The Chicago Bears hired Ryan Pace to be the team’s general manager in 2015, after a disastrous 2014 campaign that saw the Bears clean house, firing former head coach Marc Trestman, who finished 13-19 in two seasons, along with then-GM Phil Emery.
Current chairman of the Bears George McCaskey hired then 37-year old Pace to take over for Emery. Pace, who had been the director of player personnel for the New Orleans Saints, had no GM experience when Chicago hired him. He hired John Fox out of the gate to coach the team, from 2015-17, and Fox went 14–34, netting the second-lowest win percentage in franchise history.
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A Ryan Pace Refresher…
After Fox was fired, Pace chose Matt Nagy — an offensive coordinator with minimal play-calling experience and no head coaching experience — to be the next head coach, and after a promising 12-4 campaign — Pace’s only winning season as GM — Nagy has gone 13-14.
Pace’s biggest blunder doesn’t need an in-depth explanation, but still must be mentioned. We all know about his decision to overlook Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in the 2017 NFL Draft because he was charmed by the quarterback from North Carolina who showed up driving his grandmother’s Datson — a quarterback who, like Pace and Nagy, had minimal experience when Pace traded up one slot to select him second overall.
Had Mitch Trubisky been the only first-round bust Ryan Pace selected, his seat may not be so hot right now. But after the likes of Trubisky, Kevin White, and Leonard Floyd (who is now playing the best ball of his career after leaving Chicago) coupled with other early round busts (Adam Shaheen, anyone?) and the Bears’ constant state of sub-mediocrity, many feel Pace’s seat is as hot as ever.
The Bears started the season at 5-1 before dropping five straight. If Chicago plays better in the remaining five games, winning the bulk of them, Pace and Nagy’s chances to stick around increase. But if the Bears continue to play as dreadfully as they have been lately, the odds the McCaskey family will decide on a complete housecleaning at season’s end increase exponentially — and there will be some intriguing names available to potentially replace Pace should Chicago let him go.
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John Dorsey Reportedly Wants to Bring Kansas City OC Eric Bieniemy With Him
John Dorsey is being discussed as the hottest GM candidate available this coming offseason. Dorsey played for the Packers from 1984-89, and he began his post-playing career as a scout for the Packers. He was the director of college scouting in Green Bay when they drafted Aaron Rodgers, and he was also general manager of the Chiefs when they selected Patrick Mahomes. He served as director of football operations for the Packers in 2012 before moving on to Kansas City, where he was general manager from 2013-16. He also spent the 2017-2019 seasons as GM of the Cleveland Browns. He has been out of football this year, but he plans on returning to the fray next season.
Per FanSided, Dorsey wants to take over a struggling franchise — and he has a very specific head coach in mind he’d like to work with:
“Executives and sources around the league tell FanSided that former Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey will likely be among the most sought after GMs, and it’s highly likely that he’ll be bringing Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy with him as head coach. Remember, it was Dorsey who won the struggle with Andy Reid over whether to trade up to select Mahomes, and he forged a strong working relationship with Bieniemy from their four years together in Kansas City. Dorsey’s resume is an impressive one, having drafted Mahomes in Kansas City, Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb in Cleveland and pulling off the blockbuster trade to acquire wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from the Giants. Meanwhile, Bieniemy’s stock has surged in recent years thanks to his experience on Reid’s staff, particularly after he was given some play-calling responsibilities.”
Matt Nagy’s offense hasn’t worked in Chicago, and Bieniemy will be one of the hottest names on the market this offseason. If the Bears do decide to clean house, this pairing has to be an intriguing one. If another GM/head coach needy team scoop up Dorsey and Bieniemy, however, there are still a few more names out there the Bears should ponder.
Louis Riddick, George Paton Also Potential GM Candidates for Bears
George Paton (which, coincidentally, Bears fans, is pronounced Payton,) is the current Vikings VP of Player Personnel and Assistant GM. The Vikings have had excellent drafts since his arrival, which is an area the Bears have sorely been lacking. Paton also has ties to Chicago, as he started out in the college and pro scouting departments for the Bears, eventually becoming Assistant Director of Pro Personnel in 2000, where he had a hand in selecting Bears legend and Hall of Famer, Brian Urlacher.
Paton also helped draft the likes of Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr and running back Adrian Peterson. He has a proven track record of success, and he’s definitely a name the Bears should consider if they truly want to rebuild.
Another name gaining momentum is Louis Riddick. Riddick played in the league eight seasons, and he became a scout for Washington after his retirement. He worked his way up, serving as director of pro personnel for Washington from 2005-2007 before moving on to Philadelphia, where he was a scout and an assistant director of pro personnel in 2008-2009. He became director of pro personnel for the Eagles from 2010-2013. Riddick has been working as an analyst for ESPN since, but he has said he’s open to returning to an NFL front office given the right situation.
There has been talk of Riddick fitting in well in either Detroit or Atlanta, so there’s buzz around his name.
The Bears have never fired a head coach or GM during the regular season, so don’t expect a housecleaning over the next five weeks, regardless of how bad things may or may not get. But if things don’t improve fast in Chicago, the Bears would be wise to give Dorsey, Paton and Riddick all a good look.