Mike Brez

Managing Editor for The Bears Brawl and co-host of The Bears Brawl Podcast.


(Jan. 8, 2018 – Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America)

The 2019 NFL combine has officially kicked off. Bears GM Ryan Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy spoke with the press today at lengthen regarding the state of the Bears offseason. Out of the gate, Pace was asked about runningbacks here at the combine and in general. Today was measurement day for players at the combine, but the bears GM was quick to remind us to not get to caught up in measurables.

Regarding runningback, he stated the keys looked for are instincts and vision. He went on to talk about how he likes to get a good gauge for their personality and football intelligence, as he interviewed 4-5 running backs last night. It is pretty obvious Pace and Nagy feel the running back room is lacking the talent they desire. Is that centrally focused at Jordan Howard? In part, but it’s also his last year on contract and the Bears will look to draft his successor. From listening to Pace and Nagy speak about the run game this offseason, you can deduct they are looking for a scheme fit this year. A Darrell Henderson, if you will. Rolling from speaking about combine runningbacks, Pace was then asked about recent Brown’s signee Kareem Hunt. Pace quickly went on to say they did their research, but were never serious about potentially signing Hunt.

The question was raised about the transition of Fangio exiting and Pagano taking over. Pace relayed the general information that both coaches a 3-4 and we are in sub packages 85% of the time. He went on to state that Pagano can bend his coaching scheme to what the players know and do, instead of them fitting solely to him

(Sept. 21, 2017 – Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

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Austin Seibert (Oklahoma), Matt Gay (Utah), Cole Tracy (LSU) make up the 3 place kickers invited to the Combine. Pace has said, he wants “major competition” at the kicker position and will “explore every avenue”. The Bears scouts, GM and special team coordinator Chris Tabor will be doing extensive research on these three. Ryan Pace mentioned the interview process with these kickers being very important. Have they faced adversity in life? How did they handle it? On and off he field. Pace all but said, he made a big mistake with the Cody Parkey signing. Now, sounds very motivated to not miss on kicker again. He spoke on futures signee Redford Jones and how he crushed his audition. Leg strength was the one key Pace touched on above all other attributes. Allowing a kicker to cut through the wind, something to think about when self-scouting kickers this offseason. From the words Pace was speaking about kickers, Matt Gay from Utah kept popping into my mind. Food for thought. To wrap about Free agent kickers, Pace all but admitted he was going to re-sign Robbie Gould and Cody Parkey was a huge mistake.

Speaking Pacenese:

I like to feel I’ve become a master at breaking through Pacenese. So, in this section of the article I will give my best effort at that.

Jahns: “ How satisfied with the current cap space are you?”
Pace: “ Yeah, you know were good” “We anticipated it”
Translation: We have enough room to meet our offseason plan and if we need to convert mack’s money to achieve it we will.

Jahns: “ Would you say Bryce and Adrian is an either or situation?”
Pace: “ Yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s either or and theres ongoing negotiations”
Translation: We might not sign back either if the contracts don’t fall right and we have plan for it. Heading to free agency is more likely than resigning both, which is unlikely.

Cambell: “ Regarding Kyle Long would you say he took a pay reduction”
Pace: “ I don’t want to get into the details of it Rich, but there are things in it that can benefit Kyle”
Translation: He took a straight up pay cut.

Biggs: “ Are you happy with the tight end position”
Pace: “ You know you can never have to much depth there Brad, but theres a good variety in that room when you talk about Shaheen and Burton, Braunecker, Daniel Brown we like that position.”
Biggs: “ Two of those guys are out of contract (Brown/Braunecker) Right?”
Pace: “ Yeah its all part of our plan, yeah”
Translation: We need to find a good addition to the tight end room and we will via free agency, draft or both. We have plans to re-sign Brown and Braunecker to vet minimum deals and compete in camp.

Cambell: “ How far down the road did you get on the Kareem Hunt process?”
Pace: “ Did we talk about it yes, was it serious? no”
Translation: Matt brought it up, I squashed it. I’m the boss.

Reporter: “ In retrospect how do you self asses your decision to cut Robbie Gould?”
Pace: “ I think we are honest with all those decisions and obviously he’s with another team now so we can’t discuss it”
Reporter: “ what do you think of yourself on making that decision?”
Pace: “ (Annoyed) Obviously we’ve struggled since then so theres that, but we look to fix it and we will”
Translation: I screwed the pooch on that one in hindsight, we would have looked to re-sign him this offseason if a Petty team on the West coast I won’t name, wouldn’t have Tagged him.

Cambell: “ Going back to Bryce the mix of production and durability. How is it balancing in your mind as you try to put an Evaluation on him and understand if he can be part of you guys going forward”
Pace: “ thats part of the task and challenge we have. You know i think there are so many factors that play into a players contract, um and those are all factors in Bryce’s contract and we’re working through that.

Translation: We’ve offered Bryce a decent contract considering he’s been injured and a 5’9 nickel. He and his agent didn’t take the deal and we are trying to work out language and accelerators so he takes it.

Reporter: “ Could you see you guys taking a Quarterback this year with one of your draft picks?”
Pace: If he’s the best player available, sure”
Translation: No

Jahns: “Coming off a 12-4 season, do you feel you are more a destination maybe, for these big named free agents who are willing to come play for a championship?”
Pace: “ That’s real, you know, you go into free agency and sometimes and you know… that’s real. Players want to be certain places.
Translation: No Doubt, we’ve already heard from a slew of free agents from back channels they want be here. That’s why I’m not really worried about some of our holes you’ve pointed out.