- New Bears general manager Ryan Pace takes his first step on to the slippery slope that is quarterback Jay Cutler. Via the Chicago Tribune:
“The quarterback obviously is a critical, critical position to achieve sustained success. But it’s not the only position. For us to have a lot of success, all 53 guys are going to be accounted for. So yeah, I witnessed things with Drew Brees that I have in my mind, that I know why he was successful. And those are ingrained in me. But I want to get to know Jay (Cutler). I want to get to know him further before I come to these conclusions.”
You won’t really know him until he lets you down. And then its too damned late.
Talk is cheap, Ryan. Watch the tape. Watch how he reacts when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys. That will tell you everything you need to know.
- Michael C. Wright at ESPN.com definitively demonstrates the worthlessness of statistics. A blind man could see that Cutler’s are the result of a season where more of the passes were high percentage and where a great deal of scoring was in garbage time. Having said that, I’d love to see his passer rating for the first half only. Who wants to bet its in the bottom 7 or 8 in the league amongst starters?
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune reads my mind when considering who the next Bears head coach might be:
“Pace doesn’t have to seek outside input when it comes to former Bills coach Doug Marrone, who was the Saints offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2008. A source described Pace and Marrone as ‘very close’ and it’s believed they have talked. Whether an interview has been scheduled yet is unknown.”
Marrone’s got experience and by all accounts he had the Bills headed in the right direction. But he took the money and ran in Buffalo and the Bears don’t need another front-runner, especially running the team.
- Maybe the Bears will target John Fox and maybe they won’t. Like Marrone, Fox is an experienced coach which would be a nice change. My guess is that he’d try to work around Cutler.Fox is by all accounts a winner and has the right personality. My only real problem with him is that, like almost all of the hot candidates, he comes from the defensive side of the ball. Its still all about the quarterback. But I’ll give Fox this. He’s shown multiple times that he can assemble a staff. He’d probably find the right coordinators if anyone can.
- If you are looking for an encouraging sign, Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com has one for you in what he noticed from Pace in his first press conference:
“When asked about the main qualities he looked for in a football player, Pace immediately and without hesitation listed character, toughness, instincts and intelligence.
“That is a radical departure from Phil Emery’s infatuation with athletes.”
Nowhere does this Emery weakness show up more than in his draft choices at linebacker where the players have been slow to react and, therefore, rarely managed to play down hill. By all accounts Pace should do better.
- Anyone else thinking that free agent coach Jason Garrett might be a decent Bears head coach? He’s been moderately successful and might be ready to get out from under Jerry Jones‘s thumb to take the next step. Just spitballing…
- Jen Lada at CSNChicago.com interviews Pace:
“As an evaluator, you’ve seen the challenges that this franchise faces going forward. Is it difficult to compartmentalize or start to prioritize where to begin?”
“It helps me if I go with a step-by-step approach. Really in my mind it’s head coach first step. Assess this roster thoroughly because that’s where mistakes are made. If you don’t assess your strengths and weaknesses on your own roster that’s not accurate, then your offseason plan will be inaccurate. So I need to make sure I assess the roster right and then go forward with an offseason plan, with our new head coach.”
To me, this is a very revealing answer. That’s mostly because this is the way that I, myself, think. Pace likely has a very organized mind. In his head he has a list of things to do probably actually written down on paper. He writes things down as they occur to him (he says so later in the interview), orders them and probably has an ideal plan for getting them done including a loose schedule for each step. However, there are drawbacks. Because he’s a “step-by-step” guy he’s unlikely to be a multitasker and, because of that, things won’t always be done efficiently. Ideally you evaluate the roster while you are searching for a head coach. Pace sounds like the kind of person who is unlikely to do that. People like this frequently handle things well as long as they go as planned. The key to success is often how well they handle things when they don’t go as planned.
How Pace handles the administrative details of the job (the few that are exposed via the media) will be very interesting to track.
- John Mullin at CSNChicago.com is as disturbed by the Dez Bryant reversal as I was. Because that was a catch. Even by the rule as written, that was a catch.
One Final Thought
Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times on the process by which Pace was selected:
“We felt it was a really great fit. We loved his intensity. It was more about what he brought to the table than any negative on anybody else. They were all good.’
“For what it’s worth, Pace won the interview.”
For what its worth. I don’t know much about Pace but what I do know about him – his concrete history – doesn’t exactly ease my concerns about whether he’s qualified to run the Bears. I can’t get past the idea that the Bears have hired the next Josh McDaniels – a young coordinator who was made the head coach of the Broncos before he was ready and failed spectacularly because of that.
I’d be a lot happier if Pace was 47 not 37. I’d be a lot happier if he had experience seeing things done more than one way with one team. And I’d be a whole lot happier if he’d actually been a GM before, someone who had already made his mistakes and had time to gain perspective, look back and see where he went wrong.
There was a lot of talk in the papers about the Bears “breaking out of their mold” by choosing someone without a history with the organization. But that’s not the point. The Bears did what they’ve been doing for about 30 years now – chose a young, inexperienced candidate who has never done it before. Maybe its time to stop choosing the guys who just win the interview.