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Count on it: Bears need to make major changes — and won’t

The initial reports about the meeting had come with the kind of ominous tones normally reserved for national-security matters. Bears chairman George McCaskey, president Ted Phillips and general manager Phil Emery, all of them visibly grim, had gathered in a broadcast booth at Lambeau Field after the Packers had put an embarrassing 55-14 beating on the visitors from Chicago.

Clearly, something had to be done. Coming off a bye week, the Bears had had two weeks to prepare for Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers. To lose so badly to the franchise’s archrival was unacceptable. Judging by the dark looks on the faces of the three men, they meant business. Firings? Benchings? Anything seemed possible.

Two days later, the Bears waived punt returner Santonio Holmes, a flea in the organization’s world of trouble. That’s how this franchise rolls.

Let it serve as a wake-up call for those of you who, like me, think major changes should be a must after the season. I know I’ve been harping on this for a while now, and I certainly don’t want to beat a dead Bear, but it will be a huge upset if Emery and coach Marc Trestman are anywhere else besides Halas Hall next season.

Thursday’s 41-28 loss to the Cowboys was the latest reminder that Trestman needs to go, but no more so than Emery, the man who “discovered’’ Trestman in Canada and the man who filled the roster with players who can’t – what’s the technical word? – play. Emery is also the man who gave quarterback Jay Cutler $54 million in guaranteed money. Cutler needs to be shown the door, too, but won’t be.

Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is the likeliest candidate for dismissal, but after this crime scene of a season, firing him would be like firing the highest-paid foot soldier.

I hope I’m wrong about all of this. I don’t think I will be.

The noise level is rising for ownership to do something, anything about a team that is 5-8 with a decent chance of finishing 5-11. The McCaskeys’ response reminds me of the late President Ronald Reagan, who, when avoiding reporters’ questions, often would cup a hand to an ear in the international sign of, “I’m pretending I can’t hear you.’’

Two weeks before losing badly to the Packers, the Bears had fallen 51-23 to the Patriots. After the dust had settled from those two disasters, there was talk around town that the losses weren’t so bad – Green Bay and New England were killing everybody, not just the Bears! Maybe we all had been too hard on the lads! But look what has happened to them since. Two very weak victories over bad Minnesota and Tampa Bay teams, and two very bad losses to Detroit and Dallas.

This is a franchise crying out for change, for crying out loud.

The problem, of course, is that there is nothing to suggest that anyone in authority has the faintest idea of how to build a championship team. Under current management, what points to a good season occurring in the next two or three years? What from Emery’s three years in Chicago would indicate he knows talent? These are the questions George McCaskey should be asking himself.

Here’s what I would say to the chairman, if he ever actually met with the media: Look, you and your family are loaded. There will be McCaskeys at the turn of the next century who will be beyond wealthy because of the ridiculous amount of money the franchise has been making for years. It won’t kill you to buy out the contracts of Emery, Trestman and the assistant coaches. You’ll still have more money than you would ever be able to spend, even if you were to pay a proven football czar to run the organization. Same thing with giving Jim Harbaugh, who might be on his way out as coach of the 49ers, $8 million a year. I know it goes against every fiber of your being to fire people before their contracts are up, but every fiber of your family’s being has been wrong about football for years.

Ah, but there I go again, dreaming. I know that the chances of Trestman being axed are slim and of Emery being fired infinitesimal. The whole idea is for the football people to lead the McCaskeys by the hand when it comes to football matters. Fire Emery, and the family will have to scratch its collective head and wonder where to find a replacement.

Get used to the status quo, folks. It isn’t going anywhere.