The Chicago Bears have confirmed that coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace will return in 2021, noting that they were “impressed” with how the two kept the team together during a midseason six-game skid.
The Bears finished 8-8 but were bounced from the playoffs in last week’s wild-card loss to the New Orleans Saints.
“I was impressed with both of them this past season, especially during the six-game losing streak,” said Bears chairman George McCaskey.
“The fact that our players never gave up is a tribute to the players. It is also indicative of the type of players that Ryan acquires and to the players’ regard for Matt as their head coach.
“Have mistakes been made? Yes. But I think both Ryan and Matt are learning and growing in their roles. The decisions we’re announcing today may not be the easiest or most popular but we believe they’re the best decisions for the Bears.”
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Pace enters the final year of his contract and neither was given an extension.
“When we see improvements, contracts will take care of themselves,” Bears president Ted Phillips said.
That success will focus around improving the quarterback situation, an issue McCaskey said he believes Nagy and Pace will correct in 2021.
“We need better production from the quarterback position to be successful,” McCaskey added.
January 17, 2021, 1:00am
The Bears drafted Mitchell Trubisky No 2 overall in the 2017 draft but he hasn’t developed into a star quarterback.
Nagy and Pace came under scrutiny as the Bears slumped to the end of the 2020 season – having started 5-1 they lost their next six games.
A three-game winning streak followed, but the Bears were blown out by the Green Bay Packers in the regular-season finale and only sneaked into the postseason thanks to other results going their way.
Nagy, 42, was selected as the NFL Coach of the Year after his first season in the job, when he led the 2018 Bears to a 12-4 mark.
A pair of 8-8 seasons have followed, though, and he has yet to win a playoff game in two appearances.
Pace, 43, took over the Bears front office in 2015.
Chicago have a 42-54 regular-season record and an 0-2 playoff mark during his tenure.
Meanwhile, Bears’ defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano is retiring after two seasons with Chicago and nearly four decades as a coach at the NFL and collegiate levels.
Before joining the Bears in 2019, Pagano was the Indianapolis Colts head coach for six seasons from 2012-17.
Pagano retires at the age of 60 after coaching 18 years in the NFL and 18 years in college.
“As much as I love coaching, it takes a lot of time away from your family and loved ones,” he said.
“I’m excited to start this new chapter of my life and can’t wait to be able to spend more time with my family.
“This has been an amazing ride and I have made countless relationships that I will cherish forever.”
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