No one around Halas Hall (or anywhere else for that matter, except perhaps in Detroit, Green Bay or Minnesota) is remotely pleased with what has unfolded in the Bears’ 2016 season. The form that dissatisfaction takes, however, could become an issue all its own.
Evaluations in the NFL are typically ongoing in-season and in greater depth post-season. But NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Sunday that the organization has undertaken a full evaluation of football operations as the season approaches its midpoint and off week following Monday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings in Soldier Field. That evaluation process has included “what is being described as an outside consultant to help,” according to Rapaport, although no consultant was named.
One source told CSNChicago.com that there was no truth to the consultant information. The team did not comment on the report or its contents as of early Monday morning.
[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
But neither GM Ryan Pace nor coach John Fox appeared to have any knowledge of such a current evaluation, and for the front office to be conducting an evaluation without the knowledge of the two chief figures in football ops would be a statement in itself and suggest an organization approaching a state of chaos or freefall, and not close to pulling out of a prolonged period of both.
Upheavals over the past five years have shaken the organization, beginning with the abrupt firing of GM Jerry Angelo after the 2011 season; the hiring of Phil Emery as his replacement; the firing of Lovie Smith after the 10-6 2012 season; hiring Marc Trestman in 2013; and the firings of both Emery and Trestman in 2015.
Pace and Fox were then hired using the evaluations of longtime NFL executive Ernie Accorsi as a consultant. Pace was brought in under a five-year contract and Pace hired Fox, who received a four-year deal. Both contracts are guaranteed.
Mitch Trubisky is going to the Pro Bowl, with the Bears' quarterback replacing Jared Goff on the NFC roster with the Rams advancing to the Super Bowl.
Trubisky was previously named a Pro Bowl alternate after throwing for 3,223 yards with 24 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 95.4. Trubisky's passer rating ranked 10th in the NFC, behind Drew Brees, Russell Wilson (who replaced Aaron Rodgers on the NFC roster), Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz (who's injured), Goff, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kirk Cousins, Rodgers and Dad Prescott. Trubisky's 3,223 yards rank 11th in the conference, while only three NFC quarterbacks threw more interceptions than Trubisky (Jameis Winston, Josh Rosen and Cam Newton).
Still, the Bears will take Trubisky's invite to the Pro Bowl as a positive marker in his development even if his production wasn't in the top half of quarterbacks in his own conference. He's the first Bears quarterback to be named to a Pro Bowl since Jim McMahon in 1986.
In the aftermath of the Bears' first-round playoff exit, coach Matt Nagy, general manager Ryan Pace and Trubisky's teammates said they were pleased with the growth Trubisky made in 2018.
“We're lucky to have him," Nagy said. "I'm looking forward to the future. I really am, with him, because the city of Chicago is lucky to have that kid at quarterback.”
Trubisky will join defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, cornerback Kyle Fuller, safety Eddie Jackson and returner Tarik Cohen at the Pro Bowl, with linebacker Khalil Mack dropping out after tweaking his knee against the Philadelphia Eagles. Jackson's inclusion in the Bears' press release about Trubisky would seem to indicate he'll be going to Orlando after missing the Bears' final three games of the season with a sprained ankle.
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Time to readjust that 2019 Bears' games budget.
On Monday morning, the Bears announced that they'll be headed to London next season:
It'll be the first time the Bears have played in London since October 2011, when they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-18.
It's one of 5 international games next season, all of which were announced this morning:
Get ready for some 9am Bears football!