My overriding reaction to what happened at Halas Hall Tuesday in Ryan Pace’s and Matt Nagy’s season-ending press conference: What exactly did you expect?
Anyone who hoped for definitive answers on the futures of Mitch Trubisky, Adam Shaheen, Trey Burton, Charles Leno, Leonard Floyd, Nick Kwiatkoski, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and others, that’s your bad, not Pace’s or Nagy’s.
The NFL is a cold and often cruel business in which players — more than friends, fathers, sons and brothers — are just assets.
Diminishing any remaining value they may have by throwing them under the bus would just be compounding a disappointing season with a final act of stupidity.
At 3:00 p.m. Chicago time on Mar. 18th, the 2020 “league year” will begin. Until then, other than perhaps the re-signing of one or a few of their own free agents, or restructuring of an existing deal to create salary cap space, we aren’t really going to learn anything about the 2020 Chicago Bears.
So although Nagy told us he hadn’t gotten to any potential coaching changes yet, only to learn via Twitter an hour or so later that Mark Helfrich, Harry Hiestand, Kevin Gilbride and Brock Olivo had all been fired was disappointing, it probably assuaged the concerns of some of the haters that nothing was going to change.
I think the firing of Hiestand is a huge mistake, but we’ll save that for another day.
What I can’t understand is how the Twitter-verse was filled with frustrated fans howling at the moon about how dare the Bears claim all is well.
That is clearly not what Pace and Nagy had to say.
Specifically, when asked how he could expect Bears Nation to believe things would improve with a struggling quarterback and play-caller returning, Pace told us, “We sit here today disappointed in our season. Obviously, we expect more of ourselves, from our team. We didn't hit the goals we set out to achieve.
“The next four or five months are about hard decisions, honestly, decisions that require an honest assessment of our roster and our entire football operation.
“It is about identifying problems, gaining clarity on the issues, doing whatever it takes to solve them.
“Our head is not in the sand, that everything is fine. Not at all.
“We never want this feeling in our guts ever again.
“I think if you look throughout our team, we were disappointed in a number of things.
“When I talk about hard decisions in the next four to five months, that's us stepping back, letting the emotions subside, what are the problems, what are the solutions, how are we going to fix that. We're all on board with that.”
That’s good enough for me, for now.
Obviously, Mitch Trubisky is the Bears starting quarterback, until he isn’t anymore.
But there was one spin on that which cannot fly.
Pace, Nagy, team Chairman George McCaskey and Ted Phillips obviously rehearsed their talking points and were all singing from the same hymns book about Trubisky.
Asked why they still believe in Mitch, each in turn essentially repeated, we’ve seen the flashes of the great things he can do; now we just need consistency.
Digging a little deeper, Nagy offered that his young QB has to get better at reading defenses and making the right decisions.
I have seen the flashes, and I agree there may still be something there to covet.
But when you are bad more often than you are good, that’s not about consistency, that’s about learning the position and getting better.
Reading defenses and making the right decisions, that’s about learning the position, too— it has little to do with consistency — and too many great QB prospects show a lot more flashes than Mitch has but never become “the guy.”
I’m all for continuing the experiment, and I’m actually pulling for the kid, I really am.
But let’s make sure we don’t pretend he’s closer than he is, it’s going to be easier than we think or that there is anything acceptable about not having a real plan B this time when the 2020 season begins.