Bernstein: Bears Great At Diffusing Responsibility

Will someone with the Bears ever bluntly address their problems?

Dan Bernstein
February 26, 2020 - 1:49 pm
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(670 The Score) Spreading the wealth is good for a balanced and diversified NFL offense, a multi-faceted attack that always has an opponent wondering who might have the ball next.

The concept isn't so good for a front office and coaching staff trying to explain their specific responsibilities as they figure out how to put a team back in contention after a dreary downer of a season. To hear the Bears tell it Tuesday, it's all a little bit of everything. There's no clearly stated vision at this point, just a nebulous commitment to some form of improvement that doesn't seem to have roles defined neatly for those involved.

It's apparently how they want it.

"This isn't a dictatorship," general manager Ryan Pace said in a rare appearance in front of independent media. "This is a very collaborative effort. We've got a lot of talented scouts and coaches evaluating those opinions. I think it helps too when you bring new people into the building. We have new coaches that come in with fresh eyes, and we are taking advantage of that."

How the Bears are doing so, he didn't care to say. The new and fancier titles have yet to do anything to explain how all these offensive coaches interact and who actually does what job. Some NFL teams don't wear collaboration as such a point of pride as the Bears do, either, instead employing executives and coaches more willing to identify problems bluntly and own the results of decisions. Here, it's always shared and globalized.

"It's very collaborative," Pace reiterated, using that word again. "It's early, but those guys are all like-minded. I think it has been strong."

Related: Matt Nagy, Bears aim to reset offense in search of an identity

Having like-minded coaches may not be the best approach for the Bears at this point, but coach Matt Nagy hit some of the same notes as his boss.

"I've been doing a lot of listening," Nagy said. "I think now is the time to do that so we can collaborate."

Somebody grab the wheel, already. Steer this thing somewhere better.

This philosophy also manifests in how they discuss the team itself and the glaring issues at the single most important individual position in team sports. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky face-planted last season after a promising 2018, but nobody can bring himself to say so.

"Mitch knows he needs to be better," Pace said. "We need to be better around him."

Or his becoming what he was drafted and purported to be could be what lifts everybody around him, in the way that star NFL quarterbacks do. That was the point, to find that win-because-of player who doesn't require a village effort elsewhere to support and coddle him after 41 starts in the league.

But that's an unreasonable ask, interpreting Nagy's dismissal of such impatience.

"You see what's going on with the instant gratification now, but there is a process for us," Nagy said.

Ah yes, the "instant gratification" demands for a quarterback entering his fourth year who was drafted second overall after Pace traded two third-round picks and a fourth-rounder to move up one slot. These damn kids these days with their Apple Pay and Uber and microwave popcorn are ruining our precious processes!

Talking about process is another way of diffusing and distracting from the lack of results, and Nagy was eager to do so regarding Trubisky and where the player's focus must be. 

"You give direction, and now he needs to follow it," Nagy said. "And that's going to be what we're really focused on -- is make sure that he does that, and don't worry about results. Who cares? Worry about the process."

Fine. He can do that. We'll all be over here, worrying about results.

Process, collaborative efforts, delayed gratification and a generalized responsibility that can keep the brunt of pressure off of any one individual, for now. The Bears do have an extremely effective and efficient passing game -- when it comes to the proverbial buck.

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