LOOKING AHEAD TO THIS NFL OFFSEASON FOR THE BEARS

Photo+courtesy+of+Wikimedia+Commons.+

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Cameron Sullivan, Executive Sports Editor

After starting the season at an astounding 5-1, only the Chicago Bears could end up losing six straight and be 5-7. The Bears didn’t even get a win in the whole month of November, something only the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars also did. Great company, I know.

Watching the Bears have this tremendous start got me so excited to watch them; it almost reminded me of the 2018 season where they ended the year 12-4. Now, it couldn’t be less like that season. 

There is lots of blame to be passed around for the Bears’ downfall, like bad coaching, a horrible front office and some extremely subpar offensive production. I am going to break down where I believe everything went wrong this season and what changes I think need to be made in order to turn the Bears into a competent organization.

Front office

Like most things, all problems start at the top and trickle down. I believe in order to make the Bears a better team, they need to make some changes up front. I think it starts with cleaning the house, and, especially, getting rid of President of Football Operations Ted Phillips and General Manager Ryan Pace.

Phillips has been the man in charge since 1999 and since then they’ve only had seven winning seasons (14 losing ones) and have only won three playoff games. Yikes. With all these losing seasons, there seems to be a common denominator here. Phillips is the one who hires everyone, and it seems his choices haven’t been so great.

Phillips most recent hiring of Pace has yet to be proven a good one as Pace’s record as Bears GM is 39-52. Pace has made some questionable decisions in his time as GM, like trading up to draft Mitchell Trubisky with the second overall pick in the 2017 draft or signing Robert Quinn to a five-year $70 million deal who currently has one sack in his 409 snaps played as a Bear. 

There have been some good moves by Pace, but they don’t nearly amount to the mistakes he’s made, I believe it’s time for the Bears to move on from Phillips and Pace and find new faces of the organization.

Coaching

After winning coach of the year in 2018, Matt Nagy has been downright terrible. He hasn’t had a winning season since, and it seems as if he doesn’t know how to call a play to save his life. A new head coach is what the Bears need. Along with Nagy, I believe defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor should go as well. Pagano just hasn’t seemed to be able to replicate the defensive success Vic Fangio had in 2018.

There are some coaches the Bears should target: Pat Fitzgerald, current Northwestern head coach who has said he would leave there for the Bears and only the Bears; Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator; and Robert Saleh, San Francisco 49er’s defensive coordinator.

Fitzgerald, who is my personal favorite candidate for the job, was able to turn a not-so-great Northwestern football program into a powerhouse, and they are currently ranked fourteenth in the nation.

Bieniemy would be another great candidate as he has been a key factor to the Chief’s tremendous offense. He would hopefully be a better coach out of the Andy Reid coaching tree than the one we already have.

Saleh would be another fantastic option as he has turned the 49er’s into a top-five (when healthy) defense. Considering we are much more of a defensive team, he might be the best solution.

Offense

First things first on the offense, the biggest change that needs to be made is to the offensive line. Whether it’s using their first-round pick on an offensive lineman, signing a few free agents or trading for some, change in the offensive line definitely needs to be made. To put in perspective how atrocious the offensive line is, the Bears rank 17th in QB sack percentage with 5.86% with the lowest being the Pittsburgh Steelers with a QB sack percentage of 2.01%.

Another offensive change that needs to be made is with the quarterback. While there has been lots of QB controversy this year, we need to find our franchise guy. Nick Foles, who we thought would be our savior, just wasn’t it, and Trubisky isn’t the answer either.

If we draft a QB, I want to either see BYU’s Zach Wilson or Florida’s Kyle Trask. I think they’re both tremendous options. They are both Heisman candidates with a ton of talent. I would also like to potentially see Dak Prescott become a Bear if he decides to leave the Dallas Cowboys in free agency, as he was putting up MVP numbers until his gruesome ankle injury ruled him out for the rest of the year.

While most of these changes may not happen, it’s what I believe must happen in order for the Bear’s to contend next year. Whatever the Bears end up doing this offseason I’ll try my best to be optimistic and support their decision, even if I don’t specifically agree with it. Bear down and let’s hope for some 2021 success.