The Chicago Bears have decided to roll with Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy yet again in 2021, per multiple sources with close ties to the organization. First, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times Tweeted that “folks working in the league” believed the Bears would retain their oft-criticized general manager and head coach:
The rumor flying around the NFL right now is #Bears will retain GM Ryan Pace & coach Matt Nagy into 2021. That's what folks working in the league have heard. We'll see if team has something this evening but that is the chatter that's out there right now.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) January 13, 2021
Then, Biggs’ colleague Dan Wiederer confirmed the news, saying a source confirmed Pace and Nagy’s return, along with the retirement of defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano.
League source: Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy will be back in 2021. Chuck Pagano will be retiring.
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) January 13, 2021
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Nagy Addressed the Team Yesterday
In his three seasons as head coach, Nagy has a record of 28-20, whit the majority of his wins coming in his first season, when the team went 12-4 and he won Coach of the Year. He has gone 8-8 in each season since, with this season in particular posing many unique challenges while playing amidst a pandemic.
Nagy met with his team Monday after Chicago lost its Wild Card matchup against the New Orleans Saints, and his message to his team was one of resiliency. “Coach was just talking about how, you know, this was a different year for us just dealing with all of the different things of COVID and stuff like that,” defensive end Bilal Nichols said. “The Bears did an awesome job with providing us with the facility and everything we needed to be able to stay safe and come in and get to work. So, you know, credit to them. They did a great job and created a safe environment for us.”
Wide receiver Allen Robinson said that Nagy’s message was “just basically that we obviously didn’t finish how we wanted to, but at the same time, we have a resilient group … I think everybody can acknowledge with the craziness of this year how guys had to prepare, how guys had to go about things, not being with their families for the holidays, guys sacrificed and put a lot on the line this year.”
While it was expected they would retain Nagy despite their recent offensive struggles, the Bears keeping Pace, who has received loads of criticism for his handling of the quarterback situation, among other things, is a bit of a surprise.
Ryan Pace Has Not Lived Up to Expectations as GM
Without harping on Pace’s obvious, most glaring mistake (see: Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in 2017), his time in Chicago as GM has been less than fruitful. Per Chris Emma of 670 The Score, there have been 12 lead football executives in the league who have remained in their positions since 2015, and Pace is one. Only two of those 12 have never won a playoff game: Pace and Cincinnati Bengals owner and executive Mike Brown.
Technically, the Bears have made the postseason two of their last three seasons under Nagy and Pace — but they had lackluster showings in both Wild Card games, putting up 15 points in their 2018 loss to the Eagles and nine in their recent loss to the Saints.
The Bears confirmed Wednesday in the their end of the year press conference that the team would be sticking with Pace, Nagy and President and CEO Ted Phillips.