I’d never minimize a Bears fan’s pain. Never. Who am I to say that what you’re feeling right now isn’t what open-heart surgery without anesthesia feels like, which, given the social media response to the team’s signing of Andy Dalton, apparently is what you’re experiencing?
But I am amused by all the anger and angst.
You anticipated what, exactly? Something different from all the other disappointments in the Bears’ decades-long, bone-dry search for a quarterback?
Now why would you, a normally clear-thinking, intelligent individual, believe that this time was going to be different? Why in the last wheezing breaths of the Ryan Pace/Matt Nagy regime would you imagine a hero arriving to save the day? Why would you think the Bears would get Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson when life has given you so many Cade McNowns and Jonathan Quinns?
If you thought they had a chance at Wilson or Watson, it’s only because you wanted to think that. It surely wasn’t based on reality. The Bears couldn’t offer the Seahawks a quarterback in a package for Wilson, which – and this can’t be overemphasized – meant the Bears had very, very little chance of getting him. What team in its right mind would give up a franchise quarterback without getting a serviceable one in return?
For Bears fans to turn around and call for the firing of Pace and Nagy because the duo failed to deliver on the undeliverable ... help me, I’m having trouble understanding. They shouldn’t be fired for this. They should be fired for what led to this.
Pace deserved to be canned when it became apparent that Watson and Patrick Mahomes, whom he passed on in the 2017 draft, were great quarterbacks, and Mitch Trubisky, whom he traded up a spot to take in that draft, was very much not.
Both Pace and Nagy deserved to be fired after a six-game losing streak last season.
Pace deserves to be fired for putting the Bears in a spot where a miracle was the only answer to their quarterback mess. The original sin of drafting Trubisky won’t go away, though Pace and Nagy certainly have tried to make it disappear by complimenting Mitch to the limits of the English language.
If you’re outraged that the Bears didn’t get Watson or Wilson, then you’re guilty of falling, again, for whatever line of nonsense Pace and Nagy have been shoveling out. I can’t wait to hear them “collaborate’’ all over Dalton at his introductory press conference.
Now we return, inevitably, to the McCaskeys, the owners of this sad business known as the Bears. I’d say they should have known better than to trust Pace to get the quarterback position right, but the problem is that they don’t know better. The problem, for decades, is their incurable, inoperable case of don’t-know-better. And that extends to their inability to grasp the obvious, that they are not built to run an NFL franchise.
So I don’t understand the public rage over the Dalton signing. It’s like being outraged at the sun rising at the prescribed time. How dare it! If you’re upset about the Bears the way you’re always upset about the Bears, OK, that I understand. But you had to know something like this was going to be the outcome. You had to know someone like Dalton was going to wander into town wearing the look of someone who had just been dropped off by extraterrestrials after a thorough probing. How’d I get here? And why is there an angry mob waiting for me?
How could you not know this was going to happen? The team’s embedded quarterback problem is the football version of the Cubs’ Billy Goat curse. Little known fact: The Bears traded up to take Billy in the 1967 draft. Liked his “arm talent.’’ Mistook “goat’’ for “Greatest of All Time.’’
The problem at the position goes way, way back, more than 70 years. Dalton should fit in perfectly with all the quarterbacks who arrived in Chicago with high hopes and left thinking that a career in, say, landscaping might be a better match for their abilities.
Given that long history, it might seem odd to call the 2017 drafting of Trubisky the Bears’ original sin. It would indeed be out of chronological order, but that decision four years ago stands for all the QB ineptitude that came before it. The effects of the decision will be felt for years.
So Dalton to the Bears? Yes. Of course. Perfect. You wanted great. You got above average (maybe) instead.
The chance of a miracle occurring is still out there. Seattle could still trade a frustrated Wilson. Houston could still trade a dissed Watson.
But if neither happens, as expected, don’t shake a fist as if it’s the first time the sky has let you down.
The expected is for Pace and Nagy and chairman George McCaskey to fail. Act like you’ve been here before, folks. Because you have, over and over again, ever since Sid Luckman retired in 1950.