Chicago Bears coaching search now on Pace

The Chicago Bears lose 34 of 48 games over three years and the head coach, John Fox, gets whacked.

Meanwhile the general manager who supplied the players, Ryan Pace, gets a two-year extension through 2021.

So that's how it works?

It is if it's the Chicago Bears.

As usual, Monday's dog-and-pony show at Halas Hall had the obligatory pandering to the long-suffering fans who have witnessed one trip to the playoffs in the last 11 years and have cringed while the Bears have suffered double-digit losses in four straight seasons.

So why should fans or anyone else believe that Pace and his collaborators, team president and CEO Ted Phillips and chairman George McCaskey, will get the guy to turn the team's fortunes around?

To hear Phillips extol Pace's virtues, you'd think the Bears were coming off back-to-back Super Bowls —— or were on the verge.

“He shows a clear vision of how to put together a winning team,” Phillips said of Pace's teams that have never, at any point, reached the .500 level. “He's always striving to find better ways to get that competitive edge. His management skills — he understands what the coaches need. He understands about how to develop players.”

The Bears have not had a player voted to the Pro Bowl in the last three years. They were 0-6 vs. the NFC North this year and are 3-15 in the last three years in their division.

Phillips showed a slight grasp of reality when he said: “(Pace) knows he needs to improve, as we all do.”

So Phillips and the McCaskeys are doubling down on Pace with the misguided notion that by giving him an undeserved reward it shows stability to a prospective new coach. That coach is expected to get a four-year deal, which would sync up with that of Pace, who will not get another chance to hire a coach if this one doesn't work out.

“When Ryan was hired three years ago, he told us that a plan to build a team for sustainable success would not be easy,” Phillips said. “But his plan to build principally through the draft, to lay that right foundation, made sense to us. And it still does.”

When Phillips finally was done, he turned the podium over to Pace, who praised Fox and said the decision to fire him wasn't made until late Sunday night.

Pace then accepted blame, as he should.

“He poured everything he had into the Bears,” Pace said of Fox. “And he's been a tremendous force in changing the culture and the mentality in his building. However, in the end, where we stand today, the results on the field over the last three seasons simply isn't good enough.

“I understand those results are also a reflection on me. I need to point the finger at myself as well. I have to do a better job.”

That begins with choosing the right coach. As is the Bears' way, the criteria for that position is vague.

“I don't want to paint ourselves in a corner,” Pace said. “We're looking for the best coach; best character; best leadership. So I don't want to paint ourselves into offense or defense. It's going to be a broad, thorough search and I can tell you we have not officially sent any requests in (for permission to interview coaches under contract).”

Asked specifically if respected defensive coordinator Vic Fangio would be a head-coaching candidate, Pace said: “We're not going to get into who's candidates and who's not. I have a lot of respect for Vic. He did a great job with our defense over the past three years.”

It would make sense for the Bears to hire a head coach who can help develop last year's second overall draft pick, quarterback Mitch Trubisky, the team's most valuable commodity. If not an offensive mastermind, then someone who would bring one with him.

Pace then uttered the words that should make Bears fans gasp: “It will be a collaborative effort with George, Ted, and myself; with me spearheading that effort and me ultimately making the final decision on this.”

It's easy to believe that Pace, a bright, hardworking guy, will do his due diligence and make an informed choice, even if it's not a great one. But it strains the brain trying to come up with anything that McCaskey and Phillips bring to the table, other than their titles.

Fortunately, the final decision will be Pace's, but what guarantees that his next hire will be better than the last?

“The longer you're in this, like anybody, you get better at your job with more experience,” Pace said. “The more familiar you are with the inner workings of our building and our roster, the more confident I am in that.

“I feel very prepared and very optimistic about how we're going to approach this and knowing exactly what we're looking for.”

For fans tired of watching a bad product for years, that will have to do for now.

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.

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