By their own admission, the people running the Chicago Bears are made up of fans – not football people. While it seems astonishing to me that the grandson of the founder of the NFL openly admits he doesn’t know more football than the rest of us, we have to just accept it for what it is: George McCaskey still doesn’t understand how to run a football team.
Fans of the Chicago Bears experienced a golden age in their franchise’s long history for about 4 and a half hours yesterday, from about 8:30 AM to 1 PM when the McCaskey press conference started.
Most of us were hopeful more change was coming, but at 1 PM the worst possible scenario was confirmed: George McCaskey will be holding the next general manager and head coach responsible. However, if these are the cards the franchise is dealing us then surely there has to be a solution that still nets the Bears a promising future.
The biggest problem with Ryan Pace’s tenure is that his impulsive decisions went unchecked. Over time he did learn from his experiences but that didn’t stop his early mistakes from setting back the franchise. The biggest issue with McCaskey is by his own admission, he’s a fan but he’s not even an attentive fan.
If you’re a self-proclaimed fan, there is no way you approve the Glennon contract if you watched him play even once. There is no way you approve trading up from pick 3 to pick 2 for Mitch Trubisky when there are three highly touted quarterbacks in the class (meaning the Bears were guaranteed one even if both teams in front took a QB). These are things average fans know, let alone football people.
These moves by Ryan Pace went unchecked and set the team back. If McCaskey wants to feel bad that he had to fire his friend, he should first look at himself and realize that he handed a lot of power to an inexperienced candidate with zero other experienced voices in Halas Hall to share ideas with.
I say all this to make the point that George McCaskey needs to update his search criteria for the next GM. The one thing I took away from the press conference was that the Bears are structuring their GM job as a de facto ‘President of Football Ops’ job.
There is a lot of power with minimal accountability and plenty of patience from ownership up for grabs in one of the NFL’s premier markets. Regardless of how McCaskey embarrassed himself and this team yesterday, people will line up for this job which Dan Wiederer confirmed yesterday.
The Chicago Bears have a desirable GM opening but need to have stronger search criteria.
Since the Bears seem committed to letting their GM run all of the football operations, they absolutely cannot take chances on inexperienced candidates that haven’t held a GM or Executive Vice President title.
Letting someone else come in and learn on the job as Pace did would result in a repeat of what has happened in the last 7 years. They need someone who has already made the mistakes, learned from them, and knows how to turn this team around quickly and efficiently because McCaskey surely won’t be of any help in steering the GM on the right path.
Additionally, the Bears need to weigh the resume and background more than the interview. It will be easy for many candidates to sweet-talk this “dream team” panel into a vision but the Bears need more than that. Look at the team they’re coming from, look at the recommendations, look at the team’s success, their culture, etc.
So far it appears like the Chicago Bears understand this as evidenced by the names they’ve already requested to interview. Personally, I’m waiting to see Omar Khan and Rick Smith from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans, respectively, get a shot. However, with this team, I’m reserving all excitement until the day any actual hire is announced.