Bernstein: Amid Bears' Spiral, Pace Needs To Lead

Ryan Pace continues to hide as questions pile up for the struggling Bears.

Dan Bernstein
November 17, 2019 - 11:14 pm
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(670 The Score) It's not just that we don't know what's actually going on with the Bears, it's that they themselves also don't seem to understand what's happening, and their general manager won't make himself available to explain.

The Bears' 17-7 loss to the Rams in Los Angeles on Sunday night not only sealed their 2019 fate, effectively erasing any last bit of guttering playoff hope and adding immediacy and severity to the questions we're asking about how it got here and what the path is to bigger and better things, but the removal of Mitchell Trubisky late in the fourth quarter felt like a clear end of something.

After the fact, the Bears announced a hip injury that we are to believe necessitated the insertion of an overwhelmed Chase Daniel. Yet we saw both Nagy's unhappy reaction to his offense's last three-and-out and the emotional conversation he and Trubisky had that included Nagy using his play card to hide their exchange, and we now must take them at their word that it was an honest reckoning that he was too hurt to continue despite never going into the medical tent or receiving sideline treatment.

Bottom line, there's more to this story. There are so many stories.

Related: Haugh: Bears' season nothing but shameful

Nagy is the guy at the lectern, as always, and he was the one addressing both the inscrutable quarterback move and the inexcusable placekicking crisis in a way that can defuse and mitigate, navigating a tenable enough path to get out of there in a way that has become a notable and demanded skill well beyond his play-calling. At this point, I wouldn't be mad at him for flinging his visor off the back wall and screaming: "Talk to the guy who traded up to draft him and who has f---ed up the kicker deal from jump! Talk to him!"

No independent reporter gets to talk to general manager Ryan Pace when it matters, in the role of professional representative of the critical fan that holds his or her team to high expectations and once believed reasonably that this season held promise. Pace hides from curiosity investigated by those outside of franchise control, and even his rare open sessions are managed tightly by the Bears to protect him. Where the Cubs' Theo Epstein makes himself more available in the tougher times and ends disappointing seasons by opening a vein and bleeding out publicly and with purpose for as much time is needed until the last question is asked, Pace remains afraid.

As he hides, the real questions pile up.

Regardless of the murky circumstances of his removal Sunday, is Trubisky still salvageable? Will his fifth-year option be picked up? Will quarterback competition be brought in for next season -- or immediately now after Colin Kaepernick's workout? Why do you keep getting the kicker wrong? Why is Khalil Mack now a non-factor?

There are so many more you're adding as you read, and they're valid.

The Bears lost a particularly winnable game on a night that would've allowed them to fool themselves and the rest of us that they were viable. 

They're very much and pointedly not, and we deserve to know what the person in charge of the football operation plans to do about it.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in midday. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.