Bears season review: George McCaskey on the hot seat in 2021
The Bears’ chairman lost the support of a sizable chunk of the fan base and needs one of those lightning-in-a-bottle seasons — always possible in the NFL — to prevent a fan revolt next season.
With the Bears’ season ending with their playoff loss in New Orleans, it’s time to see what they can put together for 2021. This team needs more than some minor alterations after two 8-8 consecutive seasons. Here are seven big questions for the offseason:
The Bears’ season-ending press conference was …
A great example of why George McCaskey and Ted Phillips should have nothing to do with anything that impacts the Bears on the field. It exposed their poor judgment, their bad management and their inability to read the room. They lost the support of a sizable chunk of the fan base and need one of those lightning-in-a-bottle seasons — always possible in today’s NFL —to prevent a fan revolt in 2021.
Who should start Week 1 at quarterback?
Not Mitch Trubisky. The days of Matt Nagy retrofitting his offense to maximize Trubisky should be over. Whether it’s Nick Foles, a castoff like Carson Wentz, a free agent or a rookie, Nagy will go into the 2021 season running the offense he wants to run, calling the plays he want to call, with the quarterback that is a true fit for his vision of the Andy Reid offense. With his job on the line, this will be Nagy’s show.
Will they keep Allen Robinson?
Pace will find a way. But it’s so typical of the Bears’ current plight that the player who best exemplifies the cherished culture that literally saved Pace’s job has been left to twist in the wind. If you made Eddie Jackson the highest paid safety in the NFL, how can you not give Robinson a Keenan Allen contract?
The biggest name to get cut or traded this offseason will be …
Cornerback Kyle Fuller ($11 million cap savings) or defensive end Akiem Hicks ($10.5 million). Ryan Pace would love to avoid that, obviously. But if less painful cuts — tight end Jimmy Graham ($7 million), right tackle Bobby Massie ($6.7 million), left tackle Charles Leno ($6.1 million) and/or cornerback Buster Skrine ($2.8 million) —don’t get the job done, Pace won’t have any choice.
Who was their MVP?
Where would the offense be without Robinson, who despite tough luck on 50-50 balls still had 102 receptions for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns in 2020?
Who was their most disappointing player?
Outside linebacker Robert Quinn had a sack on his first snap, and it was all downhill from there. Quinn finished with two sacks, six quarterback pressures, three forced fumbles and non tackles-for-loss. At 30, he’s at a crossroads — with dead-cap hits of $23.9 million in 2021 and $9.3 million in 2022.
Beside quarterback, Ryan Pace’s biggest challenge this offseason will be …
Evaluating the offensive line. The revamped line of left tackle Charles Leno, left guard Cody Whitehair, center Sam Mustipher, right guard Alex Bars and right tackle Germain Ifedi sparked the offense against bad defenses in the final month, but regressed against the Packers and Saints. The Bears have some foundation pieces — including guard James Daniels, who missed the final 12 games with a pectoral injury. But they also need upgrades at one or both tackle positions.