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McCaskey On 17th Game: No.

| April 2nd, 2021


This was apparently a near-unanimous vote. So the question becomes why didn’t George want that 17th game? Was he siding with the players? More to come…

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Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy Will Return in 2021.

| January 13th, 2021


Both men will meet the media at 10:00 AM CT Wednesday (my birthday). Stay tuned to this space for a response to that press conference.

A few notes:

  • George McCaskey made clear what many of us have known: this ownership group loves Ryan Pace and trusts him to right the ship. (Do they love Nagy? I’m not sure but they trust Ryan on him.)
  • No contract extensions for either doesn’t automatically mean next season is “win or gone” but it will increase the pressure.
  • George: “We need better production from the quarterback position to be successful.” Bingo.
  • George suggested he’s more confident in Pace selecting the next franchise QB because Nagy will be involved in that process. It is very obvious ownership wants this group to succeed and is going to give them every chance to do that.
  • Weird moment when Ted wouldn’t answer how long the Nagy/Pace contracts are. Not sure I get why that would be privileged information but it does suggest these guys might not be expiring after 2021.
  • Pace made it very clear that this entire offseason is about the quarterback position.
  • Prodded about the 2017 draft by Dan Wiederer, Pace would not take the bait and kill Trubisky. Nagy was pressed as well, and passed. There’s no reason to do it.

One thing is very clear from today: Mitch Trubisky will not be on the Chicago Bears next season.

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As Bears Sit in No Man’s Land, Three Possible Roads for George McCaskey

| December 9th, 2020


Welcome to No Man’s Land.

That’s where the Chicago Bears organization resides on December 9, 2020. They’re not a talented, aging team with a closing championship window. They’re not a young, rebuilding side with their eyes on the future. They’re nowhere. They don’t exist.

Two years ago that was not the case. Coming out of the 2018 campaign the defense was stacked. The head coach was a breath of fresh air. The quarterback had shown enough promise under the new regime to make fans believe he could be “they guy”. Now the defense is fading before our very eyes. The head coach has relinquished play-calling duties and any sense of job security. The quarterback will be looking for a job come March.

And there are only three possible roads forward. (For the sake of argument, let’s assume Ted Phillips is re-assigned away from football operations. It’ll likely happen as a symbolic gesture, if nothing else.)


Road One. Do That To Me One More Time.

Ryan Pace would be entering the final year of his contract. Matt Nagy would be entering the penultimate year of his contract; a de facto final year as coaches rarely work on a “final” year for some reason no one has ever clearly explained to me. The factors that could lead to George McCaskey bringing both back:

  • The defensive contracts. Kyle Fuller has voidable 2022-23 seasons. Akiem Hicks is off the books after next season. Per Sportrac, Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn have “outs” after next season. The guys on this defense in 2020 are likely to be the guys on this defense in 2021. But the unit could look ENTIRELY different in 2022.
  • As Andrew pointed out yesterday, Nagy could argue two things: (a) the offense is improving and (b) he needs better players, including a quarterback. (Where that quarterback would be coming from is a different matter entirely.) He could also make a needed change at defensive coordinator to reinvigorate that side of the ball.
  • The post-Covid salary cap. The new GM’s role this off-season would be a complete tear down because there’s not going to be any money to enhance the current roster. Do the Bears really want to try and send Fuller, Mack and company out of town this spring and commit to a 2-3 win 2021? Can the organization afford to have an apathetic fan base in September? (They would.)

Road Two. Go Your Own Way.

Would the Bears fire one and not the other? It’s possible.

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A Pragmatic Pause: If Bears Win Next Two, Pace/Nagy Should Be Allowed to Finish Season

| December 3rd, 2020


The story feels written. The outcome assured. After the full-team collapse Sunday night in Wisconsin, it will surprise no one if, at season’s end or sooner, George McCaskey and family fire Ryan Pace, fire Matt Nagy and reassign Ted Phillips within the organization, away from football operations.

But for those wanting these changes to take place yesterday (or the day before) it is time for a pragmatic pause. Because while this season feels over, it is not actually over. The Bears face the bad Lions, with an interim coach and lame-thumbed quarterback, Sunday at Soldier Field. They face the bad Texans, who were apparently popping PEDs like Sweet Tarts, in that same building the following week. If they win both of those of those games they will be 7-6 and viably challenging for spot in the tournament.

And making the tournament still matters. The Bears, for as bad as they’ve looked offensively through this five-game losing streak, are one game out of the 7th spot and a game and a half out of the 6th spot currently held by Tampa, a team they have beaten. Just because this current incarnation of the club has zero shot of winning the Super Bowl doesn’t mean a playoff berth ceases to be an achievement. Winning these next two games would, if nothing else, earn Pace and Nagy the right to complete this 2020 campaign. That’s it. It would allow them the opportunity to fix the mess they’ve created. Is that likely? Of course not.

If the Bears lose EITHER of these next two games, the time for pragmatism ends. A seventh loss with three (or four) to play ends the dream of January football. And not making the playoff field in a year where the NFC has this little depth is certainly cause for termination. If the Bears lose either of these next two games, Pace and Nagy should be fired the following day. (The Ted reassignment can happen whenever.)

Will making changes in-season have any tangible impact? Unlikely. A few reasons:

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An Open Letter to George McCaskey and the Bears

| June 8th, 2020

Editor’s Note: This terrific letter was not written by me. But I agree with each and every word and was happy to attach DBB to its message.


8 June 2020

To Virginia McCaskey, George McCaskey, Ted Phillips and the Chicago Bears organization,

As lifelong Bears fans and members of the Bears community, we read the statement your franchise issued June 1 regarding the police murder of George Floyd, and we appreciate the organization’s identification of white supremacy and bad policing in Floyd’s immoral death.

Now it is time for you to say more.

George McCaskey wrote in his statement that following George Floyd’s murder, “we are witnessing the anger and frustration play out in protests across the nation, including Chicago.” He talked about addressing the murder in team meetings, and continuing the organization’s support of four Chicago community groups.

These are wonderful commitments. And listening to Akiem Hicks speak about those team meetings, which he said created “healing” in the locker room and “changed my perspective on life,” it sounds like they hit their mark for many of the players.

But a sports franchise’s statement needs to hit its mark with the public with the same tangible strength. 

The images and stories of police violence in Chicago this past week — against protesters, press and passerby — are horrific, yet not surprising. As Mayor Lightfoot noted, Chicago has a deep history of police violence, specifically against Black people. In the past week, we’ve seen an officer running over a 16-year-old girl in Roseland, officers shoving, brawling and clubbing protesters, and officers pepper spraying reporters

Then there were the officers who dragged a woman from her car Sunday afternoon in a mall parking lot, where she was shopping with friends, and beat her, kneeling on her neck.

Since protests in Chicago over Floyd’s killing began Friday, May 29, 344 complaints have been made against the Chicago Police Department, according to the head of the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, for excessive force, denial of counsel, improper search and seizure and verbal abuse.

Incredibly, one of those complaints is from Ghian Foreman, president of the Chicago Police Board, the independent civilian-led board that decides disciplinary cases involving police. Foreman’s complaint alleges that officers struck his legs with batons at least five times while he marched on 47th Street to protest police brutality.

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Bears to Donate Million Dollars to Local Charities

| May 23rd, 2019

One of the great things about the partnership between Ted Phillips and George McCaskey has been their committment to charity. And never has that been more apparent that their new initiative. From Larry Mayer on Da Site:


In honor of their 100th season, the Bears will donate a total of $1 million, divided into increments of $100,000 to 10 different charities nominated by fans.

All charities located within the Bears’ market will be eligible to benefit from the Community All-Pros program. Applications can be submitted online  at chicagobears.com/communityallpros from now through May 31.

“Part of the impetus for the Community All-Pros program is we didn’t want to just look back on the last 100 years, we wanted to look forward,” said Bears chairman George H. McCaskey. “We’re looking forward to it. We want the fans to be involved in the decision-making process and in the nomination process itself.”

All 10 charities will be nominated by fans across Illinois and the defined Bears home market. Nine charities will be selected by a Bears’ internal committee and announced in mid-July. The 10th charity will be narrowed down to three choices by the internal committee before it is opened to fan voting in October; the final charity will be announced the week prior to the last 2019 regular-season home game.

Each charity will be honored at a Bears’ 2019 home game. Fans are encouraged to share this information with charities they are invested in.

“We’re really excited about it,” McCaskey said. “We think it’s a great way to kick off the second century of the Chicago Bears.”


So fill out an application in the link above before the end of the month if you have a worth charity you want supported!

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George McCaskey plays the fool

| May 27th, 2015

There is only one man associated with the Chicago Bears who should be embarrassed by what happened with Ray McDonald.

It’s not Ray McDonald himself, who should definitely be embarrassed by his continued stupidity but is thankfully no longer associated with the Chicago Bears.

It’s not general manager Ryan Pace, who’s job depends on putting a team capable of winning games on the field.  His evaluation of players mainly applies to what happens on the field and in the locker room, and McDonald didn’t have any problems in those areas.

It’s not defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who vouched for McDonald before he signed with the Bears.  Even more than Pace, Fangio’s input should only be taken into account for on-field product and locker room behavior.  Fangio should not be relied upon as an authority for anything involving McDonald’s personal life away from the field, so McDonald having issues in that area does not reflect poorly on Vic Fangio.

No, the man who should be embarrassed today is none other than George McCaskey, the chairman of the Bears who describes himself as the man with the final say in any personnel moves that involve character issues.

McCaskey himself has said that he initially told Ryan Pace he could not sign Ray McDonald.  According to McCaskey’s own testimony, that came after reviewing a detailed file on McDonald put together by Chicago’s security staff.  But McDonald and McCaskey then had a face to face meeting in which McCaskey was hoodwinked into believing in McDonald, so he changed his mind despite the facts of the case, and McCaskey’s knowledge of them, remaining exactly the same.

From a business standpoint, hiring McDonald was not really a bad move.  The Bears gave him no guaranteed money and cut him instantly when he messed up again.  In that regard, they didn’t really do anything wrong, even if I’m not a fan of giving an alleged serial domestic abuser his 4th chance in under 12 months when he has not voiced any sort of public remorse for his actions.

But here is why McCaskey should be embarrassed: his comments in the immediate aftermath of the McDonald hiring reek of delusion and hypocrisy.  He spoke of the Bears having “a 96-year tradition of doing things a certain way” shortly after signing a man that, by his own judgment when presented only with the facts of the case, did not fit in with that way.

He also spoke about needing to do a “certain amount of discounting” of the alleged victim’s testimony, despite the fact that he freely admitted never having tried to actually hear that testimony from the alleged victim, her lawyer, or anyone associated with her.  To McCaskey’s credit, he does say there is a level of bias to be expected from everybody involved in the situation, yet he apparently failed to apply that bias filter to McDonald’s side of the story while publicly attaching it to the alleged victim, just one of the many ways he showed a complete ineptitude in handling domestic violence situations.

Ray McDonald fooled George McCaskey into going against his better judgment.  This led to McCaskey trying to claim some absurd moral high ground while simultaneously participating in victim shaming of a woman who has allegedly suffered at least three incidents of domestic violence in the past year.  When it all blew up in only 2 months, McCaskey was left looking like a fool, and his family’s “96-year tradition of doing things a certain way” sure sounds like a hollow boast.

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Diving Into the Offseason: GM Interviews, Coaching Candidates & the Free Agent List

| January 5th, 2015

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  • Bears set to interview Lake Dawson (Tuesday) and Chris Ballard (Wednesday) for their GM position, per Adam Schefter. You know what I’d like to see from the Bears this week? Once they identify the guy they want, hire him. If Ballard is the guy they’ve truly wanted since even before they fired Phil Emery a week ago (as was suggested in multiple locations), don’t let him leave Halas Hall Wednesday without discussing terms of the contract and scheduling the press conference for Thursday morning. The firings of Emery and Trestman were decisive actions by owner George McCaskey. Let’s keep that decisiveness going.
  • Here’s what worries me about Todd Bowles: his sideline demeanor reminds me of Marc Trestman and Lovie Smith and Dick Jauron. Bruce Arians described Bowles as “soft-spoken” and haven’t we seen how sideline stoicism plays in the city of Chicago? You can call this a non-issue if you like but the lack of fire and passion from the Bears has been a major issue over the last two seasons. McCaskey should be looking for a man to change that.
  • Second thought on this. Jim Fassel coached the Giants to a Super Bowl appearance during his time with the Giants but he was a nightmare off the field and was way too lenient with his players inside the locker room. Longtime Giants owner Wellington Mara wanted to follow Fassel with the polar opposite. He went to Tom Coughlin. Giants won two titles.

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Thoughts on George McCaskey Cleaning House Following Dismal 2014 Season

| December 30th, 2014

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I didn’t have one concrete theme from Black Monday but instead several distinct thoughts. Here they are.

Thought #1 – Emotion Not a Bad Thing

Football is a game of strategy and emotion. The strategy has spawned an entire industry of newfangled NFL writers who believe the $50 they spend for All-22 access makes them the heir apparent to Vince Lombardi. (X & O writing is quickly supplanting Combine analysis and salary cap breakdowns as the most surefire way to put me to sleep.) Strategy is why coaches are paid millions, why they sleep on their couches as their families fall apart at home and why play sheets now look like Greek diner menus in Clifton, New Jersey.

Emotion is the far less dissected issue, the far simpler issue and, in my estimation, just as important.

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Events of Last Two Weeks Make Clear Bears Biggest Need is Organizational Leadership

| December 18th, 2014

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Quick timeline…

Last week Aaron Kromer admitted to an act that would have led to his excommunication from 31 of the 32 NFL coaching staffs. But Marc Trestman, ever the genteel humanitarian,  wrapped his arms around a buddy and said, “People make mistakes. How about some cocoa over at my place?”

After that decision GM Phil Emery made clear in pre-Saints game comments the actions of Kromer (a) infuriated him and (b) would have been handled differently were he to have the power to handle them. Disciplining coaches does not come under the purview of the GM, Emery told us. That’s the head coach’s responsibility.

Now comes Wednesday night and the LEAK HEARD ROUND THE LEAGUE. Jay Cutler, the handsome man paid handsomely by Emery to be his franchise quarterback, was benched by the head coach in favor of Jimmy Clausen, a wretched quarterback with only one more win than me in the NFL. No word from coaches or front office alike led to a night and morning worth of speculation about last gasps from drowning coaches, $16M in injury settlements, Ken Whisenhunt trades…etc.

From the Twitter feed of Adam Hoge:

So Kromer doesn’t get fired, but Cutler gets benched? Trestman: “That’s a completely … That’s a question that I’m not going to answer.”

Of course that is a question Trestman is not going to answer. How can he answer it? What he was going to say is these issues are completely separate and he’s right. One individual admitted to publicly stabbing a player in the back. The other individual didn’t play well. He chose to fire the one who will have no impact on his future coaching career.

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