Virginia McCaskey, the matriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Bears, is 100 years old. A common refrain from the family over the last decade has been that they want to win a Super Bowl again before Virginia goes on to the big owners’ box in the sky. I have no doubt that’s the case, but the team has been going about it in a bizarre manner — one that hasn’t seen the Bears go past the first round of the playoffs since 2010, and regularly features them finishing in the bottom half of the NFC North. This season, the Bears and head coach Matt Eberflus are off to a 2-6 start — not exactly a path to Super Bowl glory.
Back in September, then-Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams left the team under a shroud of secrecy — we still don’t have answers — amidst rumors (that were never confirmed) that his home and Halas Hall were raided by the FBI, including former-Bear-turned-special-agent Charles “Peanut” Tillman. The Bears denied that Halas Hall had been raided and Williams’ attorney would only say that no criminal conduct was involved. Over a month later, we still don’t know why Williams vacated his job so quickly, except that the proffered explanation — Williams’ need to take care of his health and his family — was not the entire story.
Now, yet another Bears coach is no longer with the team, and we don’t have any kind of decent explanation for his departure, either. Earlier this week, the team fired running backs coach Dave Walker, with the media learning only that it had to do with Walker’s “behavior in the workplace,” and that the HR department at Halas Hall was involved in the decision.
Eberflus told the media of Walker’s firing, “As the head coach, we are building a program and have standards to uphold to as a staff and organization both on and off the field, and those standards were not met… We have a standard to uphold to. When that standard is not met, we act. We act accordingly, and that’s what we did today.”
Eberflus went on to tell the media that the culture in the Bears’ organization is “awesome.”
From here, though, it doesn’t look all that awesome. More to the point, it looks like Matt Eberflus, in addition to struggling to get wins on the field, has a really hard time evaluating the people he’s hired for his coaching staff. He’s now had two of the more well-known members of his staff leave for mysterious reasons that seem to involve their conduct, with little-to-no further explanation to fans. It’s difficult to see how that doesn’t call into question Eberflus’ ability to run a staff that can be successful on and off the field. And the way the Bears’ PR staff has handled both the departure of Williams and Walker — giving the public just enough info to allow rumor and speculation to run rife — makes one wonder what the hell is going on inside the organization.
That’s before we even get to GM Ryan Poles, who recently traded for defensive end Montez Sweat, who is an unrestricted free agent after this season, and allowed one of the few bright spots on the team, cornerback Jaylon Johnson, to seek a trade before Tuesday’s trade deadline. If the Bears think they can lock up Sweat on a multi-year deal, super. If not, the team gave up a second-round pick for nine weeks of Sweat with such a slim chance of making the playoffs. As for Jaylon Johnson, allowing him to see what his options are is great if the team has come to terms with not being very good for the next few years, but if that’s the case, why bring in Montez Sweat?
Much like the Bears on the field so far this year, the entire organization seems to lack a cohesive plan and any coherent direction. And while the Bears are projected to have $110 million in cap space in 2024, it doesn’t feel like there’s any real plan for the best way to make use of it. It certainly doesn’t feel like the team has the best head coach in place, and it increasingly seems that his chosen coaching staff is in chaos. Perhaps that’s not the reality behind closed doors, but it’s the one the team is projecting to the rest of the league and to the general public. What free agent is going to want to play for Matt Eberflus? And is Eberflus even capable of picking the best people for the job? He certainly was not when it came to Williams and Walker, because a huge part of being an effective coach is, you know, remaining with the team.
I would love to be wrong about all of this. Maybe 2023 is the season before the Bears get it together and make an honest-to-goodness Super Bowl run. But that scenario is difficult to see from here. And so is Virginia McCaskey getting to celebrate another Super Bowl.
Original source here
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