Being a Chicago Bears fan for 34 years has allowed me to be privy to a lot of things. One thing I have noticed recently is the futility that this team has displayed over the past few seasons. Here are some thoughts that I have to say, directed at the McCaskey family, about my beloved Bears.
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Dear Virginia and George McCaskey,
I have been a fan of the Chicago Bears for 34 years and have seen good and bad times. I started to like the Bears at about the time they were ramping up to go to the Super Bowl back in 1985. Those years were my favorite. The team had a certain swagger to it brought on by its coach, Mike Ditka; it’s defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan, and its players. That team was great and was extremely fun to watch.
Even more important was that other teams were afraid to play the Bears. I have talked with former NFL players who played Chicago back in the mid-80’s, and they tell me that they were afraid to play them. They knew that every time they played the Bears, they would get beaten and beat up. They had a reputation of being one of the fiercest defenses in the league. Chicago would get after the opposing quarterback and never let up. They would hit running backs and wide receivers so hard they thought twice about where they went on the next play. They were tough physically and mentally.
But most of all the won and they won convincingly.
Granted, we cannot resurrect that team bringing them back to storm the league once again. You might not even be able to repeat what that team had. Times have changed, players are different, and the rules are not the same. But we can bring back that swagger, determination and grit that the 1985 team displayed. We can get a coach with the personality that is reflected in the team’s play on the field. You can get the coordinators that put the bite back in the Bears’ defense and help to make their offense potent.
Before the Bears can get back to playing the way that they used to, you need to make some changes. It’s obvious that the current management structure that you have in place is not working. This team has been stuck since they lost the Super Bowl over ten years ago. You have gone through three general managers and three coaches since then and nothing is working. You have tried to make this team better but have failed and now it’s time you did something to fix it and fix it permanently.
First, you need to find a football person to run the operations and replace Ted Phillips. Granted, Phillips has been in the business for a long time, but he is not a football man and has not made wise decisions hiring especially recently. You need a true football person running the operations and making the decisions. That person needs to keep general manager Ryan Pace in check and help him make critical decisions. They need to know how to operate a football team and be successful. They need to do well with contracts and with making the team an appealing destination for free agents.
Second, when it comes to Ryan Pace, I think that you should keep him but provide him with tools to make better decisions especially when it comes to signing free agents. He needs to do his due diligence and make sure that the free agents he signs are healthy, still in their prime and work well with the team (have the right chemistry).
When it comes to drafting, Pace needs to do his due diligence there as well and trust his scouting department. He needs to check to be sure that potential draft picks aren’t injury risks and will play as close to a full 16-game schedule as they possibly can. They need to have the talent available throughout an entire season as opposed to three, four or five games.
I will talk more about injuries later.
Another thing that Pace needs to do is to plan better. The problems that the team has at the wide receiver position is a good example of needing to do this. They should have known that they were going to have a weak wide receiving corps heading into the offseason, but he didn’t do much to fix it. He got some “middle of the pack” guys too and those guys, like Markus Wheaton, haven’t done that well. He should have spent more time, attention and resources on the wide receiver position.
Third, there is John Fox. Fox isn’t a bad coach by any means, His track record in Denver and Carolina show that he’s talented and has done a lot of good in the NFL. But for some reason, his previous successes have not translated over to the Bears. It might not be all of Fox’s fault. The talent has something to do with it, but Fox and his coaching staff does make significant mistakes and lose games.
Just look at how Fox and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains are handling Mitchell Trubisky. They are not allowing him to throw the ball down the field often. They have handcuffed him and are hindering his development. Trubisky is your franchise quarterback. You cannot allow the coaching staff to continue to hinder his development. They must either start giving him more opportunities to succeed or they should be let go.
The latter may be the best option.
If you do decide to fire John Fox and get a new coach, make sure that he is going to work well with Trubisky. You need to be positive that the coordinators that this head coach brings in, especially the offensive coordinator, are going to help develop the young quarterback. You must be smart in who you hire next time and you must give the new head coach, should you hire one, the tools and the ability to do their job and do it right. They can’t be held back by inefficient management above them.
Finally, the Chicago Bears have a real problem with injuries. This has been the case for the last three seasons and was particularly bad last year. I know that some injuries can’t be prevented but there is something that you can do about it some of the other injuries they have had. You need to look at your training staff, your nutritionists and medical staff see how they have an impact. Hire an independent consultant if you must but this problem needs to be addressed.
What you are currently doing is not working.
Please, please do what it takes to make the team you own a winner. We want to see our beloved Chicago Bears get back to the way they were. We want them to be a team that plays strong defense and has a powerful offense that can score points and be effective. We want to see this team be feared and respected. We are tired of them being at the bottom of the league. We are tired of them being a joke and we are tired of not being taken seriously.
The time to get this team headed in the right direction. Fans won’t want to take much more of what you are putting out on the field. You are losing interest from your fan base and it’s reflecting in all the empty seats at Soldier Field.
Please make our Bears better. Your fans, the City of Chicago deserve it and the National Football League deserve it.