- Per the Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain, Bears chairperson George McCaskey opened Wednesday’s press conference by acknowledging their decision to retain GM Ryan Pace and HC Matt Nagy would not be popular: “You deserve your Bears being winners. The decisions we’re announcing today may not be the easiest or most popular, but we believe they’re the best decisions for the Bears.”
- Bears president Ted Phillips acknowledged the team isn’t where it needs to be but believes Pace and Nagy can get them there: “We’re not happy and we’re far from satisfied. Making the playoffs is a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. We need to win in the playoffs and we need to compete for and win a championship. … We believe Ryan and Matt are excellent leaders.” (Fishbain)
- Despite the lack of wins, Phillips defended the team’s culture: “We have exactly the right culture that all football teams strive for.” (Jeff Dickerson)
- Pace also is proud of the culture he and Nagy have built: “Is 8-8 good enough? No. Is losing in the first round good enough? No. But what I appreciate is we fought, we stuck together.” (Fishbain)
- McCaskey said neither Pace nor Nagy received a contract extension. (Fishbain)
- He added the idea that Phillips is part of the problem with the team’s performance doesn’t hold water: “Ryan and Matt are our football guys. I’ve heard it often that Ted meddles in football affairs and that notion is just absurd. It just doesn’t happen.” (Fishbain)
- McCaskey addressed the clear elephant in the room regarding the Bears’ biggest weakness: “It’s pretty clear we need better production from the quarterback position to be successful.” (Mike Garafolo)
- Nick Foles is likely on the team given his salary and Mitchell Trubisky is a pending free agent. But Pace suggested the Bears will do something to shake things up at the position: “We definitely need more out of the [QB] position. We know that. What does that entail? That’s what this whole offseason is about….Everything is on the table.” (Andrew Siciliano)
- Pace didn’t indicate if they would try to bring back Trubisky. (Dickerson)
- Pace mentioned they expect RB Tarik Cohen back in time for camp after tearing his ACL this year, while OLB Khalil Mack played through a shoulder injury this season: “We appreciate the way he fought through that. … That was real.” (Fishbain)
- Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the Lions have not requested permission to interview Steelers GM Kevin Colbert.
- The Lions are bringing in DB Godwin Igwebuike, DE Robert McCray, and TE Hunter Thedford for visits this week. (Aaron Wilson)
For the second year in a row, the Packers finished 13-3 and with a first-round bye. But as opposed to last season, when the 49ers demolished Green Bay in the NFC title game and left a sense of fraudulence around the team, this year’s version of the Packers looks for real. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers says that while the record may be the same, the team feels clearly better in Year 2 of HC Matt LaFleur‘s offense.
“We thought we could win it last year (but) the Niners were such a dominant team and that maybe hit our confidence,” Rodgers said via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “But I feel like we have a lot of confidence and believe in ourselves. Offensively, we’re just a better, much more efficient team … and playing with a lot more confidence.”