The Chicago Bears held their end of the season press conference on Wednesday morning at Halas Hall. After going 3-13, Ryan Pace and John Fox had some explaining to do.
Here are seven knee-jerk reactions to the Bears season ending presser;
1. No Big Changes
There were several rumors throughout the year that there would be big changes to the Bears front office and coaching staff. Well, that wasn’t the case. The front office hierarchy is staying intact with Ryan Pace remaining in full control.
As for the coaching staff, both coordinators Dowell Loggains and Vic Fangio will remain with the team for next season. That news was somewhat surprising considering Mike McCoy (a former John Fox assistant) recently hit the market.
Many questioned Dowell Loggains play calling throughout the season and rightfully so. Both Ryan Pace and John Fox believed that play calling wasn’t the problem, rather than inconsistency and game flow.
There were some small changes to the coaching staff. Longtime John Fox assistants Dave Magazu (offensive line coach) and Sam Garnes (assistant defensive backs coach) were let go. While running backs coach Stan Drayton left willingly to join the Texas Longhorns staff.
Ultimately, a lot of us would have like to see Dowell Loggains replaced, but Vic Fangio remaining with the team is big, big win.
2. Bears are going to be aggressive this offseason
Ryan Pace stated that the Bears are top five in all of the NFL in cap space and that they have a lot of high draft picks. This is an encouraging sign.
Make no mistake about it. The Bears have put themselves in a nice position to spend some money on some big time play-makers. Another good sign is that the entire Bears staff will be at the Senior Bowl coaching and scouting. This will allow them to see and evaluate many, many players.
3. Ryan Pace understands the quarterback situation
Ryan Pace made it clear during the 45-minute long press conference that the quarterback position is the most important position, and that everything will be explored when it comes to the position.
This means the Bears will be looking to find a quarterback via the draft, via trade or even free agency. Pace also mentioned that having a “bridge” quarterback could be an option for next season.
The Bears also hinted that a certain quarterback would be traded.
4. The Bears will attempt to trade Jay Cutler and Kyle Fuller this offseason
The Bears had some very interesting comments when it came to Jay Cutler.
Pace praised Cutler’s ability to heal quickly from injuries. This was done for one reason, and one reason only. To drive up Cutler’s trade value. This should come as no surprise.
Both, Cutler and the Bears need a change. Cutler can be successful on another team. He has been done in Chicago for a long time. It appears Pace is finally going to do what several general managers have failed to: part ways with Cutler.
Pace also spoke highly of Kyle Fuller. This was a similar tactic used when talking about Cutler. Pace was trying to increase his trade value. When Fuller was called out by Fangio, his future was pretty much set in stone.
5. The Secondary is going to look a whole lot different in 2017
The Bears secondary was a downright disaster in 2016. Injuries, and a straight-up lack of talent costed the team a lot in 2016. Ryan Pace took responsibility for the disaster that was the Bears secondary.
Again, he stressed that the team has a lot of cap space and high draft picks going forward. After listening to his comments, you have to believe that the quarterback position and secondary are on the top of the list of things to do this offseason.
Landing big name free agents and successfully drafting players is far from an easy task. However, it was nice to hear Pace directly address the two most inconsistent positions on the roster.
6. Ryan Pace is the right man for the job, not so sure about John Fox
The roster Ryan Pace inherited was absolute garbage. This job was never going to be a quick and easy one for the front office. With that being said, Pace has done a very nice job of finding talent in the draft, which past front office members failed to do consistently.
Pace has done a lot of nice things. The fact is that this rebuild needs time. Pace needs at least two more drafts. That’s a fact. Ownership should see and understand that. John Fox, on the other hand, is a different story.
Fox deserves some credit. The locker room and effort have been great during his tenure. The wins just simply haven’t been. Does Fox deserve another year? Yes. Is he the long term answer? Maybe not.
7. Talk is cheap
The Bears brass did a lot of talking on Wednesday. That’s great and all, but as John Fox said: “talk is cheap.” Until we start seeing moves being made, and players being traded, Bears fans have to and will be skeptical.
If the Bears don’t show much improvement next season, John Fox and his entire coaching staff will be gone. Hopefully, Pace can add talented players to this roster, but we already knew that had to happen.
This press conference wasn’t anything special. It was nice to see Pace address some of the obvious weaknesses on the team, and some of the mistakes his regime has made. Yes, the Bears have added some impact players to their roster, but they are far away from this thing being done. The press conference reiterated that.