In an age of anonymous pundits, amateur tape-grinders and armchair GMs, where every story is scrutinized and scrutinized by sources, I’m not afraid to say that I, a simple sports writer, have no clue who the general manager of the Chicago Bears is. Ryan Pauls has tips on how to build a winning football team.
The evidence in hand does not look good. The results so far are not good.
In 25 games in the Ryan Pauls era, the Bears are 5-20. They were the worst team in the NFL last year, by record, and it looks to be even worse this season.
On the one hand, you can discount some of last year’s 3-14 season because Paul was scrambling for draft capital while rebuilding Ryan Pace’s roster.
He traded away two defensive captains, Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn, in consecutive weeks. Nobody keeps records of something like that, but I don’t think that happened before that.
On the other hand, at his end-of-season news conference in January, Paul dismissed any suggestion that the Houston Texans could lock up the Bears’ No. 1 pick when they beat the Indianapolis Colts in the season finale.
“Honestly, I wasn’t paying attention,” he said. “Someone in here (media room) saw me and told me about it. And I was just like, yeah, I’m just not in the mood.”
So … he saves the season for a better draft pick and then doesn’t want to admit that I’m happy to get the No. 1 draft pick? I found a fine line to walk there, but his response was strange to me then and still is today.
The Poles, of course, weren’t so shy about taking advantage of his good fortune. The possibility of trading the No. 1 pick was open and he did so to the Carolina Panthers for DJ Moore and picks, the title of the Panthers’ 2024 first-round pick. It was a good move. He spent money during the offseason to strengthen the roster. This year he was waiting for a step forward.
It didn’t happen. In fact, the bears are lagging behind. They are 2-6, again, considered the worst team in the NFL. Their defensive coordinator mysteriously had to resign. Head coach Matt Eberflus, at the start of his Bears coaching career at Bears-Gibron, seems like an overrated coordinator. Quarterback Justin Fields is injured and the long-awaited quarterback of the future is uncertain.
Now everything is very bad.
And that brings us to Tuesday, which was the trade deadline for the NFL.
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