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Ryan Pace's roster sucks. And Mitch Trubisky isn't ready to win tough NFL games yet after his terrible late interception handed the Vikings a 20-17 victory on a silver platter Monday night.
Wait a minute, why do I have to be so negative? Why don't I just write about the Cubs? OK, OK, I'll go ahead and toss in a Cubs note. But that's it. Yesterday featured the Cubs winning a pressure-packed, high stakes contest (2-1 over the Nationals to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five NLDS). There was no news there - we already knew this group can do that.
On the other hand, while we were confident Trubisky had shown real, live, massive potential in the preseason, we had no clue how he would do against a very good Vikings defense in a real game. So that was my primary focus last night.
Then again . . . my favorite part of the baseball game was when the fans let Joe Maddon have it after he gave Jose Quintana the quick hook. And then the fans were proven right when Quintana's sixth-inning replacement, Pedro Strop, gave up an RBI double to Ryan Zimmerman. I think everyone knows at this point that Maddon is a little out-of-control proud of himself. He needs reminders that he will be held accountable. And nothing delivers that message like 40,000 fans letting rip with a deserved "Booooo!!!" when he makes a questionable move.
Longtime Cubs beat writer Paul Sullivan reported after the game that the fans' reaction to that move by Maddon was the loudest negative response directed at the manager at Wrigley that Sullivan had heard by a considerable margin. Cubs fans can take a well-deserved bow.
And back to the Bears . . . continue to remember that if anything needs to be changed after this season, it is the weak general manager, not the coach. The coach isn't perfect but he has taken two separate teams to the Super Bowl in his career. The overmatched Pace has accomplished nothing. Last night Fox made a couple beautiful calls - springing a delightful fake punt on the Vikings at exactly the right time . . .
. . . and going for two to tie the game early in the fourth quarter with an awesome trick play.
Pace is the genius who didn't re-franchise tag wide receiver Alshon Jeffery despite the Bears' obvious need at the position. Pace is the one who gave Mike Glennon $18 million instead of giving Jeffrey $17 million. In the process, he gave away the Bears' best asset last off-season for absolutely nothing. There is simply no justifying that move. Period.
Pace is the genius who traded four picks to move up one pick to take Trubisky second in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He was so desperate to not draft Deshaun Watson that he made an on-its-face completely ludicrous transaction.
Why was Pace so determined to take Trubisky, just like he was so determined not to take Dak Prescott the year before that he (after having said previously that teams should draft a quarterback every year) drafted once, twice, three times in the fourth round before the Cowboys swooped in? They grabbed the guy, Prescott, who was by far the best rookie quarterback in the league last year and who has continued to play well this year despite the Cowboys' so-far disappointing record.
If Pace was a good general manager, he would have picked up a couple picks as he traded down to 10th or 11th in the first round at this year's draft. Then he would have picked Watson (who was drafted 12th by the trading up Texans) and also found himself with at least five more picks than he ended up with after he was fleeced by a general manager, the 49ers' John Lynch, who was in his first half hour on the job at the draft.
And so we watch a Bears team this year that, again, has no playmakers in the secondary and no difference-making wide receivers. The team lacks quality depth at numerous other positions. Think the squad might be a little better off with all the picks it gave up during Pace's big 2017 draft misadventure?
Watson, by the way, spent this past Sunday throwing five touchdown passes. It was the second consecutive week he was responsible for five touchdowns (he ran one in the week before to go with four touchdown tosses).
Watson, who was only one of the greatest quarterbacks in college football history at Clemson, leading his team to two consecutive national championship games and winning the second in spectacular fashion, did so against the Kansas City Chiefs this past Sunday, only the best team so far in the NFL in 2017.
To all the geniuses who tell me that if Trubisky is good, the trade details won't matter, do us all a favor and zip it. That sort of reasoning is nonsense. When Trubisky leads the Bears to a Super Bowl shortly after Watson has flamed out as a starter, then I'll re-consider my assessment of Pace's brutal malpractice, not before.
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
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Posted on Feb 19, 2018