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Halas Intrigue Bears Report: The search begins

Halas Intrigue Bears Report
Once again, the Bears are looking for a new coach and general manager. How the McCaskeys will ultimately decide who gets those positions is a bit of a mystery. But, despite the disappointing 2021 season, the new guys will have some decent players to build on. Read the latest coverage and analysis below.

1. Something on the cupboard
When Jerry Angelo was hired by the Bears in 2001 as the franchise’s first general manager since Jerry Vainisi was fired in 1987, he didn’t have to rebuild the team from the ground up.
On the contrary, Angelo literally inherited a playoff roster. Adding only blocking fullback Daimon Shelton, the Bears went 13-3 in 2001 with a roster totally stocked by former vice president of player personnel Mark Hatley.
Ryan Pace wasn’t so lucky when he was hired in 2015 to replace Phil Emery. Not only did he have the usual roster rebuild that most new general managers face, but the most productive players he inherited were either liabilities, malcontents or past their prime.
The Bears’ new general manager who replaces Pace should have a better head start. Even on offense — where the Bears ranked 27th in points and 24th in yards in 2021 under Matt Nagy — quarterback Justin Fields alone gives the new GM and coach a building block that, in the right hands, could make the entire offensive roster better.
Fields struggled through most of his rookie season. In 12 games (10 starts) he had a 73.2 passer rating (seven touchdowns, 10 interceptions), which ranked 28th among the 31 quarterbacks who started 10 games or more in 2021.
But until proven otherwise, Nagy’s offense that seemed to diminish even its most productive parts, gets the majority of the blame for Fields’ difficulty. In fact, it’s Fields that makes the Bears’ job more attractive than it has been in previous coaching and GM changes.
Justin Fields will give Bears’ new GM a head start
2. Cheesehead connection
Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf has always had a healthy respect for the Bears organization despite his seminal role in the Packers’ 30-year dominance of the Bears-Packers rivalry.
“There are four jewels in the crown and the Bears are one of those jewels,” Wolf said. “There is no National Football League without the Chicago Bears. I would think that would be an ideal place to work for, because of the tradition and history of the game. You can do an awful lot with that. It’s just a marvelous place to be.”
Wolf might have a dog in the Bears’ side of that fight. His son, Patriots scouting consultant Eliot Wolf, has reportedly been asked to interview for the Bears’ general manager opening. Hiring the son of the man most responsible for the disparity between the Packers and Bears over the past 30 years to reverse that trend would be an intriguing development — especially after Eliot Wolf lost out to Brian Gutekunst for the Packers GM job in 2018. That’s a chip-on-my-shoulder story just waiting to be written.
Eliot Wolf an intriguing GM option for Bears
3. What would you say you do here?
It probably had been awhile since most people thought about Bill Polian, given that he has been out of the NFL for a decade and retired from broadcasting almost three years ago, but he was at the forefront of Bears chairman George McCaskey’s mind as he contemplated what to do with his foundering organization.
At some point during the season, McCaskey called Polian to get his thoughts about how things were going with general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy.
McCaskey asked Polian to advise him about whether to keep Pace and Nagy and, if not, to assist in the search to replace them. With those two fired Monday, the Bears are proceeding with interviews. And of the five people conducting them, Polian has the strongest football résumé.
‘‘We’ll be in good hands leaning on Bill to help us make this decision,’’ McCaskey said.
Bears getting advice from Bill Polian not ideal, but better than proceeding on their own
4. In other news
5. From the podcast
Patrick Finley and Mark Potash try to decipher George McCaskey’s intentions for the coach and general manager search. LISTEN HERE.
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