Chicago Bears News: Why is Ryan Pace safe?

CHICAGO, IL- JANUARY 19: The Chicago Bears new head coach John Fox (L) is greeted by Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace at a press conference on January 19, 2015 at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL- JANUARY 19: The Chicago Bears new head coach John Fox (L) is greeted by Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace at a press conference on January 19, 2015 at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bears head coach John Fox has shouldered all the blame for the team’s shortcomings over the past two and a half seasons but shouldn’t Ryan Pace have to answer for his mistakes?

John Fox’s days as Chicago Bears head coach are likely numbered.

Entering play this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Bears are currently 3-7 in Fox’s third season as their head coach. Over the course of his tenure as Bears’ head coach, Fox has a record of 12-30.

Prior to the Bears’ recent losses to the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions, there appeared to be momentum building towards the possibility of Fox returning for the fourth and final year of his contract in 2018. However, with the Bears appearing to be poorly coached and short of discipline over the past two weeks, Fox now may be the likeliest coach to be fired once the 2017 NFL regular season concludes.

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It’s become abundantly clear that the Bears need to move on from Fox but there is another question that remains. Why does Bears’ general manager Ryan Pace receive a pass for the team’s shortcomings?

Before we dive deeper into Pace and his missteps, the obvious caveat applies. The caveat being that former Bears’ general manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman, to quote former Chicago Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly, left the Bears in a “vortex of horsecrap”. Pace and Fox didn’t need to just rebuild the organization, they needed to first enter with biohazard suits and remove the toxic waste.

The toxic waste has been removed but there are still several blunders that Pace, not Fox, has made in attempting to rebuild the team.

The first and most egregious blunder that Pace has made is at the wide receiver position. No, Pace should not be blamed for the injury-riddled career that 2015 NFL first round selection Kevin White has had until this point. Pace shouldn’t even be blamed for the departure of Alshon Jeffery as the former Bears’ wide receiver was simply focused on leaving Chicago last off-season as opposed to signing the most lucrative contract.

For Pace, the blame comes at his failure to address the position. The group of wide receivers that the Bears trotted at the beginning of the 2017 NFL regular season should be a criminal offense. The severity of the offense is only magnified when you figure the Bears were entering the season with new quarterbacks in the form of veteran Mike Glennon and rookie Mitchell Trubisky. No quarterback can be expected to produce, in Glennon’s case, or develop, in Trubisky’s case, when they are working with wide receivers that would be relegated to special teams if they were on a contending NFL team.

Then, there is the quarterback position.

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Chicago Bears /

Chicago Bears

Signing Glennon to a $19 million-dollar guaranteed contract has been the biggest mistake that Pace has made to date in his time as general manager of the Bears. If Pace is to be believed, then the general manager knew since February that he would be selecting Trubisky in the 2017 NFL Draft, then there is no reason for Pace to have outbid himself for Glennon. And not only did Pace outbid himself but he overpaid by approximately $7 million to $10 million.

Moving past the mistake of Glennon, Pace once again outbid himself the night of the 2017 NFL Draft. Pace was not wrong to want Trubisky. Trubisky, with the proper coaching and development, has the potential to be a long-term fixture at the Bears’ quarterback position.

Pace’s error in judgment on draft night this past Spring came when the general manager sacrificed a total of four draft picks to move up one spot and select Trubisky. Pace and the Bears want to make us believe that a team like the Cleveland Browns were going to trade with the San Francisco 49ers to swipe Trubisky but there has been no concrete evidence of that. For Pace, he once again got dupped by the opposing side in his negotiations. While there is no price too high on a franchise quarterback, Pace could have had his franchise quarterback without having to make any trade and simply selecting Trubisky with the third overall selection.

Moving past Pace’s error in negotiations this past off-season, he has made two misevaluations of talent that have cost the team games this season.

The first misevaluation was the competition between Glennon and Trubisky. Pace implemented the plan of sitting Trubisky for the entire 2017 season and having Glennon be the full-time starting quarterback. The issue that the Bears were running into is that Trubisky was outplaying Glennon at every stop along the way. After pre-season, it was clear that Trubisky was the best quarterback that the Bears had on their roster. However, staying true to his plan, Pace insisted on Glennon being the starter.

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All it took for Pace to alter the plan was a 1-3 start to the season with Glennon struggling to play keep away from the opposing defense.

The second misevaluation from Pace this season was the blind faith in Connor Barth. Pace was the only supporter that Barth had in Chicago. How did Barth reward Pace’s support? By missing a potential game-tying field goal on Sunday against the Detroit Lions and dropping the Bears record to 3-7 on the season.

What’s the outcome from all this?

The outcome is that John Fox will be fired as the Chicago Bears head coach at the end of the season, but more importantly, Ryan Pace needs to be on the hot seat.