UA-59049186-1 State of the Bears Address - Good if it Goes

State of the Bears Address

Hi, everybody. It’s been a while

Where ya been?

Hi, Bold-Talking Question-Asking Guy. Life got in the way of regular film posts, then the team fell apart. I have grades for the Tampa and Kansas City games. I’ll do the Washington, Vegas, and New Orleans games, and at least one of the ones against Detroit. Here are the Tampa and KC grades:

Grading for the Chiefs game ended early in the third quarter with the game out of hand.

During the mini-bye week, I took a look at the team, where things stand, and addressed what the team should do about their biggest question marks moving forward.

Justin Fields 

Gut says: 85% he’s gone

I would: have traded him after the Washington game

Has the situation around Justin Fields been perfect? Absolutely not. But a franchise quarterback should still have shown something by this point. The inconsistency is just too much. We were supposed to see a leap this year if he was going to be the guy, then he mostly stunk before getting hurt again, but yet, there’s a segment of the fan base that keeps making excuses for him. There’s more than enough here for him to look like a legit QB and he hasn’t. Now the main excuse is that the coaching sucks. It does (more on that later), but what the Fields cult never explains is how Fields saves his job without the coaches saving theirs. Please tell me how Ryan Poles is supposed to go to Kevin Warren and/or George McCaskey and say “Yeah, so I kept the quarterback I didn’t pick and fired the coach I did pick. I think Fields can be a franchise QB, so clearly the problem is that I didn’t put a team around him. Sooo…yeah, let’s get to work on that contract extension so I can hire the next coach!” Doesn’t work. Moreover, if Fields needs so much around him in order to be good, then he’s not worth the big money contract he’s going to want after the 2025 season. Lastly, what the Texans are doing now is exactly why the Bears need to just take their QB this year and be done with it. They wouldn’t get the same haul they got from Carolina if they want to stay in range to draft Marvin Harrison Jr. like so much of the fan base wants. A pick swap, a 2025 1st, and maybe a 2024 4th or so is about the ceiling. From there, you run the risk that instead of 2 top-5 picks in a loaded QB class, you have 0 that are even top 10 in a lesser class. And then you’re stuck in NFL purgatory. 

Matt Eberflus 

Gut says: 95% he’s gone

I would: Lane Kiffin him in Green Bay and tell him to find his own way home. 

There’s no two ways about this – the guy has been a disaster. Some of it isn’t his fault – Ryan Poles didn’t give him the pieces he needs to run his defense effectively. Much of it is his fault – the still-lousy pass defense, the awful game management, the terrible coordinator hires. Luke Getsy has mostly sucked. Alan Williams was a terrible hire even before he got canned for whatever it was that he shouldn’t have been doing.

Ryan Poles 

Gut says: 60% he stays

I would: fire him, in part because I’m getting rid of everyone else.

Ryan Poles did an excellent job of resetting the Bears’ cap and draft capital situations. Getting DJ Moore in the trade with Carolina this spring was a big pull. He has not done much of anything else. The Claypool trade was a disaster. The defensive line still stinks. Kyler Gordon looks like a legit dude, but Tyrique Stevenson has been a walking flag and Jaquan Brisker gets worse by the week. When he can manage to stay on the field, anyway. The reality is that you have to extend him if you’re going to let him pick the next coach. Nobody is going to sign on to work here if they think the GM is on the hot seat. Ultimately, I think he stays and is extended. The Montez Sweat trade is not a thing you let your GM do if he’s about to get fired. So why aren’t his odds of staying higher? Kevin Warren is the x-factor here. Poles wasn’t his guy. He was George McCaskey’s guy. The guy says Poles stays, but it also says there’s a real chance Warren wants to clean house. 

So who do we hire?

I’ll go more into this, as well as the quarterback prospects, toward the end of the season. Right now, I would be looking at either Ben Johnson or Bobby Slowik. Both are in their mid-to-late 30s and would be first-time head coaches. Slowik comes from the Shanahan tree. Johnson came up with Dan Campbell and went to North Carolina. Right now, I would lean Drake Maye if I had my druthers. I also like Caleb Williams, J.J. McCarthy, and Michael Penix except for his injury history. Any one of those four being the QB next year is fine by me.

There have been vague rumblings about Bill Belichick, Mike Vrabel, and/or Sean McDermott becoming available. I would take either of the former two if Ken Dorsey came on as offensive coordinator. Given the events that just transpired in Buffalo, that wouldn’t seem to be an option with McDermott. 


Earlier in the year, I put the odds of Jim Harbaugh being the next Bears coach at 50% if Michigan wins the national championship and 10% if they don’t. I am downgrading those numbers to 15% and 2%, respectively. This may seem counterintuitive given the garbage the NCAA and the Big Ten are throwing his way, but word out of Michigan is that were it not for said garbage, he would’ve already signed an extension making him the highest-paid coach in the conference that would’ve included a buyout that effectively said he’d be retiring at Michigan. Contrary to the poor reports that made their way around Elmo’s cesspool, the contract offer was not rescinded, merely paused while the school sorts everything out. The current belief is that it’s when, not if, a contract will be put on the table and when it is, Harbaugh will sign it and that will be that. The university president has gotten involved on Harbaugh’s behalf and the school has retained Williams & Connolly to represent them in court. That firm defended Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial and has two alumni on the Supreme Court. One of them is even qualified to be there! The other one likes beer. Anywho, they clearly want Harbaugh to be there and while the garbage has to be annoying, Harbaugh is the exact kind of dude to be like “you’re not getting rid of me that easily.” The 15% figure is probably still too high and that scenario is: Michigan wins it all, no contract is on the table yet, and Harbaugh decides “I’ve done all there is to do here, Sherrone’s ready, I want one more chance at a Super Bowl and here’s an opening where I’m not going to run into the problems with ownership I had in San Francisco and I can bring JJ with me.”

The other reason that 15% figure might be high is the possibility that ownership won’t do whatever it takes to land him. Obviously, if Harbaugh is amenable to coming here, the conversation with George McCaskey should be like:

“You want to be the highest-paid coach in the league? Sure thing. You want to pick your own QB? You got it. You want control over the rest of the roster? No problemo.”

While the McCaskeys are said to love him and are extremely unlikely to be the pain in the neck that Jed York was, it remains to be seen that they’d pull out all the stops to get him here in the first place.

As for any rumblings on the matter, I’m ignoring all Chicago media reports and so should you. Jeff Hughes’ insights are valuable as to what ownership might be thinking. Kaplan, Biggs, et al should be disregarded for the time being. For your own sanity’s sake, this space advises you to wait until you hear something from someone like John U. Bacon or Sam Webb – people on the Michigan side with legit intel. And right now, all of those people are saying it’s very likely Harbaugh’s extended. 

Is it possible Harbaugh is punished by the NCAA to an extent that he’s forced out at Michigan? Yes, but not a very good one. Michigan linebackers coach Chris Partridge was fired Friday for his role in the advance scouting scheme, but even that was said to be for attempting to hinder the investigation by destroying files and computer equipment rather than for any actual knowledge of the scheme. John Harbaugh said that Jim’s phone and computer were searched and came up clean. There’s still nothing directly linking this to Jim Harbaugh and while there is a clause in the NCAA rulebook making the head coach responsible for the actions of his assistants, any punishment that would result in Harbaugh’s ouster would almost certainly be met with stiff legal action. And, again, such a penalty is unlikely in the first place. 


Whatever Elmo’s calling it nowThreads: @312sportsguy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *