GM Watch: Decision expected this week


GM Watch: Decision expected this week

A decision is expected this week on a new Bears general manager, with former Bears scout and current Kansas City Chiefs director of college scouting Phil Emery considered a slight favorite, one NFL source told on Monday.

Sources also said Bears player personnel director Tim Ruskell, with his solid relationship with coach Lovie Smith, had a strong interview with President Ted Phillips on Thursday and is considered the most qualified of the five candidates.

But the abrupt move of firing Jerry Angelo indicated a desire on the part of the organization to make a very visible statement of going in a new direction. Ruskell, hired by Angelo in 2010, is unlikely to underscore that statement in the arena of public opinion.

However, one source said that since it is all but assured that Smith will not survive another season of missing the playoffs, one plan could be to leave Ruskell in place for the year, with Smith.

If matters improve, Smith has one more year on his contract. If matters do not improve, then start over with a new front office and coaching staff.

Cody Parkey will kick at Soldier Field Wednesday night

Cody Parkey will kick at Soldier Field Wednesday night

Cody Parkey downplayed the significance of going to practice kicking at Soldier Field Wednesday night, saying he’s heading there to “check all my boxes” and that “it can’t hurt.”

But Parkey’s trip from Halas Hall to the lakefront is noteworthy in the aftermath of the Bears’ kicker missing four PAT/field goal attempts, all of which went off an upright, in Sunday’s 34-22 win over the Detroit Lions. It’ll result in a long day for Parkey, who estimated he’d get back to Halas Hall around 11 p.m. Wednesday night. 

“As a kicker, this is my fifth season doing this, I’ve had highs, I’ve had lows,” Parkey said. “So unfortunately it comes with the territory sometimes. I don’t get down on myself, I know I’m a great kicker. I’m just gonna go out there Sunday and try my best.”

Parkey hasn’t got caught up in the reaction to his historically-bad game, staying off social media and saying he couldn’t care less about ignominiously making a Jimmy Fallon monologue this week. 

“I go home to my wife and my dog, and they don’t really care if I make field goals or not,” Parkey said. “So I find peace in that. I talk to my family, stuff like that. But I don’t beat myself up, I don’t go on social media, I don’t do any of that. I could care less about what anyone thinks of me other than people in this locker room.”

Logistically, getting to Soldier Field from Halas Hall can be an traffic-fueled annoyance, but it’s one the Bears felt was important enough to go ahead and do. Former Bears kickers Robbie Gould and Kevin Butler used to practice kicking at Soldier Field during the week, for what it’s worth. 

The Bears will need Parkey to be better on Sunday night against the Minnesota Vikings, in what could be a close, critical game for control of the NFC North. But Parkey won’t change his mental approach for that night, even if his midweek work is now switched up a bit. 

“Same as last week, same as the week before,” Parkey said. “I just try to go out there and make my kicks.”

PFF grades Mitchell Trubisky, Bryce Callahan as Bears' best against Lions

PFF grades Mitchell Trubisky, Bryce Callahan as Bears' best against Lions

Everything seemed to click for Mitchell Trubisky against the Detroit Lions. Matt Nagy called it his best game of the season, even surpassing his breakout performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in Week 4.

Pro Football Focus largely agreed with the Bears’ head coach, as Trubisky was the offense’s highest-graded starter in the game at 88.6 overall.

The young quarterback particularly excelled under pressure, a big step forward from previous weeks. He had a perfect 158.3 passer rating under duress, going 5-of-6 for 89 yards and a touchdown according to PFF.

He wasn’t much worse from a clean pocket, completing 75 percent of his passes for 266 yards and a 138.5 passer rating.

Trubisky had only one incompletion on passes less than 10 yards down field, and PFF credited him with two avoided tackles on scrambles past the line of scrimmage.

On the other side of the ball, cornerback Bryce Callahan led the way with a 90.3 overall grade, the highest grade of any cornerback in Week 10.

PFF charted him with six targets in coverage, and he allowed three catches for only 16 yards to go with one PD and his interception.

Callahan added a sack and two hurries on only four blitzes, continuing his strongest season to date in the slot.

He and wide receiver Allen Robinson made PFF’s Team of the Week for their performances against the Lions: