When asked about conversations regarding his future after Sunday’s playoff loss to the Saints, Bears coach Matt Nagy said, “That’ll be down the road.” It won’t be that far down the road, if the Bears are contemplating making major changes.
As a 5-1 start melted into a six-game losing streak, questions emerged about the fate of Nagy and G.M. Ryan Pace. Now that the season has ended with an 8-8 finish that was good enough for the freshly-minted NFC seventh seed and a one-and-done playoff berth, what happens?
It’s a question that Bears chairman George McCaskey will resolve. It could result in the firing of Pace, the firing of Nagy, the firing of both, or the firing of neither.
If either or both are fired (and, frankly, it should be both stay or both go), the Bears must consider whether the time has come to part ways with team president Ted Phillips. In his job since 1999, it’s only fair for the person responsible for hiring and firing General Managers and coaches to eventually be accountable for a stream of hired, then fired, General Managers and coaches.
It’s hard to imagine firing Nagy after a pair of playoff appearances in his first three seasons. It’s not practical to fire Pace and hire a G.M. who would have to bide his time until firing Nagy and hiring his own G.M. — like Jerry Angelo had to do 20 years ago after inheriting Dick Jauron.
So fire both or fire neither. And if the answer is to fire both, it also may be time to fire Ted Phillips.