George McCaskey explains firing Matt Nagy, Ryan Pace originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
After a bold decision to overhaul the front office and coaching staff, Bears chairman George McCaskey addressed the media from a dais at Halas Hall. While Ted Phillips was not visible on the Zoom call, he was present on the call for questions.
Bears insider Adam Hoge and Alex Shapiro were on the call to bring updates.
The Search Committee
McCaskey outlined the Bears' search committee, which includes Bill Polian.
The one quirk is the Bears need to hire a general manager and a head coach. Typically a general manager hires a head coach. So how do you hire both at the same time?
McCaskey said ideally the general manager would be hired first, but noted they'd lean heavily on Polian.
McCaskey also said Ted Phillips will continue to be involved in the search.
And when pressed to explain why football operations should continue to be under his domain, McCaskey said he has ownership and the board's support.
Rookie quarterback Justin Fields will not be involved in the search.
What Made Them Think It Was Time For Change
McCaskey was asked if there was a moment that made it clear it was time for a change and he surprisingly pointed to a specific instance.
He noted in Week 1, safety Eddie Jackson failed to touch a down receiver. Then he noted the same mistake happened in Week 18 when cornerback Jaylon Johnson did the same. Ironically in that Week 18 example, it was Jackson who got the tackle to prevent a touchdown.
Virginia McCaskey's Reaction
George also shed light on his mother's view of the season.
A lot of rumors swirled that Nagy was informed of his fate before today. When asked, McCaskey said both Nagy and Pace were informed this morning.
McCaskey was also asked why the Bears didn't do this after last season and said he felt Nagy and Pace deserved another shot, citing two playoff trips in three years.
What Are They Looking For?
In a word, leadership.
“The primary quality we’ll be looking for in our GM and head coach will be leadership,” McCaskey said.
McCaskey also referenced a book Polian wrote about the need for respect in leadership.
Ted Phillips' Future
The duo immediately addressed some speculation about Phillips' future role with the team. There was some speculation that Phillips would focus on the business side while Pace could've been promoted to oversee football operations and a new general manager.
McCaskey noted Phillips would oversee the pursuit of a new stadium in Arlington Heights while the new general manager would report to McCaksey directly.
Tonight, at 6 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago will air a special edition of the Football Aftershow to recap the news and what McCaskey told the media. Host David Kaplan will be joined by former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt and insider Adam Hoge.
Justin Fields Starter Decision
There were reports that McCaskey forced Nagy to start rookie quarterback Justin Fields, which he denied.