Ryan Pace has been decisive and resolute — for better or worse — in just about everything he has done as the Bears’ general manager, and the need for those qualities never has been greater than it is right now.
The impending coaching change has been assumed for weeks. But it’s up to Pace to act quickly, purposefully and with authority. He not only has to make the decision, but he has to show he didn’t just wake up Monday morning and decide change was necessary. It would be nice to see indications that Pace has been watching the same games we have, that he has had the coaching change in mind for several weeks and that he didn’t just scribble his list of potential successors on a cocktail napkin on the flight home Sunday.
Remember, this is the Bears we’re talking about. Dysfunction is in their blood. We need to see that Pace, an outsider from a winning organization, is breaking that chain.
With that in mind, here’s the opening statement Pace should be giving Monday morning:
‘‘Thanks, guys. I appreciate you being here. This has been a challenging season with a lot of circumstances that have led to our disappointing record. We’ve made progress in our three years here, but we have higher standards, and that’s why I’m announcing today that we’re making a change at our head-coaching position. I want to thank John Fox for all he’s done for the organization. John and his coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for keeping our team focused, tough and prepared. John gave us what we needed when we got here — energy, charisma, discipline, character. But now we need more.
‘‘The hiring of the next head coach is a critical decision for me and this franchise. I get that. We need to be thorough but also efficient in our search. This is a competitive business on every level, so we not only need to find the right guy but to find the right guy first. That search is already underway. And let me make this clear: It will be my search and my decision. I’ll consult George McCaskey and Ted Phillips on the process. But the candidates, the interviews, the negotiating and the decision will be mine and mine alone.
‘‘I won’t limit the search for a new coach, but there’s no question that developing Mitch Trubisky as our quarterback will be a priority. I witnessed this firsthand in New Orleans with Sean Payton and Drew Brees and how that was the spark that got the Saints headed in the right direction. We have that potential and opportunity today, and I fully intend to take advantage of it.
“I’m aware of our fans’ discontent and disappointment. I hear you. I acknowledge that mistakes have been made in this rebuilding process, and that starts with me. We all need to be better, and that also starts with me. After three difficult seasons, Bears fans have every right to ask, ‘Are we any better?’ I don’t think there’s any question we are. We were 30th in the league in total defense the year before I was hired. This year, we were eighth. We had a veteran quarterback under a difficult contract when I was hired. Now we have Mitch Trubisky, who showed he has the potential to be an elite quarterback in this league and the face-of-the-franchise leader this organization has needed.
‘‘In rebuilding this roster, we first had to tear it down. There are only nine players on the team from the previous regime. Now we have a foundation of young talent with potential for growth: Mitch Trubisky, Jordan Howard, Leonard Floyd, Cody Whitehair, Eddie Goldman, Eddie Jackson, Adam Shaheen and others. We have to get the quarterback right. I get that. And I believe we will. That’s what today is all about.’’
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