Chicago Bears must build the roster this way to be a winner

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 22: Pernell McPhee
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 22: Pernell McPhee /
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Chicago Bears, Pernell McPhee
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

When someone mentions the Chicago Bears to an old head, the first thing they think is running the ball and defense. Most fans of my generation feel that it has been done repeatedly, and the team can’t possibly win that way because they have tried and failed.

Tell me, friend, when have the Chicago Bears actually focused on building up a strong running game and a strong defense? During the Ryan Pace era, the Chicago Bears have been a combination of ever going in either direction entirely. Ryan Pace’s first draft pick was Kevin White — an up-and-coming deep threat with size and speed.

In 2015, the Chicago Bears released offensive lineman Roberto Garza and signed Will Montgomery to start at center. They moved Kyle Long (All-Pro guard) to right tackle. That year, the Chicago Bears also brought in Alan Ball, Mason Foster, Pernell McPhee, Jarvis Jenkins, Antrel Rolle, and Tracy Porter (to help Kyle Fuller in the secondary). Jacquizz Rodgers was the veteran brought in to help with Matt Forte. Eddie Royal was the slot guy that was signed. A few defensive moves, mostly run stoppers and a passing catching and blocking running back with a slot receiver.

None of that screams running the ball. In the draft that season, the Chicago Bears selected Hroniss Grasu at center to battle Will Montgomery. Neither of these centers was known for their ability to open up running holes. Both were a bit small and were known for the agility.

Remember, Eddie Goldman was selected in the second round that year — a pure nose tackle with a bit of upside at stopping the run. Adrian Amos was a free safety but became more of an in-the-box run stopper and short, middle-of-the-field protector. Jeremy Langford, who replaced Matt Forte shortly after (sort of), was a dual-threat running back.

The Chicago Bears were built to stop the run while passing the ball on offense. When you look back at all of the Chicago Bears offseasons under Ryan Pace, most of the players acquired were to stop the run and pass the ball. Sure, you will have the Jordan Howard (no hands) era and the Khalil Mack trade.

Ryan Pace is not a bad GM, but he tried his best impression to recreate the New Orleans Saints. When Mitch Trubisky did not turn (or didn’t he?) into that Drew Brees type of player, the vision was corrupted. Side note, Trubisky is following in a Drew Brees-like-pattern, though. Sean Payton, you going for round two?