I remember an old joke from seventh grade: “Every party needs a party-pooper, that’s why we invited you!”
Following the last couple of weeks of unbridled enthusiasm throughout most of Bears-land, I feel like I’ve received a special navy-and-orange colored invitation to be this year’s party pooper.
Because words mean nothing, only actions do ... and I’ve seen far too many “fresh new starts” come crashing down around our ears around these parts.
Contrary to what most people seem to think about my opinion of Bears management and the overall organization, I’m not in any way gung-ho about the present state of our organization.
I do believe that the decision to fire John Fox and Dowell Loggains was right, and I think Matt Nagy is a good choice. The problem is, the decision to fire Fox and Loggains came at least a year too late. Therein lies one of my biggest concerns going forward.
I fear that people in Halas Hall have not realized to this day that needs are not mechanisms.
What on Earth am I talking about?
It’s simple: How many times have you heard somebody say “This needs to happen” or “this needs to improve”? Probably 10 times in the last hour.
Identifying the need is all well and good, but the trick of the twister is that to fix something, you have to have the mechanism to do it. Jordan Howard “needs” to have better hands. Okay, we all would agree ... but what is the mechanism to accomplish that? Do we have him spending five hours a day on the jugs machine? Is it mental, do we need to coach him up that way? Do we need to have him wear some of those sticky gloves? Those are mechanisms, and frankly the Bears have been very bad in developing effective mechanisms to fix our problems.
How anybody on the planet could have thought that Fox and Loggains were the right people to develop Mitchell Trubisky is simply beyond my comprehension, yet for whatever reason (loyalty, Halas Hall politics, etc.) that's how they rolled. Is there anything in their past to indicate they had the mechanisms to get the job done? No, there isn’t.
They needed to develop Trubisky, yet they didn’t have the mechanism in place to get it done.
They needed to have a competent game-manager quarterback in place (Trubisky or no Trubisky) to give them a chance to win games this year. The free-agent scouting crew (Ryan Pace and the pro-scouting department) gave us Mike Glennon. At $15 million large.
Look, I get it, every team that dips into free agency has hits and misses, but Glennon wasn’t just a miss, he was a world-class miss. He was an epic miss. He’s a Top-10 league wide free agent bust level miss, if not a top-five one.
Herein lies my concern.
A year after the fact. A ear after Fox and company should have been shown the door, there's a new coaching staff, one stacked full of people who have proven mechanisms to develop young quarterbacks.
Good! I am 100-percent down with that. Even though it’s a year late, we have found the mechanism to fit the need.
The same basic scouting crew and general manager that gave us Glennon, Dion Sims, Quintin Demps, Marcus Cooper, Markus Wheaton and Tom Compton is searching for this year’s free agent crop.
The Bears have major needs, and this is the mechanism they are using to fill them.
That’s not good. That is, in fact, quite bad
I know this probably will lead to Pace-bashing in the comments, and that I will probably be accused of being a Pace basher. I’m not a Pace basher. Having said that, what the Bears have had in the past when it comes to free agent acquisition has not been good enough by half, and it needs to improve. What is the mechanism that they're going to use? The same broken one we used last year.
In his year end press conference, Pace admitted that he made mistakes and that he needed to learn from them. In some ways, it looks like Pace has. Cleaning out the mess that was Chicago’s offensive leadership while keeping Vic Fangio is a very good start, so I’m pleased.
I like most of his drafting decisions, and he’s proven to be adept at finding NFL level talent late in drafts.
Until, however, I see major changes in the way the Bears approach free agency, I’m very hesitant to climb on the “enthusiasm bandwagon”.
So far, I’m not seeing the optimism.
The Bears cannot afford another season of Glennon-type free agents.