Pace needs to get some credit for the Chicago Bears possibly making the playoffs
Without Pace’s draft picks from 2018, the Bears have no shot at the playoffs. Roquan Smith is playing better than any other ILB in the NFL. Yet, somehow he got overlooked in the popularity contest that is the Pro Bowl balloting.
Bilal Nichols is showing he can defend the run as well as rush the pass at a high level which includes getting sacks. James Daniels was the best offensive lineman on the team until he got hurt.
David Montgomery, now that he has some decent blocking in front of him, has been one of the best running backs in the NFL the last few weeks. He has also done the, seemingly, impossible. That is he has enabled the Bears to carve out an offensive identity. He has made the run game an integral part of this identity.
Duke Shelley going against a Vikings team with two great wideouts showed why he is capable of being their number one slot cornerback. Then we have the 2020 class which did not have a first-round pick yet is making a significant impact in the 2020 season.
Their two second-round picks Jaylon Johnson and Cole Kmet are showing they are not only starter quality but also bring some special skills to the table as well. The speedy, Darnell Mooney, is the steal of the entire 2020 draft as a 5th round pick who just set a record for most receptions by a Bears rookie wideout.
Lastly, another fifth-round pick, Kindle Vildor, showed in the boom or bust role of boundary cornerback, he has the stuff to play in big games against tough competition when needed.
So let’s also give Pace some credit for his picks before 2018. Let’s start with his much-maligned QB pick. He is showing that along with his imperfections if used properly, he has the capacity to generate lots of points for the Bears. This list includes two big hits in the second round.
One of them is one of the best nose tackles in the NFL, Eddie Goldman. The other is Cody Whitehair who is now regularly, dominating the opposition with his recent shift back to guard. Anthony Miller has flashed some big-time talent but has also flashed some big time-poor judgment as well. Lastly, this is not a great time to bring him up but at one time Eddie Jackson was one of the very best safeties in the NFL. Pace got him in the 4th round.
Those that believe the Bears need a big rebuild are just plain wrong. There is more talent on this team than is given credit for. Nagy has sabotaged maxing out on this talent because he has been so shockingly rigid in how he has utilized the players Ryan Pace provided him with.
A case in point is that Sam Mustiper and Alex Bars only found their way into the starting lineup because of injuries. Now Mustipher is all but a lock as the Bears center of the future. Alex Bars has shown himself to be starter quality but will probably be a quality backup.
However, he has shown himself to be a much better offensive lineman than Rashaad Coward who started most of the season and most of the time played poorly before being benched. This all makes me wonder if Jason Spriggs is a better left tackle than Charles Leno who had his best game of the season this last Sunday.
It only took Leno 14 games to wake up out of his slumber. All this is more evidence that Matt Nagy is unwilling or incapable of seeing the big picture in terms of his player’s ability. This is no way for a head coach to be successful. It also can make your general manager look worse than he is.