Bears chairman George McCaskey admits he's impatient, so his satisfaction with the 9-23 record that general manager Ryan Pace has presided over is surprising.
"I'm pleased with the job he's done," said McCaskey, who hired Pace on Jan. 8, 2015, to rebuild the 5-11 team left by GM Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman. "He talked from the beginning about how this was going to take time, about how we needed to be patient. I told him, 'I'm not a patient person,' but I promised him that I would be patient."
The cohesive team McCaskey sees takes precedence over this year's 3-13 record.
"With all the adversity that we've had, I like the steady hand that (Pace and coach John Fox) have had on the team," McCaskey said. "These guys fought for each other all season. They never pointed fingers, and I think that's a credit to the type of player that we have. It's also a credit to John and his coaching staff for keeping them together."
McCaskey hopes a team that suffered numerous injuries can bounce back in 2017, even though more growing pains are expected from one of the NFL's youngest rosters.
"The thing I like about Ryan and John is how well they work together," McCaskey said, "how they have stuck to the plan, how they have weathered adversity and kept this team together."
McCaskey was asked about midseason rumors that the organization considered bringing in a consultant, above Pace, to straighten out a franchise that has lost 34 games in three years.
"There is absolutely no truth to it whatsoever," he said. "We think we have the right structure. We think we have the right people."
When Pace was hired, it was partly as a response to George's mother, Bears matriarch Virginia McCaskey, who was angry after the 5-11 finish in 2014.
So McCaskey was asked how his mother, who turns 94 on Thursday, felt about this year's team.
"She has outlived her dad (Bears founder George Halas), her mom, her only sibling, her husband and a son," George McCaskey said. "She's had her share of heartache, but she is a remarkably resilient person. I tell people that she's tougher than her dad was, and those who know her don't disagree.
"This is hard for her. Every loss is painful. But she supports what we're doing. She's on board. Like every Bears fan, she wants more wins. And we intend to get them for her."
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