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Mitch, Matt & Missing Playmakers: Why the Ryan Pace Era Should Be Over

| December 6th, 2021


Dave Wasserman is the savviest political analyst in the country. He’s not a partisan hack, pontificating endlessly to halfwits like Chuck Todd about why Issue X plays in rural Virginia and Issue Y doesn’t in Maricopa County. Wasserman is focused on the numbers, the data, and made his bones focusing on congressional redistricting maps. (His Twitter feed is aptly handled @Redistrict.) On election nights, Wasserman pours through the data, county-by-county, and is often able to call races (accurately, mind you) well before the networks. When he’s ready to make the call, he turns to his catchphrase: I’ve seen enough. 

Well, I’ve seen enough.

Forget reassignment. Forget restructuring the front office. When George McCaskey finally fires Matt Nagy, he must also fire Ryan Pace. Pace has done several valuable things as GM of the Chicago Bears, but this organization’s dearth of talent at several key positions – positions vital to the development and success of Justin Fields – can no longer be overlooked. It is time for a new direction.

There are two fatal flaws of the Pace tenure: he drafted Mitch Trubisky and he hired Matt Nagy. Those mistakes have been discussed ad nauseum and need not be reiterated here. But watching the Bears fall to the Cardinals Sunday, a third fatal flaw became all-too-apparent once again. The Bears have simply failed to add enough game-changing playmakers in his seven years on the job.

Darnell Mooney is a terrific player and will thrive in a more coherent offensive system next season. But is there another pass catcher on this roster that even mildly concerns opposing defenses? Allen Robinson is headed towards a one-year prove it deal in New England. Goodwin, Byrd and Grant are practice squad players for the top teams in the league. Cole Kmet is a viable piece of an offensive attack but he’s not in the conversation with the marquee tight ends and he never will be. (To Kmet’s credit, that was not the expectation of him coming out of college.)

Their backfield is good. David Montgomery is a brilliant running back and there will be teams calling for his services this off-season. But while Tarik Cohen’s production earned him a hefty payday, his injury seems to have completely derailed any semblance of an explosive screen game. The Bears valued that role to the tune of $17 million but have seen no reason to replace him in the lineup. Has anyone asked why?

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