Western Courier

The Bears are back in town

Brendan Reidy, Sports Writer

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The Bears are back. After many seasons of being mirrored in mediocrity, the Bears are finally back on track.

Following a heartbreaking start to the season with a loss to Green Bay, Chicago is now 8-3 with a playoff birth looming for the first time since 2010. This team is unlike any other in the National Football League. They have an elite defense to compliment an upcoming explosive offense. The rebuild is complete and it could not have gone any better with Ryan Pace at the helm.

Pace took over for the Bears franchise a few years back, and has been the best general manager the Bears have had in a long time. He has single-handedly rebuilt this team from the ground up. He took on an aging roster after the Lovie Smith and Marc Trestman eras, and told the media from his first press conference that he wants to build his team up through the draft. Something the previous general managers were able to do successfully, and he has been on the ball with many of his draft picks in his tenure catapulting the Bears back to relevancy. He is responsible for almost all the young talent on the roster, and is notorious for being aggressive and trading up for “his guy” in a particular draft. He traded up for Leonard Floyd, Mitchell Trubisky, Eddie Jackson and Anthony Miller all who’ve been superb for the Bears in their young promising careers. Other notable players he drafted are Eddie Goldman, Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, Roquan Smith, Adrian Amos and Jonathan Bullard. Not only has pace been on the money during the drafts, but is also very productive in the offseason.

He has done a great job finding complimentary pieces for his team on the free agent market. He found pro bowler Akeim Hicks, one of the best interior defensive linemen in football early on in his tenure, but it wasn’t really until this past offseason where he made a splash. He went out and signed a pair of wide receivers to help his young quarterback develop, by signing speedster Taylor Gabriel and the big athletic target of Allen Robinson. He also went out and gave his young quarterback a tight end to throw to by signing Super Bowl hero Trey Burton. On the other side of the ball he re-signed cornerback Kyle Fuller to a team-friendly deal, who currently leads the NFL in interceptions, and also resigned Prince Amukamara and Bryce Callahan, creating one of the best secondary’s in the entire league. However, his big offseason move was trading for outside linebacker Khalil Mack, and linking him to the richest deal for a defensive player in NFL history. He has made an already great defense even better. We are all witnesses to the resurrection of the Monsters of Midway because of the arrival of Khalil Mack. Almost every player on the defense is in the top-10 of Pro Bowl voting this year, and each player is having a career year because of the “Mack Effect.” The Bears with an improved offense and the best defense in the NFL are a great team, but lacked a man to tie it all together.

Pace knew something was missing from a leadership standpoint, and that John Fox was not the man destined to lead this Bears team to the promised land. So what’d he do? He went out and hired one of the brightest young coaching minds in the market, Matt Nagy. Not only was he the former offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, he also helped transform Alex Smith into a MVP candidate a season ago. Nagy, a disciple of the Andy Reid coaching tree, had all the signs of being a great coach, but as always people had their doubts. However, with two-thirds of the season in the books, the doubts have disappeared after leading his team to an 8-3 record, and creating a culture in the locker room unlike anything we have ever seen before. In Chicago, we talk about the architect of the Bulls dynasty, Jerry Krause being the greatest general manager in Chicago history.

Maybe, just maybe, down the road we will be talking about Pace being the architect of this great Bears team for years to come.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
The Bears are back in town