On Friday afternoon, new Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace met with the media to talk all things football in his introduction press conference at Halas Hall.
Pace touched on many subjects including on what this opportunity means for him and how to create a successful blueprint here.
The 37-year-old former Eastern Illinois defensive end and member of the New Orleans Saints personnel department for 14 seasons earned a five-year contract from the Bears, according to Bears chairman George McCaskey.
“Our plan will start being put into place to get the Chicago Bears back to the sustained success this city deserves,” Pace said. “The first order of business is to hire the right head coach to lead us to championships. Right now, that is the most critical thing I am doing.”
Bears team president Ted Phillips introduced Pace and said that “Ryan is going to oversee the entire football operation.” He elaborated further by saying that Pace will report to him and the new head coach will report to Pace.
Pace admitted that finding a head coach will be a complete team effort.
“It is a group effort and I’m going to lean heavily on George and Ted and Ernie Accorsi, who I admire tremendously,” he said. “But yes, I do have final say.”
The next head coach won’t necessarily be a choice that is so cut and dry. Pace said that it “doesn’t matter if it’s an offensive or defensive coach” or “if it’s a 3-4 (defense) or 4-3.”
“I’m looking for the best head coach that has the traits we’re looking for,” he said. “That’s confidence, charisma, discipline, leadership, those types of things. The best man for the job.”
When asked directly about Jay Cutler and the quarterback position, Pace said that “the quarterback is a critical, critical position to achieve sustained success, but it’s not the only position.”
He plans to meet with Jay Cutler in the future simply saying he “wants to get to know Jay”, but the head coach search is his top priority first and foremost.
“There’s an urgency, but that doesn’t override getting the right guy,” he said.
How does Pace define a successful blueprint?
“The recipe to winning Super Bowls is stringing successful drafts together again and again. We are not just collecting athletes. We are acquiring football players that fit the Chicago Bears. There will be a major emphasis on character, toughness, instincts and intelligence.”
The salary cap management will fall into the hands of Bears lead contract negotiator Cliff Stein and Ted Phillips since Pace’s background is evaluation more than salary cap.
“I think being a good GM is knowing your strengths and weaknesses, right? So I know Cliff Stein is here. I know Ted is here. And again, I’m going to lean on them to help me with that. And I’ll learn. Hey, my work ethic, that’s one thing that’s never been questioned. So if I need to improve in the salary-cap end of the business, I’m all on board with it. I know Cliff and Ted will help me.”
The best quote that should make all Chicago Bears fans excited for the future with Pace at the helm was this one.
“To win in (Chicago), you’ve got to be able to run the ball. You’ve got to play tough defense. We’re going to get back to that.”
Overall Pace showed he is poised, smart and witty and truly ready to be the Bears general manager. Despite being the youngest GM in the NFL, he has a bright future and should bring a new rejuvenated spirit around the entire Chicago Bears organization.
Pace’s wife was a cheerleader at Eastern Illinois where the two met. He said that she is is from Illinois, while his father-in-law and brother-in-law are big Bears fans.
Nothing wrong with that correlation between Pace and the Bears.
Here’s the full story of the hiring of Pace on Thursday.
Thoughts on Pace’s Friday press conference? Make sure to comment below.
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