I’ve suffered as a Bears fan as long as most any of you, being in my early 40s. I want Ryan Pace and the players he selects to succeed as much as any of you.
I’m just miffed at how much gets made up in order to hold onto that hope that Pace is the right guy for the job. It’s one thing to say "Pace is learning, he’ll figure it out." It’s another to say that every move he made was the right move when there’s blatant evidence to the contrary. A bad move is a bad move. It doesn’t mean Pace can’t be a good GM. Even the best GMs make bad moves, but let’s at least be honest about what’s going on with this team.
1. Kevin White was on the right track to becoming an impact player.
There was no evidence of this whatsoever at the NFL level. Maybe he needs more time but just as far as what we’ve seen, it wasn’t there. He was a zero in games 1 & 2, then being mediocre in Game 3 was seen as "improvement" and "progress". No. Cam Meredith showed more in one game than White did in 4 games, and that was with White being fed the ball. It’s a safe prediction that White will never live up to his draft billing at this point. It’s also a safe prediction that injuries will always be blamed for White’s lack of development, effectively letting Pace off the hook for what looks like a tremendous failure.
2. Leonard Floyd was a good draft pick.
He’s not ready. He might be a really good player once he puts on weight. He also might never be ready. As of right now, he’s not good. I can tell you that.
3. Jeremy Langford was a good draft pick.
Good running backs typically show it right away, during their rookie years. Receiving and pass blocking come later, but usually, running is running. Pass blocking is nice but the #1 job is to run and Langford was simply not a very good runner by all objective metrics, and arguably, a very bad runner. He had a chance to show he was a feature back and didn’t appear up to the job. Now I’m just hoping he can be a third down back, change-of-pace type. That wouldn't be a horrible outcome, but not good for a 4th round pick since third down backs are easy to find.
4. We’re better off without Forte, Bennett, Marshall and Slauson.
Say what you want about each individual decision but collectively, that’s a big outflow of talent, 4 starters out of 11, with all 4 guys starting elsewhere. If you’re going to let all that talent go, you better replace it with a similar level of talent. That hasn't really . The team has gotten younger, but also gotten worse. I’m glad Marshall is gone but we’d be better off with Forte than with Kadeem Carey, IMO. I think we’d be much, much better off with Bennett than Logan Paulson. Even Slauson, are you telling me that a guy starting for a high-powered Chargers offense couldn’t man the C position for a year while Grasu heals? I love Whitehair, but Pace could have gone one more year with Slauson and proactively dealt with the QB position instead of the interior of the O-Line. In Slauson’s case, I'm not saying we lost a great player but it’s like upgrading tires when your transmission is leaking fluid. Sure, you need new tires eventually and better tires can instantly improve your car’s performance, but there are just so many other problems right now that could have been addressed instead.
5. We’re better off without Robbie Gould.
Going into the offseason, did anyone think Robbie needed to be replaced? Some called for competition, which never came. Robbie looked shaky during preseason and made many of us nervous. Still, did any of us expect him to bet cut? Then he gets cut and suddenly the narrative changed to "Robbie sucks. Good riddance." I swear, nobody said that until he was cut.
Then when Barth goes out there stinking it up, suddenly it’s, "Well Robbie would have missed the same kicks." Robbie had a good year last year. Based on history, no, he wouldn’t have missed the same kicks. Robbie has never been as bad as Barth has been, so how do you know he would have completely stunk the way Barth has? Robbie could have stunk, absolutely, but to say he would have is conjecture at best and most likely, just plain wishful thinking. What we know is that Pace replaced Robbie with Barth, and Barth stinks. We’re not better off.
6. Grasu will be back as a starter.
This to me is pure "Ryan Pace can’t be wrong with his picks" speculation. Grasu was considered pure C, not OG. He’s going to beat out Whitehair? Whitehair is going to replace Long or Sitton? I don’t think so. Grasu didn’t look good in his rookie year, and that’s totally fine, but it makes projecting him to be our starting C very flimsy. Maybe he could have taken that next step but also, maybe not. The team has a strong interior of the line to move forward with, but I would not expect Grasu to be part of it except for depth, and even then he only really has value if he can play OG too.
7. We don’t need another QB.
Pace screwed up so bad here I’m pulling what’s left of my hair out over it. The article by Perez last week was the best one, I’m not going to rehash it. Pace couldn’t do it because he had to stick to his draft board, but what’s he going to do now, go another year with no hope at the game’s most important position? He’s painted himself into a corner, now he HAS to draft one, whether his draft board says so or not. And let’s look at that draft board, shall we? Pace had to stick to a draft board that rated Deon Bush, Nick Kwiatkowski and Deiondre’ Hall as must-have players over Dak Prescott? Hall, I kinda get because we needed some DBs but the team had no need for another SS nor another ILB, how good those players are doesn’t matter. As for those players, Bush can’t even get on the field and was drafted higher than projected, why did we need to take him again? So now, we’re passing on a QB to stick to a bad draft board. Suggesting Prescott is totally 20/20 hindsight on my part, but that doesn’t matter. He had 3 fourth-round picks to address the QB position and he didn’t do it. He could have done it rounds 1-3 as well, that’s 6 picks, no QB and no hope.
8. This is Angelo’s and Emery’s fault. You can’t expect Pace to turn this thing around in 2 years.
I’ve already addressed this, but this is Pace’s team. And while you can’t expect a complete turnaround in Year 2, you can expect results and signs of improvement. In fact, a lack of results and improvement should cause concern. We’ll give a partial pass due to injuries but as we all know, injuries are part of the NFL.
9. Hoyer isn’t really playing that well.
Look, I preferred Cutler over Hoyer as recently as a week ago. I’ve always defended Cutler and preferred him to McCown, (though I admit, I now question that). But you can’t deny that Hoyer is playing really well right now. He dinks and dunks. His offense is leaving points on the field. He missed Alshon to win the game against the Colts. All that is true. But he hasn’t turned the ball over once yet. History shows that he will but again, he hasn’t. The defenses he’s facing are bad, but you can only rate him based on the games he plays in and in the games he plays in, he’s playing very well. I want more points, sure, but I’m willing to accept fewer points for zero turnovers. It’s nothing against Cutler to say that about Hoyer. I would accept fewer points out of Cutler for reduced TOs as well and if you were to get any of his coaches alone, I think they’d tell you the same.
10. Pace has this team on the right track.
He does not. See 1-8. He has this team on a mediocre-if-best track, along with the perfect coach for that goal. Two years is enough time in the NFL to clean up the mess of others and establish your own culture. Looks like Pace will need another year for that basic, preliminary step.
Pace is a young GM and he’s learning on the job. Whether or not you want to admit it, he’s making mistakes, lots of mistakes. Saying mistakes aren’t really mistakes, saying he’s not to blame for his mistakes, it’s just wishful thinking. I’m not saying to fire Pace, I’m just saying, we’re not helping ourselves by denying the truth or denying Pace’s accountability for his decisions. It’s not too late for him to learn from his mistakes, that’s what we have to hope for because like the rest of you, I don’t want to see him fired and start this merry-go-round all over again.