Expanding on an earlier observation on the initial free-agent signings…
GM Ryan Pace, coach John Fox and their staffs did not set out to target players this free-agency offseason from perennial winners, playoff and Super Bowl teams – Jerrell Freeman, Indianapolis Colts; Akiem Hicks, New England; Ted Larsen and Bobby Massie, Arizona Cardinals; Omar Bolden, Manny Ramirez and Danny Trevathan, Denver Broncos.
“To be honest, it’s kind of nice that it worked out that way,” Pace said last month during the NFL owners meeting. “But really we were evaluating the individual player and it kind of transpired that way and that’s an extra benefit. But we were looking at those guys as players and what they bring to make us better.”
Maybe. But if Pace and Fox did not consciously chart a course that would simultaneously increase the Bears’ talent level and radically change and upgrade the internal culture, they could scarcely have done a better job of it if those had been the joint purpose.
The transformation has not been lost on the longest-tenured Bear, one who has experienced Bears cultures ranging from the 2006 Super Bowl team to the descent into the 2013-14 abyss to the turnaround started last year with Fox and Pace and is accelerating.
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“I talked to coach Fox the other day, had breakfast with him at the facility,” kicker Robbie Gould said Tuesday. “The way he talks about the guys they brought in, they’re very methodical in who they got and why they brought them here.
“I think you’ve seen the culture change in our locker room. The guys that they’ve brought in have had a taste of victory, have had a taste of what it means to be in the playoffs and go deep in the playoffs. I think it’s going to be exciting to add them to the locker room…
“There’s a lot for us as players who’ve been here a long time or are just getting signed to be excited about.”