the Bears’ GM.  He built an elite defense.  He revamped the Bears’ facilities and ushered in a new era of technology and nutrition that has helped the Bears (generally) stay healthier throughout the season in recent years.  (Remember the crazy set of injuries under John Fox?)  He has generally managed the Bears’ salary cap well.  But several misfires (especially at QB) have made his spot with the organization untenable.  You just can’t miss on the QB — especially the way Pace has.

Nagy, however, is interesting.  He built an unreal culture in his first year.  He navigated a rough four-game losing streak last year to win four of their final six games to finish 8-8.  This year has not progressed the way anyone wanted or expected, but here is where the argument for Nagy can take shape:

Nagy came over to the Bears with the goal of modernizing the Bears’ offense (in addition to winning games, which was his main responsibility as head coach).  Being an Andy Reid disciple, Nagy had only seen Reid’s scheme at work his entire career — in Philadelphia and in Kansas City.  He saw Doug Pederson go to the Eagles, have instant success and win a Super Bowl.  He saw Reid build an insanely efficient and powerful offense even without Patrick Mahomes.  The system Nagy essentially “grew up” with seemed unstoppable and infallible.  It’s not a surprise he was so convinced it was a “plug and play” system.

Fast forward to his Bears tenure — he starts with the goal of implementing this same system, but he doesn’t realize he’s dealing with a quarterback who can’t read defenses, has sloppy mechanics, and struggles with good decision making.  Trubisky’s up-and-down 2018 gave way to a colossal failure in 2019.  Even as evaluators, we saw receivers schemed open on tape being missed constantly by the QB.  It was evident that, while Nagy wasn’t “tailoring to Trubisky’s strengths”, the system could work if the QB could get the ball out properly.

Enter this season.  The Bears’ coaching staff spent a ton of time implementing scheme changes that “fit” Trubisky better, but it’s clear the Bears felt QB was a weak spot — hence the Nick Foles acquisition.  When Trubisky’s uneven play even with the scheme changes kept popping up, Nagy went to Foles in an attempt to go back to his scheme.  Foles hasn’t worked out, and the scheme hasn’t worked because the offensive line has also been bad, but the talent level deficiency on the Bears’ offense has never been more evident.  It took a while, yes, but Nagy finally accepted attempting other possible fixes — him giving up play calling, benching Foles for Trubisky again, and shifting the scheme back to what Trubisky was doing slightly better with early in the year.

Nagy’s leadership and culture-building abilities are not gone.  Those will always remain.  Now, he has learned the lesson that his scheme is not infallible — flexibility is required and adaptation is required to the roster on hand.  If his penchant to try new things remains the rest of this year, and he takes this lesson with him moving forward, Nagy will be be a better coach for it.  It *could* be worth seeing that through for one more year in Chicago, at that point.