The two men in charge of the Chicago Bears 53-man roster addressed media on Friday morning when Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy both spoke publicly for the first time in quite a while. In a bizarre twist, the press conference was not publicly viewable in real-time. The team chose to run it through media personnel who then provided the fans the information via Twitter.
Bears fans aren’t too happy with the casual and vague responses given by the two so far this offseason. However, it’s also not entirely surprising. There is rarely ever any clarity or transparency that comes from Halas Hall, as is the status quo for how the Chicago Bears operate.
In order to avoid the effects of cumulative scrutiny and criticism, Pace and Nagy held separate press conferences back-to-back (probably). Regardless of how the mysterious meeting with the media went down, we’ll be breaking them down one by one.
Up first: Ryan Pace.
The seventh-year GM kicked things off by addressing the elephant in the room: Mitchell Trubisky.
The Bears may not fully understand what the word “upgrade” means. Sure, it was probably time to move on from Trubisky, but settling for the player we’ll discuss next at the current stage of his career doesn’t necessarily scream “upgrade”.
The quarterback position was clearly the point of emphasis for both the head coach and general manager today. Pace elaborated on the ever-important position by discussing the signing of Andy Dalton.
Pace better hope those evaluations translate into touchdowns and proper game management come September.
Furthermore, Ryan Pace didn’t hesitate to tell everyone that Dalton “fits our offensive style” despite very little clarity about what the Bears’ offensive identity actually is over the past two seasons. But as everyone knows, those Pro Bowl appearances — no matter how many years removed from them — mean everything and will tell you all you need to know about a quarterback.
Now we’re on to “clarifying” that “offensvie style” regarding Dalton’s fit.
Where have we heard this one before? Maybe roughly a year ago with an addition of another experienced quarterback?
As a matter of fact, Pace did seem pretty giddy about the experience in the QB room between Dalton and Nick Foles. However, he did leave the door open for a possible young QB to enter the mix.
In a weird twist, Pace inadvertently threw shade on himself by defending Foles (a bad move), stating the roster around him had flaws.
Nevertheless, Pace confirmed Dalton as the QB1 heading into the season. In reality, that sentiment is still open to interpretation and should be taken with a grain of salt.
If this analysis seems harsh so far, buckle up because we’re just scratching the surface. How many previous times have fans heard these asinine talking points from Pace depicting excitement about the quarterback position despite having inadequate personnel?
If only the individual in charge of acquiring roster upgrades could actually upgrade the most important position on the roster… oh wait.
Not everything was QB-centric during the press conference, however. Pace also addressed the departure of Kyle Fuller. The GM touched on having to make tough roster decisions going into the offseason. When asked about Fuller, Pace said he had exhausted all avenues with him. Those options included a trade, salary reduction, etc. before releasing him.
It’s not much of a stretch to say that these tough roster decisions could have been avoided if Pace had done a better job constructing a roster while maintaining an honest assessment of the team’s future. Sinking money into players like Robert Quinn only cost him one of his best cornerbacks.
The Bears’ GM gave a vote of confidence to both Jaylon Johnson and Kindle Vildor, the corners who will have to step up due to the loss of Fuller. The justifications wouldn’t end there, however, as Pace made sure to give himself a pat on the back for signing Desmond Trufant.
Allen Robinson/Franchise Tag
In a moment of truth, Ryan Pace finally provided clarity on the Allen Robinson situation. He said the Bears had the franchise tag at their disposal and used it on Robinson. “It happens throughout our league. The league gives us that tool for a reason. It’s a resource we have, that we used.”
However, it seems not much has changed in terms of a contract extension with Robinson. Nonetheless, the star wideout is still a focal point of the offense. Good to know.
Deon Bush Time?
Deon Bush may finally get a legitimate shot to start at safety alongside Eddie Jackson, according to Pace. Giving Bush that opportunity is long overdue, but Pace still hasn’t ruled out adding another safety via free agency or the draft. So, that may be a position to keep an eye on.
The quote and commentary provided in the above tweet by Jason Lieser is the most accurate encapsulation of where the Bears are at as an organization right now — they’re just happy that they made the playoffs two of the past three seasons. This is the basis for retaining Pace and Nagy and they actually believe they’re an average QB away from a Super Bowl. So much so that they’ll pepper in a few small signings and address some holes in the draft and run it back in 2021, which is why they’re banking on the “growth” of their team.
During the Matt Nagy portion of the press conference, which didn’t last very long, he opened up with a vote of confidence to Andy Dalton, acknowledging that he is in fact the starting quarterback. Nagy touched on the communication with Foles and understanding that Dalton was brought in to start.
Next, the Bears’ head coach made his statement regarding Mitchell Trubisky. Nagy stated Trubisky’s underperformance and departure from the Bears were not solely on the quarterback. Not before making this remark.
For a coach that cares so much about a particular player, he sure does have an odd way of showing it. It takes a special kind of love to bench your quarterback twice and send your offensive coordinator to relay the message in the second instance. And this all followed vouching for said quarterback last offseason.
Nagy continued the media session by stating the coaching staff was wrapping up its evaluation of the (offensive) scheme.
However, in a not-so-shocking revelation, the Bears’ head coach proclaimed he will be resuming play-calling duties in 2021. This comes much to the chagrin of Bears fans.
Nagy is going to “meld” some of Dalton’s strengths with the strengths of the roster, apparently. At this point, Nagy doesn’t know what his strengths are, let alone the strengths of the personnel of the roster or his new QB. He hasn’t shown the ability to cater a game plan around the strengths of anyone. Even if he does, he shies away from it as the game progresses.
The Chicago Bears sent out two guys to address the media who didn’t provide much of anything — at least not in terms of new information. This press conference seemed more like a PR move to alleviate some of the heat the organization has been feeling, especially considering they weren’t present during the Dalton introductory press conference.
Overall, Ryan Pace’s press conference felt lackluster. He essentially just doubled down the decision to move on from Trubisky and sign Dalton in addition to vaguely explaining why the team released Fuller and applied the franchise tag to Robinson. Bears fans didn’t learn anything new from Pace today outside of the collaboration being strong at Halas Hall, and not necessarily in a positive fashion.
As far as Nagy’s press conference, it was just about what anyone could expect. He followed the footsteps of Pace regarding the QB situation and then just told everyone they’re evaluating their scheme. That and the announcement that he’s back calling plays, because of course he is.
In total, today’s Bears press conference was 30 minutes of bleh. None of the media members even bothered asking the tough questions or even prodding them on the pursuit of Russell Wilson. Who knows, perhaps they would lose their credentials if they did so.
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