The best news I received this past Monday was the news that Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy would indeed finish out the season. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Nagy being fired would provide more short-term satisfaction for Bears fans followed by long-term disappointment.
If Nagy were to be fired – or informed he was going to be fired, as many fans clamored for, the Chicago Bears would have been able to kick off their next coaching search and schedule interviews with a number of potential head coaching candidates in these last two weeks of the regular season.
However, consider who would be leading those interviews: it would be Ryan Pace. If management had decided they wanted to take advantage of these two weeks, it would be a clear sign that Ryan Pace’s job is much more secure than people have been speculating. No coach would want to entertain an opportunity with a team whose general manager is on an unsteady footing with ownership and so, if Pace was permitted to interview coaches, it would likely be with a verbal understanding from ownership that an extension was imminent.
Had they fired both on Monday – or informed them rather, it would have made more sense than just firing one. However, since that didn’t happen – holding onto both for the remaining two weeks was a more sound decision than letting one go. In fact, their decision to not make any decisions signals that bigger changes are in store for the Chicago Bears front office.
The Chicago Bears are in store for a massive organizational shakeup
The reason fans should be elated that no decision has been made on neither Pace nor Nagy is that it signals that chairman McCaskey and president Ted Phillips are distancing themselves from the decision-making process. If McCaskey and Ted were taking responsibility for the next faces of the Bears front office and coaching staff, then surely some decisions would have been made today. After all, they would be the ones conducting interviews and making hiring decisions so not taking advantage of these next two weeks would be tantamount to organizational malpractice.
What their recent inaction does indicate is that they’re probably looking into hiring someone new to run football operations (like how the Bulls hired Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley) and then let those new hires make decisions on Matt Nagy. Arturas was brought in as Gar Forman was let go, and ultimately ownership allowed AKME to make the final call on Jim Boylen.
This is what needs to happen for the Chicago Bears. McCaskey and Ted need to focus on finding the right guy to give the keys to the franchise, and then let that person be the sole driver behind the wheel. This new hire’s decisions will indicate the new direction of the Chicago Bears to prospective coaching candidates – and that’s ultimately what will draw more people to this coaching vacancy.
Letting someone new make all the final decisions is a great sign the Chicago Bears have learned from the past
The Chicago Bears have a lot going for them: charter franchise, a rookie QB with immense potential, a solid roster filled with young promising talent, expiring veteran contracts, and lastly, plans for a new stadium.
This should be the best job on the open market for coaches and league executives, not to mention it’ll be coupled with non-invasive ownership. If ownership doubles down on this by actually hiring a true president of football operations while Ted and George turn their attention to the new stadium, things could turn around rather quickly for this organization.
Additionally, regarding these next two weeks of scouting coaching candidates, there are a few things to consider. First off, I would much rather have the Bears wait to hire someone to run the entire coaching search than have it be polluted by George and Ted’s analysis. Secondly, people around the league are aware of what the Chicago Bears are attempting to build around Justin Fields so if the Bears wait a couple of extra weeks to call the great candidates will wait. No one is going to take the Jacksonville job over the Bears if the opportunity presents itself.
Lastly, there are surprising coaching candidates on the market every single year. I know everyone’s been dreaming about Sean Payton, but there could be other candidates that become surprisingly available. Even if your favorite candidate gets hired in these next two weeks, it’s not the end of the world – the Bears can still get their guy if they can first hire the right president of football ops and general manager to find them.
Ultimately, this is where ownership’s focus needs to be: on hiring the Chicago Bears’ first-ever true president of football operations. George and Ted scouting coaches before sorting this out would be a great distraction from what needs to happen first. Hire the right president, let them do the rest.