On Friday morning, the Chicago Bears will introduce G.M. Ryan Pace to the media at Halas Hall, and there will be plenty of reporters and columnists looking to get the new guy’s take on the Bears, and how to rebuild the ailing franchise.
With that in mind, we’ve prepared a list of questions that Pace should be asked when he steps up to the podium.
“The New Orleans Saints have been the team you’ve essentially grown up working for. They even created a new position for you as you moved through the ranks. How difficult was it to leave the team?”
It seems crazy to think that a 37-year old man has already worked in the NFL for over a decade, but Pace spent 14 seasons with the Saints. He worked his way up through the ranks and eventually the Saints created the position of player personnel director for him in 2013. It would be interesting to hear his take on not only what the Saints taught him, but also what convinced him to give up that job with the team he’s been with for so long and come to Chicago.
“George McCaskey and Ted Phillips made it a point during their postseason press conference to say that they weren’t going to rule out any candidates, or rule out any qualification of candidates, for their head coaching search. What are some of the things you’re looking for as you begin interviewing candidates in earnest?”
Both McCaskey and Phillips wouldn’t rule out coaches based on which level of football they had experience in, and it’s unlikely that Pace will either. What we are interested in hearing is whether or not Pace can give us some insight on what his mindset will be as he sits across from these coaching candidates.
“In your estimation, what is the team’s biggest area of need?”
This is a question that can be answered in any number of ways, but hearing Pace’s answer will tell us a lot about what area he wants to tackle first as G.M. He’d likely say something about how hiring a head coach is paramount over any personnel decisions, but whether he chooses to focus on the defense or on trying to improve the team’s offense will give us a window into which way he’s leaning on several fronts.
“We’ve seen how the tenures of past general managers of this team have ended. What makes you think that your philosophy and style will be what it takes to turn things around here?”
It’s a direct question, and possibly even confrontational depending on how it’s asked, but it’s one that needs to be stated. Phil Emery always acted like he was the smartest guy in the room, but that bravado came undone as poor contract decisions and bad coaching hires ultimately cost him his job. Pace is going to have a lot of expectations heaped upon him (and possibly comparisons to Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein, who was the youngest G.M. in baseball when hired into that role by the Boston Red Sox), and it’ll be interesting to hear how he will deal with that.
“Are all options on the table when it comes to Jay Cutler?”
It’s the question that’s on everybody’s lips, and it has to be asked. Will the team try to trade Jay Cutler, or will they make it a point to keep him around? Pace isn’t going to show all of his cards on that front, and he’d likely give a non-answer to the question if asked, but putting him on the spot is the only way to know for sure whether or not he’ll play ball and answer.