The Chicago Bears lost to the New Orleans Saints in the 2021 Wild Card Round, losing by a final score of 21-9. Chicago went 8-8 during the 2020 regular season and only made the playoffs because the NFL allowed 14 teams into the postseason this year instead of 12.
Fans in the Windy City hoped that the Bears would fire general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy after the team lost to the Saints. However, Pace and Nagy will be returning next season, as will president Ted Phillips.
The Bears have a lot of talent on defense and a few solid playmakers on offense. However, ESPN’s Louis Riddick, one of the smartest football pundits, doesn’t see Chicago having a bright future.
The Bears have been putrid since winning the NFC North in 2018
In Matt Nagy’s first year as head coach, the Bears shocked the world by going 12-4 and winning the NFC North. Nagy was named the Coach of the Year, and Chicago fans thought they finally had an offensive-minded guru who could deliver a Super Bowl.
However, the Bears lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2019 Wild Card Round and have been a walking disaster since that defeat. Chicago went 8-8 in 2019 and compiled the same record in 2020. Nagy was hired to develop Mitchell Trubisky into a star quarterback, but the former No. 2 overall draft pick has regressed under Nagy, and likely won’t be re-signed by the Bears this offseason.
Nagy helped the Bears average 26.3 points per game during the 2018 season, which was good for ninth in the NFL. The last two years, though, have been tough for Chicago. The team was 29th in points per game last season and 22nd this campaign. Nagy isn’t as smart as he thinks he is, and Trubisky isn’t consistent enough to be a starting QB in the NFL.
The Bears will likely never recover from drafting Trubisky over Deshaun Watson in the 2017 draft. Ryan Pace traded up to draft Mitch, who isn’t even in the same league as Watson. While taking Trubisky over Watson was a colossal mistake, ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Louis Riddick says the Bears’ problems run deeper than that.
Louis Riddick says the Bears aren’t an easy fix
Louis Riddick, who is in demand on the general manager market, was recently on ESPN 1000 with Waddle and Silvy and said the Bears aren’t an easy fix. The NFL aficionado stated that Chicago’s offensive line is preventing Matt Nagy from running the offense he wants to implement, which is a spread offense where the quarterback is pushing the ball down the field.
Nagy benched Mitchell Trubisky for Nick Foles in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons because the former Eagles gunslinger is a better pocket passer and more efficient in reading defenses. However, the Bears’ offensive line is awful, and Foles isn’t mobile at all. He didn’t have much time to throw the ball before getting hurt in Week 10 versus the Minnesota Vikings, which is why he wasn’t good in 2020.
Many fans believe the Bears are a quarterback away from being a contender in the NFL. However, Riddick questions if Chicago has the resources to acquire a QB who can run Nagy’s offense given how horrid the offensive line is and their lack of future draft picks. Deshaun Watson reportedly wants the Houston Texans to trade him, and Chicago supporters are hopeful that Ryan Pace will make up for his mistake in 2017 and acquire the Pro Bowler.
However, the Bears don’t have the assets the Texans would require for Watson, which is why Riddick doesn’t see Chicago getting in the Watson sweepstakes. The ESPN personality also made it seem like he wouldn’t take the Bears’ general manager job if it were offered to him since he’s skeptical about the roster and team outlook.
Chicago fans may have to watch Nick Foles again in 2021
Mitchell Trubisky becomes a free agent this offseason after the Bears chose not to pick up his 2021 option. All signs point toward Chicago letting Trubisky walk in free agency, which means Nick Foles could be the starter next season unless Ryan Pace trades for another established veteran.
Foles appeared in nine games for the Bears in 2020. He threw for 1,852 yards and 10 touchdowns while completing 64.7% of his passes. The former Super Bowl MVP was picked off eight times. Foles played behind the worst offensive line in football, and his lack of athleticism really hurt the Bears.
Pace has to address the Bears’ offensive line before getting a new franchise quarterback since building from the ground up is the best way to construct a winning football team.
Stats courtesy of Football Reference.