Nader Here Nor There

Nader Here Nor There: For once ‘wait and see’ makes sense

John Fox (left) was hired by new General Manager Ryan Pace (right) to become the 18th head coach of the Chicago Bears. Left: Ed Adrienski//AP Images, Right: Nam H. Yuh//AP Images

nader-here-nor-thereChicago sports fans are always told to wait and see. “Wait and see who the Bulls are going to sign this offseason,” or “wait and see where the Cubs are going to be in five years.”

My personal favorite is “wait and see how well Derrick Rose is going to play when he gets back to full strength.”

There’s a reason that Chicago fans are always waiting and seeing. Chicago wants a reason to be optimistic. I know I sure do, but that’s no reason to jump on the Ryan Pace and John Fox bandwagon just yet.

In case you missed it, the Bears recently made a surprising move when they hired Pace to be the sixth general manager in Chicago Bears history. The young and talented 37-year-old had been a key contributor in the New Orleans Saints’ front office for more than a decade when he decided to make the jump to leading his own team.

Only a few days after Bears Chairman George McCaskey made the call to hire Pace, the new GM used his new authority to hire John Fox, the former head coach of the Carolina Panthers and, most recently, the Denver Broncos.

By most accounts, McCaskey’s decision to hire Pace sounds like a smart move. Pace is a smart talent evaluator who has worked his way up the ranks in the NFL.

As for Fox, he’s a well-liked players’ coach who is one of only six coaches in NFL history to take two different teams to the Super Bowl.

Fox has had success with Jake Delhomme and Tim Tebow as quarterbacks, so why can’t he have success with Jay Cutler, a player who has more potential than both Delhomme and Tebow ever had?

Of course, Cutler’s potential has been talked about his entire career with little to no results, so that isn’t something to hang your head on. His decision-making and accuracy are two things that are unlikely to improve anytime soon, regardless of who his coach is.

With that said, Fox can minimize Cutler’s need to make a large amount of decisions by getting back to the basics of Chicago Bears football: run the ball and play tough defense. Luckily, those are two things that Fox is known for.

On paper, the Bears couldn’t have done much better than Pace and Fox. So don’t get me wrong: I’m not pessimistic about the Bears’ future by any stretch of the imagination. But like the old saying goes, games aren’t won on paper.

I just don’t know how somebody could be optimistic given what the Bears have at their disposal. Chicago still has the oldest roster in the league. Chicago still has Jay Cutler –– and all of his problems. Chicago still has the worst defense in its 95-year-old franchise history.

Pace and Fox seem like they have the ability to get some of these problems in order, but that doesn’t mean that we should be optimistic about the situation.

After all, Phil Emery and Marc Trestman had the look, sound and feel of good GM and head coach hires a few years ago. Look how that turned out. Just because we’ve heard great things about these guys doesn’t mean that they will accomplish great things in Chicago.

Had anybody heard of Pace before they got the alert on their phone notifying them that he was the new GM of the Chicago Bears? Because I sure hadn’t.

The truth is we don’t know what they’re going to do together in Chicago, and nobody can truthfully say they know. Two or three years down the road, maybe Pace and Fox will have led the Bears to a Super Bowl victory, maybe not.

There’s no reason to jump on these guys’ bandwagon just yet, but there’s also no reason to stay off of it indefinitely. Just like with many things in Chicago sports, the smart thing to do is wait and see.

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Nader is a senior pursuing dual degrees in broadcast journalism and sport management. He grew up in Lombard, IL, meaning he has suffered through being a Chicago sports fan his entire life. But hey, the Cubs just won the World Series, so it was worth it.

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