The Chicago Bears made huge strides this season leaving every Bears fan wanting more and looking forward to next season. That goes double for the two guys who were the biggest reasons for the Bears turnaround Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace.
Nagy and Pace made almost all the right moves in 2018. The result was a 12-win season and a playoff birth. Now the challenge is to improve on that and both men are determined to make it happen.
“As we approach this offseason we’re still going to be aggressive,” said Pace Monday at a press conference at Halas Hall. “We’re always going to be pushing it and I think that’s a challenge to our scouting department to always be improving our roster.”
“Everything we did this past year throw it out the window. It means nothing,” said Nagy. “Now we’re zero and zero and that’s the challenge. That’s the new challenge.”
It won’t be easy for Pace to improve this roster since the Bears don’t have a lot of salary cap space and they don’t have a first or a second round draft pick this year. Most of the improvement will have to come from within. The one player who stands to improve the most with another season of experience is Mitch Trubisky.
“Now I think level two next year is going to be him really recognizing pre-snap what he’s about to see from these defenses,” says Nagy of Trubisky’s most likely area of improvement.
The Bears also expect an upgrade at kicker. Neither Pace nor Nagy came out and said Cody Parkey is as good as gone, but that was the tone.
“That position is an emphasis for us,” said Pace.l “We understand we need to get better there. We need more production out of that position.”
Both men say they’re happy for Vic Fangio and his opportunity to become a head coach with the Broncos, but they also feel fortunate that former Colts’ coach Chuck Pagano was available to take over for Fangio.
“He’s been doing it for a long time. He’s been in this league for a while,” said Nagy. “He’s had a lot of success. He’s been around some really, really good defenses…some really, really good players on defense.”
The Bears have lots of reasons to be optimistic about next season and the future beyond that. The one thing that Ryan Pace is the most positive about is he believes he has the exact right man in place as his head coach in Matt Nagy.
“Every single day that we’ve been together is just confirmation that he is the perfect head coach for this franchise,” said Pace. “It’s just going to get better and better as we go forward. We work so well together. He’s very natural in this role.”
Nagy and Pace also said that Anthony Miller will have shoulder surgery this offseason and Khalil Mack won’t play in the Pro Bowl because he tweaked his knee in the game against the Eagles.