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Couch: Bears Bring Back GM And Coach, Proving The Team Is Not Serious

There is an old football saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the Chicago Bears to find a quarterback.

Bears ownership made that official Wednesday, announcing that they’re bringing back two Bears culprits for another season: 

1) General manager Ryan Pace, whose job will be to find another failed quarterback, his fourth.

2) Coach Matt Nagy, who will be tasked with mishandling him. 

How could Pace and Nagy possibly be coming back? Nagy spent three years not developing quarterback Mitch Trubisky, and Pace tied himself to drafting Trubisky in the first place, spending six years to build a team that has produced one winning record and zero playoff wins. And no quarterbacks.

How? The short answer is this: The Bears aren’t a serious operation. They just aren’t. They proved it with their 90-minute press conference Wednesday morning. 

You should have heard it, starting with team chairman George McCaskey, of the team-founding Halas/McCaskey families, then president Ted Phillips, then with Pace and Nagy.

It was amazingly insulting to every Chicago Bears fan. The Bears didn’t fire themselves. They fired the fans. They talked down to you, Bears fans. They told you that you can’t believe your eyes, or their six-game losing streak. 

Certainly not either game against the Packers.

In fact, all of those things were positives, if you listen to Bears management. The six-game losing streak was all the evidence they needed to bring everyone back.

Why?

“As I said, the leadership, the collaboration, the adaptability, their ability to handle adversity,’’ McCaskey said. “Listen, we all want things to get better. A lot of times you have to go through tough times before they get better.’’

Well, thanks for patting Bears fans on the head with that, George. 

But the fact that Pace and Nagy got along well while the team was falling to pieces should not have inspired confidence because of one simple thing:

They were the reason the team fell to pieces in the first place.

I was surprised how many times they could jam the word “collaboration’’ into one press conference. Why should Bears fans think Pace will get the quarterback situation right this time? Because he and Nagy collaborate well. I’m pretty sure McCaskey, Phillips, Pace and Nagy all answered that question that way, individually, at various times.

Unfortunately, they collaborated last year when they brought in Nick Foles to push Trubisky for the starting job. 

Pace’s first big investment years ago was in quarterback Mike Glennon, who bombed out. Then Pace traded up for the chance to take Trubisky with the No. 2 pick in the draft, using his eye to bypass Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.

He also hired Nagy three years ago. Nagy was known as an offensive guru. His genius and Trubisky’s franchise-changing skills led the Bears to score 3 points in the big game Sunday, until a garbage-time touchdown.

The Chicago media were uncharacteristically tough Wednesday. Their BS-o-meters were going off.

Last year, the Bears kept Pace and Nagy after an 8-8 season and said they needed to see improvement. This year, they want 8-8 again. Someone asked McCaskey what signs of progress he had seen.

He could think of only one thing: receiver Darnell Mooney, who is a mediocre player that every team gets.

That’s it. Darnell Mooney.

But now McCaskey and Phillips said they would need to see progress and improvement for Nagy and Pace to come back again next year. Someone asked them what would constitute progress, and the answer was that management would know it when they see it.

Accountability. That’s another word they kept jamming into the press conference. Over and over, they said they were holding each other accountable. Yet. . .no one seems to have been held accountable. Why?

Collaboration.

“For the past several weeks,’’ McCaskey said, “I’ve been faithfully responding to my hate mail.’’

I’m not sure if that’s accountability or collaboration.

And what has Pace learned from his disastrous quarterback picks over six years?

“I think our process is always the same,’’ he said, “is always being refined as we go forward.’’

I don’t know what that means.

The Bears spent 90 minutes talking in circles. At one point, Phillips said that other than winning and losing, the thing that matters most is the people.

I’m not joking. What in the hell does that mean?

Well, it means that the Bears are going to lose again next year. It means they won’t have a quarterback. But at least Pace and Nagy will collaborate.

I guess they play nice when they’re in the sandbox together.

So there’s that, anyway. 

Insanity.

Written by Greg Couch

Greg earned the 2007 Peter Lisagor Award as the best sports columnist in the Chicagoland area for his work with the Chicago Sun-Times, where he started as a college football writer in 1997 before becoming a general columnist in 2003. He also won a Lisagor in 2016 for his commentary in RollingStone.com and The Guardian.

Couch penned articles and columns for CNN.com/Bleacher Report, AOL Fanhouse, and The Sporting News and contributed as a writer and on-air analyst for FoxSports.com and Fox Sports 1 TV. In his journalistic roles, Couch has covered the grandest stages of tennis from Wimbledon to the Olympics, among numerous national and international sporting spectacles. He also won first place awards from the U.S. Tennis Writers Association for his event coverage and column writing on the sport in 2010.

7 Comments

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  1. I’m a Bears fan, and I think this is good news. I can give up on the 2021 season now and I won’t have to worry about missing my Sunday tee times in the fall to watch the Bears. The extra 2 months of golf in the fall can go towards trying to get my handicap down in the single digits instead of watching the Bears waste another season.

  2. Not really sure you can fire Nagy after 2 playoff appearances in 3 seasons. Pace should have been fired as soon as Mahomes won the 2018 NFL MVP. If I’m an owner …. thee ya! That is just inexcusable lol. Watson over Mahomes is 1 thing, easy mistake … Trubisky!? LMAO

  3. As Jason Isbell wisely penned in his song Different Days, “My Daddy told me and I believe he told me true.. that the right thing is always the hardest thing to do.”

    The Bears, like a handful of other NFL franchises, rarely do the right thing. They do the easiest thing. As a Philip Rivers fan since 2000 I had the misfortune of following the Chargers and the Spanos’ family for 15 years. Franchises like the Chargers (Jags, Texans, Bears, Cowboys, etc..) are perfectly happy keeping the lights on and the doors open, they lack the stomach and/or the skill sets to achieve anything better than average.

    To Sean’s point, that sounds good right now in January when football is 8 months away, but we both know you’ll be there in August for preseason along with the rest of Bears Nation. No one knows it better than the McCaskey family.

    • You may be right Robert. It IS easy to say now. But you can only be fooled so many times before you just stop investing as much time and emotion. If they find a way to trade for Watson or someone, maybe I change my mind….at least for the first few games. I’ll try to find this article again in September and I’ll provide a truthful update on my Sunday activities. lol

  4. The people who need to be fired are the decision makers above Nagy and Pace. The Bears will spend all their time on the treadmill of mediocrity until that changes. It is this kind of thinking that makes the same NFL teams predictable for generations.

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