One Missing Intangible Ryan Pace Added to Bears Roster
While GM Ryan Pace made playoff signings and tried to address individual roster problems, he added something in the process the team lacked.
Pace brought postseason experience, success and even Super Bowl experience to the Bears.
In all, 12 new players they signed or traded for possess 62 games of postseason experience.
When the Bears went into the 2018 playoffs, they had 13 players with 44 total postseason games of experience. They had zero players who had been in a playoff game with the Bears.
Of the players, three were Nick Williams, Patrick Scales and Bradley Sowell and they accounted for nine of the games.
So it was an inexperienced bunch and this can make a difference. Coach Matt Nagy was asked about the value of this at the time they were headed into their only playoff appearance since 2010.
"I think that having experience can help out so many, but we do have enough guys that can give their own experiences of how to handle these situations," Nagy said. "And that's all it takes, is just a few guys to be able to talk, give experiences.:
They've lost some but have some back.
Safety Jordan Lucas might wind up being anything from a starter to a special teams player to a cut victim with the Bears, but he does bring in the most recent Super Bowl experience with a ring from last year with the Chiefs.
He called achieving this kind of success a process and it's something a player can't know until they've bee through it.
"You never really know the situation until you're in it, and then you just gotta keep progressing," Lucas said. "You set a goal, you set a vision—as individuals and as a team—during the offseason. You talk about it, you talk about it. You don’t get too ahead of yourselves but you trust the process.
"As you keep going, you know, the process may change a little bit. Because you may see some failure at one end of the road. But you change up a little bit, you figure yourself out some more, you figure yourselves out as a team, and then you keep going. So your process changes just a little bit, but the end goal is always the same. You never really know until you get down to crunch time. Right now (with the Bears) it's all just laying the foundation."
When Pace decided to cut Prince Amukamara, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel, he trimmed 13 postseason games and three Super Bowl appearances from their experience level. Backup quarterback Chase Daniel, who left in free agency, Burton and Amukamara accounted for three of the four Super Bowl rings players on the 2018 roster had.
Replenishing some of this experience was essential.
The key to all of these moves, of course, is quarterback Nick Foles. Adding the Super Bowl LII MVP cannot help but elevate any team's overall play in pressure moments.
Besides Foles and Lucas, signing backup linebacker Barkevious Mingo at least gave them one more player with a ring from a season in New England and he also adds six playoff games of experience
Wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. should be an ideal player to have on board to help with the development of a young receiver like Darnell Mooney or even Javon Wims and Riley Ridley. Ginn has played in a whopping 15 playoff games, including Super Bowl losses with Carolina and San Francisco.
Jimmy Graham has been in eight postseason games and guard Germain Ifedi has had six with Seattle.
Whether all of the players Pace signed even make the team still is a question. It would be easy to see players like former Packers and Raiders receiver Trevor Davis and his two playoff games of experience not making the team. The same is true with cornerback Artie Burns and his four games, including an AFC championship game start.
Then again, the experience might be what's necessary to push the Bears into the category of serious contender.
And even those who don't make the team will have provided competition at training camp from a player who was in a Super Bowl, which can valuable experience in and of itself.
New Bears Postseason Experience
QB Nick Foles 6 games, Super Bowl LII MVP and ring
WR Kentrell Brice 3 games
TE Jimmy Graham 8 games
G Germain Ifedi 5 games
CB Artie Burns 4 games
S Tashaun Gipson 3 games
T Jason Spriggs 3 games
S Jordan Lucas 6 games, Super Bowl LIV ring
WR Ted Ginn Jr. 15 games, losses in Super Bowls XLVII, L
LB Barkevious Mingo 6 games, Super Bowl LI ring
WR Trevor Davis 2 games
LB Robert Quinn 1 game