Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace met the media at Halas Hall on Monday to discuss the season and the months ahead.
The vibe at Halas Hall has done a complete 180 since Ryan Pace talked last season after going 5-11 and firing John Fox. Bears fans were upset and annoyed at what the organization had become. Now, Bears fans are excited as ever about this team. Pace hired Nagy, which was a home run hire, added several offensive weapons for Mitch Trubisky, and traded for Khalil Mack. It was an outstanding offseason and it’s what led to a 12-4 season. Now, the Bears have some decisions to make about players on their roster, Adrian Amos and Bryce Callahan in particular, and continue to build through the draft despite not having a first or second round draft pick. But I’m confident in the coaching staff and the front office to find guys in the later rounds just like they have in years past.
Going into today’s press conference, Cody Parkey was going to be a big talking point. Pace made it clear how important the kicking position is and said there will be competition this offseason. This should not come to a shock to many because not only was Parkey’s performance poor this season, but competition should be welcomed every season. It brings out the best in players and gives you an opportunity to upgrade a position.
Nagy and Pace were asked if Parkey told them he was going to appear on the Today show. Nagy had an exit interview with every player on the roster and when it came time for Parkey, it was not brought up. Based on their comments, it did not seem they were too happy with Parkey’s decision. Nagy has emphasized a “we” culture all season and believed this move did not reflect that.
Reporters also asked about Mitch Trubisky and where he is at in his development. Nagy referred to Trubisky’s growth within the system and always having the “next-play mentality”. For Trubisky to take the next step, Nagy said he will have to do a better job recognizing blitzes and coverages pre-snap.
Shifting to the other side of the ball, Pace said the Bears plan to pick up Leonard Floyd’s fifth year option. This was expected considering how Floyd has improved and finished the season on a strong note. Despite only 4 sacks this season, Floyd was solid against the run and was a pivotal player down the stretch. He may never be a big sack number guy like Mack, but he fits the defense and I’m excited to see what he can do next season.
In addition, someone asked both Pace and Nagy about Kareem Hunt and if he could be signed this offseason. Pace said the Bears are not even that far yet in looking into acquisitions. Furthermore, Nagy spoke with Hunt about a week ago to see how he was doing. Nagy coached Hunt last season in Kansas City and only had good things to say about the running back but the Bears would not commit to even saying they would take a look at him.
The Bears have had their share of injuries over the past few season but this year the Bears were lucky to stay close to 100% this season. Some starters missed some time, namely Trubisky, Mack, Allen Robinson, Bryce Callahan, and Eddie Jackson, but it has not been like it has in the past with a laundry list of players on the injured reserve.
In terms of injuries heading into the offseason, Mack will miss the Pro-Bowl due to a knee sprain but it does not seem to be serious at all. Anthony Miller will undergo shoulder surgery but that is the only scheduled surgery at this time for the Bears. This is very good news, especially for someone like Kyle Long who said the Monday following the playoff loss that he will not need any procedures this offseason.
The Bears are in a really good spot. They will have some decisions to make regarding Adrian Amos, Bryce Callahan, and others, but the core of their roster is locked up. Chuck Pagano is the new defensive coordinator and his staff will be forming in the coming days and weeks. Nagy has the offense installed and the team will have the luxury of an entire offseason improving their role in the system rather than installment last summer.
It’s an exciting time to be a Bears fan and the future is bright.