A Different Situation at Bears QB

Ryan Pace faces an entirely different situation in this hunt for a young quarterback in the draft than he did when he was looking for one in 2017
Publish date:

The reason Bears ownership gave for thinking Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy could succeed is their collaborative efforts.

The buzzword at their postseason press conference was collaboration and they've already put this concept to use in finding veteran quarterback Andy Dalton.

"He's been a starter in the league for a long time and produced at a high level for a long time," Pace said, when asked about the process of selecting Dalton. "That's all of us collectively in the building, coaches and scouts, coming to that conclusion as we went through the free agency process. And, yeah, he's our starting quarterback as we head into the season."

They may not be through, though. The Bears have only selected one quarterback in the draft since Pace came to the team and when he selected Mitchell Trubisky it was more of a one-man effort.

At least, coach John Fox appeared to be left out of the decision at that time. He was reportedly not informed about the pick before it was made.

Nagy, passing game coordinator John Defilippo and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor have been very much involved in the quarterback search. It's possible they may not be able to take one in Round 1 unless one of the better quarterbacks fall or they decide to scrap their needs at several vital positions to concentrate on a quarterback in the draft by trading away picks.

Regardless, it's a collaborative effort.

"I think it's great to be going through this with Matt and our and our scouts, and everybody has been doing a thorough job," Pace said. "Matt and I just got back from a pro day this week. It's just us being connected on the style of quarterback that fits our offense, what we're looking for from an intangible standpoint.

"I think it all comes back to the personnel department and the coaches being connected in every move we make. That's not just quarterback. That's every player we add to our team. And I think the longer we are together, the more connected we are, the better we are with our decision-making, and I think that’s been proven over the last couple of drafts."

Since Nagy became coach, 16 of the draft picks Pace made are still with the team. Six of the 18 players drafted before Nagy became coach are still with the Bears, though only six of the 12 no longer with the team from those drafts were complete washouts.

"I think every year you grow as an evaluator," Pace said. "You never stop growing in that area. So yeah, there probably are things, and not just with quarterback but every position, that I feel like we all get better at with experience, maybe things you value differently than you valued in the past because you have experience. So I would say, yeah.

"Yeah, you know, I think, um, again, you learn from every one of those things."

Experience can be as great a factor as collaboration in draft success.

"The draft is not an exact science, we know that," Pace said. "There are so many variables involved in this. There are so many things that happen when you draft a player, and you do learn from it."

The people Pace collaborates with are different, almost across the board. Dave Ragone's input in the past was always a factor in quarterback evaluation, and he's now in Atlanta as offensive coordinator.

"We're a different staff now," Pace said. "I think we're very connected with our coaches on what we're looking for.

"There's multiple ways to attack all these positions, not just quarterback, and that's what we're working through right now."

But quarterback is where everyone will be focused, even if they have to settle for one in Rounds 2-7 because the first-round pick is probably too far back at No. 20 to acquire one of the top five passers.

And Pace admits he has an ideal situation for a young passer to come in and learn behind Dalton and Nick Foles regardless of where they get him.

"We have a lot of experience in that room when you look at it now, when you combine Andy and Nick," Pace said. "That's a lot of games in the NFL. It does bode well for a young quarterback in that room with the experience of those two guys and some of the accolades they have in our league."