There was a conversation I had on New Years Eve that still sticks in my head. It was moments after the Bears lost 23-10 to the Vikings in a hotel lobby in downtown Philadelphia. Donning my Bears hat and 1985 Super Bowl Champions t-shirt, a random Eagles fan (who must’ve taken notice of my dread and disappointment) sent another Yeungling my way, raised his and said “I never thought the Eagles would figure it out and they did. It all starts with a young QB and an an infectious head coach that can mold him. When you get that right, it changes your entire culture. Looks like you got one piece to the puzzle.”
It was an interesting observation from a life long Philadelphian that was more than likely wearing a Steve and Barry’s pleather Eagles coat and a winter hat. He sat and watched that entire game — the only Bears game he apparently had watched all season I found out later — and came away impressed with the moxy Mitchell Trubisky showed in a performance where he would throw just as many touchdown passes as he did.
In that moment it was hard to imagine the Bears, even with Trubisky taking a big leap in his second season, getting so much right. It was one thing to get the right head coach, but to get the right head coach AND add the necessary weapons and depth to make this team better (and get the fan base excited for 2018) seemed improbable.
I’m generally as optimistic as they come (especially when it comes to Ryan Pace’s ability as a GM), but it was going to be a very tall order.
But then, before I could even land back in Orlando, things started to rapidly change. John Fox and Dowell Loggains — the two people that seemed to be holding back the potential growth of not just Trubisky but guys like Tarik Cohen and Adam Shaheen — were let go (Fox) and hired by another organization after the writing was clearly on the wall as to what his future would hold (Loggains).
A week later Pace quickly identified and hired the 16th coach in franchise history in Kansas City offensive coordinator, Matt Nagy and the Bears were off to the races.
It’s like that Eagles fan could see the future.
Nagy was just the beginning. His hire sent shock waves throughout Halas Hall and the city. This was the start of a football renaissance. The new Bears head coach got right to work, surrounding himself with one of the most complete coaching staffs in franchise history (including the sole hold out from the Fox era in defensive coordinator Vic Fangio).
With all of that in place, Pace and Nagy blitzed free agency with two things in mind: maintain Fangio’s Top-10 defense from the season before and surround Trubisky with the necessary talent to better evaluate where he is as an NFL quarterback. Mission accomplished. Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, Taylor Gabriel, Chase Daniel (who will be integral in helping Trubisky become familiar with Nagy’s offense) and Cody Parker all reached deals with Chicago while Prince Amukamara, Kyle Fuller Sam Acho and Marcus Cooper (among others) all decided to stay home.
In a little more than two months, Pace completely restructured the outlook of this team and that was before the Bears unanimously won last weeks NFL Draft.
Ryan Pace's 4-year roster overhaul, in one image pic.twitter.com/MGpMn02eMm
— Johnathan Wood (@Johnathan_Wood1) May 2, 2018
Now, the burden is on Nagy and Co. to fit all of this pieces neatly in place; something I have a hard time believing he WONT be able to do. From everything that has come out of the mini-training camp from the coaching staff themselves, front office personnel and the players alike, Nagy is well on his way to becoming one of the best in the NFL. The mentality that he has attacking every day has been infectious.
KanYe West isn’t the only one putting out Dragon Energy.
There is just something so refreshing about how he conducts himself. How he’s positively positioned this dormant franchise for the future while opening the doors and ripping down the third wall in favor of giving the best fans in the NFL a glimpse into how you build a contender.
It’s been unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 27, 2018
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 28, 2018
New wall art at Halas Hall aims to make motivational messages a mentality. #BeObsessed
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 2, 2018
This is unprecedented territory, folks. But as they say, a rising tide lifts all boats. It started off with Trubisky. Now it’s Nagy.
With the two of them in place, there is no telling if the roof is the ceiling or outer-damn-space.
All I do know is that I hope at some point, the Bears have to go through Philly to get to the Super Bowl so I can hopefully buy that miracle man in the pleather Eagles jacket an ice cold Old Style and thank him for walking me off the ledge.