Hub Arkush: Ryan Pace, Matt Nagy do best to sell Andy Dalton, offseason moves

Important part of their message is ‘let’s have a draft before we close any doors’

On Thursday, I told you I had four burning questions for Bears general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy.

On Friday, three of those questions were discussed, one actually was answered and in that answer came a recurring theme based on what appears to be a total myth.

Before we got to my issues, Pace was asked how he feels the Bears could be better today than they were at the end of last season.

“So I think, as we go through it, and first off, getting guys back like Cairo Santos and Mario Edwards and Germain Ifedi, just to name a few, that was kind of the first step in our offseason process,” Pace said. “Were we big spenders in free agency? No.

“But I thought we addressed a lot of needs as you talk about, guys like Andy Dalton and Angelo Blackson and Jeremiah Attaochu, Desmond Trufant, Christian Jones, Elijah Wilkinson, Damien Williams, to name a few, those were all needs for us and important players for us to add, and that’s all before we go into the draft with eight picks.

“I think of guys like Jaylon Johnson and Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney, James Daniels, David Montgomery, those guys continuing to grow, that bodes well for the Bears.”

My question about why the team might allow Akiem Hicks to seek a trade wasn’t addressed, but all appearances are Hicks will be back this season.

With that as an important caveat, I think Pace made some fair points if you exclude Dalton, who may not be worse than Mitch Trubisky, Ifedi and Wilkinson.

One question I did get to ask Pace was why no compensation for losing Fuller, and he said, “We explore everything before those moves are made.

“So we were very thorough with that process, and I think there is a difference from a salary standpoint from what you’re talking about,” Pace said. “But we go through those things, we explore all those scenarios before those moves are made, including trades or reductions or what-not, and that’s just the way it worked out.”

In other words, if there is an answer, he wasn’t sharing.

Question No. 3 – What offense are the Bears running this year, the one that worked the last six weeks of the season or the one that didn’t the first 10? – wasn’t asked quite that way, but the emphatic proclamation from Nagy that he will be reclaiming play-calling from the jump told us what we need to know. They’re going to do it his way, not Bill Lazor’s.

Lastly, why name Dalton the starter this year when last year Foles was forced to compete, even though he came at a much heftier price tag?

That answer was a good one.

Nagy felt that the experience with limited reps last year because of the pandemic, the offense, Trubisky and Foles all were hurt by getting only half the reps with the first team.

This year, with no clear knowledge how the pandemic will affect the team before the season, he wants one guy to get all the first-team reps. The logic there is clear.

Unfortunately, both Nagy and Pace made it that much less clear why that guy is Dalton over Foles.

I refuse to spend the whole spring and summer dissing Dalton. He doesn’t deserve it, and I don’t enjoy it.

But in answers from Pace to three questions and from Nagy to two questions, they highlighted the belief that Dalton makes good decisions as a determining factor.

Sadly, the facts dispute that premise.

It’s hard to find two better measures of a quarterback’s decision making than completion percentage and touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio.

In three of Dalton’s nine seasons as a starter, he completed less than 60% of his passes, basically a D to even an F on an NFL bell curve for starters. In two more, he was below 62%, and in a sixth, he was at 62.3%.

Dalton’s career touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio of 218-to-126 is awful, and believe it or not, that 1.73-to-1 ratio is identical to Trubisky’s 64 career TDs and 37 picks.

Dalton’s career playoff stats are a 55.7% completion rate with one touchdown and six interceptions, the main ingredients to his 0-4 record.

I guess all we can do is hope that somehow Pace’s and Nagy’s decisions will prove to be a lot better than Dalton’s.

Hub Arkush

Hub Arkush is a Bears/NFL Insider for Shaw Media