George McCaskey met with Chicago media today for his end-of-season press conference. The Chicago Bears' chairman expressed his gratitude for the recently fired Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace and praised their efforts in the 2018 season that he deemed "a good ride." He also stated that Ted Phillips is staying with the Bears and the organization has brought in Bill Polian to assist in the search for a new general manager and head coach.
George McCaskey Praises Players
McCaskey said very early in his press conference that he doesn't want to call out individual performances in a team game like football. Then he specifically praised running back David Montgomery and linebacker Roquan Smith for their contributions to the team.
Team Record Under Ryan Pace/Matt Nagy
The Bears own a record of 48-65 in the seven years since Ryan Pace took over as GM.
"We beat the teams we expected to beat, but we couldn't beat the better teams," McCaskey said of the team's performance over that span.
George identified stacking up better against tougher competition as an area the Bears will strive to improve in moving forward.
Consider this: Matt Nagy only had a winning record of 34-31 in his tenure as head coach because the Bears beat the Lions year after year. Chicago would have been under .500 during Nagy's four seasons if they couldn't beat the lowly Lions.
New GM, New Head Coach, and Ted Phillips' Role
McCaskey stated the Bears' new general manager will report directly to him and whoever it may be will be responsible for the entire football operation. He also spoke about the head coaching vacancy and who they might look at. He didn't offer specifics in terms of names, but he generally suggested the head coach they hire won't be limited.
The scheme or specialty a head coaching candidate sported in the past won't dictate their hiring or not. George also stated previous head coaching experience is not a necessity for the Chicago Bears. He will strictly be evaluating the possible candidates based on wins, losses, and actions on the field.
Next, George addressed Ted Phillips and his role with the Bears. Ted isn't going anywhere and he will continue to do what he does because George trusts him. The Arlington Heights project will be Phillips' primary focus, according to George, but he will also be assisting in the hiring process of their new leaders. Specifically, Phillips will be negotiating the contracts of their new GM and head coach.
The Chicago Bears are bringing in former NFL executive Bill Polian to help them find their new leaders. Plian spent over two decades running NFL front offices and won a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts over the Bears in 2006.
McCaskey says ideally they will hire a new GM first. With Bill Polian's guidance, he's confident they can get it right. If a head coach becomes available, they will do what they can to bring him in.
How Can George McCaskey Remain the Chicago Bears' Chairman?
George McCaskey said making the playoffs in two of three years leading up to 2021 was enough to grant Pace and Nagy another shot. When asked about his own performance since taking over the role as Chairman, George stated that Bears' ownership and the board wishes he continue in the role.
He's also said multiple times that football is a results-oriented business and the Bears will measure progress by wins and losses on the field. While firing Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace was a necessary action, the leadership even higher up should be in question as well. Fortunately for McCaskey, his family runs the show.