Sunday, May 22, 2022

Ryan Pace Was Livid With Matt Nagy’s Punt Decision In Green Bay


A couple of weeks ago it felt like GM Ryan Pace was starting to put some distance between himself and head coach Matt Nagy. It started during an interview before the Baltimore Ravens game when he talked up the young talent on the roster without mentioning Nagy. Then during the game, his friend and former college teammate Tony Romo talked up that talent constantly on the broadcast. It led one to wonder if a rift might be forming between the two men.

More evidence surfaced after Sunday night’s loss in Green Bay. According to Nicholas Moreano of Bear Goggles On, he was in the press box with Pace and other front office members. As the Bears fell behind by double digits going into the 4th quarter, they needed points in order to gain ground on the Packers. It was here Nagy made one of the most baffling decisions of the season. One that the GM did not like at all.

“On the fourth drive, with the Bears now down by 11 with just over 13 minutes remaining the game, the Bears’ offense faced a fourth-and-inches from their own 36. Nagy decided to punt.

Not only did Bears fans disagree with the decision, so did general manager Ryan Pace.

Pace sat in the elevated second row of the press box, directly behind my seat. His reflection could be seen clearly on the glass that was directly in front. When he saw the punt unit coming on the field, he looked to his right at Josh Lucas — the Bears’ director of player personnel. Pace scowled and shook his head.”

Everybody remembers what happened next.

Aaron Rodgers engineered a 9-minute drive that ended in a touchdown, putting the game away. How Nagy could’ve convinced himself that an injury-riddled and tired defense could stop the Packers in that situation defies all logic. All he had to do was call a QB sneak with the 6’3 Justin Fields and his odds of getting the 1st down were high. Instead, he pretty much waved the white flag on the game and the season.

Ryan Pace isn’t dumb. He understood the magnitude of that situation. He knew Rodgers from many years of bitter experience. You never give the ball back to him if you can avoid it. Especially when your season and quite likely your job might be on the line. That decision by Nagy could well have sealed the fate of not just himself but the GM as well. So Pace had every right to be upset.

Ryan Pace may already be seeking alternatives

The fate of Nagy appears set in stone at this point. All signs point to him being gone when the season ends. What nobody can say for certain is whether Pace will follow him. Some believe he will, others insist it hasn’t reached that point yet. The McCaskeys really like the GM and feel he does a good job for the franchise. Could they end up keeping him around and see if he can finally land a capable head coach?

There are some arguments in his favor. Some young talents have emerged of late. Roquan Smith is a star. Jaylon Johnson is becoming one as well. Darnell Mooney looks like a keeper at wide receiver. David Montgomery is a stud. Rookie tackles Larry Borom and Teven Jenkins have flashed promise. Then of course there is Justin Fields. Despite his inconsistency thus far, he’s shown franchise QB capability on a number of occasions.

It looks like his ability to find talent has improved.

Some people aren’t convinced though. They feel his aggressive mindset leads to wasting too many draft picks in bold trades and poor management of the salary cap. Fair criticisms given where the team finds itself. So the decision won’t be an easy one for ownership. Answers will be found come the end of the season on January 9th.

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