When it comes to Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy, the Chicago Bears have to keep both or neither.
It was this calendar year that Ted Phillips and George McCaskey attempted to sell the fan base on the collaboration that would occur between the team’s head coach and general manager. The men were now on equal footing and, more likely, Pace was no longer the top football mind in the organization. Reports about the Bears investigating Nagy’s good friend Mike Borgonzi as a possible replacement for Pace didn’t come from thin air. Pair that with Louis Riddick’s insistence that it is no longer Pace’s show and it’s logical to conclude that Nagy signed off on keeping Pace.
But now another season has began and the Bears offense is still bad.
Pace won over fans because he’s seen as the roster builder and that approach led to the Bears landing Justin Fields. The reality is that it was Nagy who was doing the legwork on Fields and had the final say in picking Fields over Mac Jones. But nobody cares about reality during the course of a season. The Bears offense is the worst in the league and both the GM and head coach have blame to share.
It’s hard for the Bears to run a regular passing offense when they have to keep six blockers in every play. What makes it even more difficult is that the team has maybe three adequate pass catchers in a league that requires at least five without an MVP-level quarterback. Fields isn’t there yet.
The Bears offense has gotten worse since Pace took over.
- The team was 10th in offensive DVOA in 2015, Pace’s first year, with a roster built mostly by Phil Emery. ‘
- They lost Adam Gase and, more importantly, Jay Cutler was injured in 2016 as the offense fell to 17th in 2016 then 28th in 2017.
- Nagy came in 2018 and the team was 20th in DVOA before dropping to 25th in 2019 and 2020.
- They’re currently 26th in 2021.
Only once in Pace’s time with the Bears has the team ranked inside the top 20 in points per game. That came in 2018 when they were ninth. That offense was adequate outside of the Chase Daniel games.
If you’re still questioning if Pace deserves a large share of the blame, look at the receiving options he has acquired during his time with the Bears. Eddie Royal, Kevin White, Anthony Miller, Dion Sims, Adam Shaheen, Trey Burton, Kendall Wright… I’ll stop there.
It’s impossible to look at the Bears offensive talent the last seven years and say that Pace has done a good job. A team with a rookie quarterback, 39-year-old Jason Peters at left tackle and Marquise Goodwin as the third receiver shouldn’t be expected to light up the scoreboard.
But they also shouldn’t be the worst unit in the league. It’s also impossible to say that Nagy has gotten the most out of that talent, as lacking as it may be. A good coach finds a way to at least move the ball and the Bears aren’t doing that.
If the Bears can’t get out from the bottom of the league offensively by the end of the year, they should make sweeping changes. Neither Pace nor Nagy has done a good enough job.