The NFL stinks.

It's OK to admit it. The league is awful and the level of play gets worse every year.

So it doesn't take much to be considered a good team in the NFL these days.

All you really need is about three impact players on each side of the ball, guys who can consistently make plays, getting you the ball back on defense and scoring the ball on offense.

This is something the Chicago Bears do not possess.

Now don't tell me all of this was the work of little Don Segretti.

Nope, this is three years of work from GM Ryan Pace.

Yet, every Sunday, John Fox is trending on Twitter.

When the Bears lose, it's entirely on John Fox, while Pace gets a free pass.

When the Bears win, it's in spite of John Fox and -- apparently -- due to the genius of Ryan Pace.

It should be noted that at the halfway point of Phil Emery's third year in Chicago, the Bears were 21-19 and Emery was already dead man walking.

Ryan Pace is 12-28 midway through his third year and somehow a candidate for knighthood.

Pace took over a 5-11 team that under his direction has won six games, three games and is on pace now for 6 wins this season.

With a weak second-half schedule, they might win seven or eight this year, for which Pace will undoubtedly be celebrated.


Where's the playoff team in the third year of an NFL rebuild?

Among the six teams that won fewer games than the Bears in 2014 -- Emery's last season -- five won more games than the Bears last season, including Oakland (12), Tennessee (9), Tampa (9) and Washington (8), and five of those six have more victories than the Bears in 2017.

It's the NFL, where you can turn it around quickly with good drafting and wise moves in free agency.

It has not happened for Pace.

His first draft choice, Kevin White, is in witness protection and the Bears don't have a receiving corps to speak of, which hardly makes life easier for Mitch Trubisky.

In fairness, this is not apples and apples. Pace did not inherit much to work with, the Bears are not the same laughingstock they were three years ago, and you must have a quarterback in order to win football games.

But the goal is winning, and the Bears have done little of that under Pace.

Maybe the Bears now have a quarterback. Time will tell. For Pace's sake, Trubisky better be a superstar.

The GM doesn't have to be a genius to succeed in a terrible league, but based on the projects he loves to find from schools you've never heard of, Pace might think himself to be one.

But Pace doesn't have to be great. He just has to be competent. Maybe Pace can develop into a good GM, but to this point he hasn't been.

Yet, week after week, it's all about John Fox and how bad a coach he is.

This is no defense of Fox, but Pace has managed to escape the spotlight, and that's impressive given how little he's added to the roster, which has a weak offensive line, no receivers, few ball hawks and only a creative pass rush thanks to Vic Fangio.

The best lineman, Kyle Long, was drafted by Emery, and one of the best defensive players this year, Kyle Fuller, was also drafted by Emery.

So the McCaskeys can pay Fox $4 million to go away after this season and presumably pay at least that much to get the next head coach, but if they're willing to do that, why not examine the talent level of this team and wonder why it's not much better now than it was when Pace was hired?

That $18 million spent on Mike Glennon certainly looks like brilliant scouting, and with plenty of wasted dollars the last three years the lack of playmakers is astounding.

That's not on Fox, but if the GM has wisely ingratiated himself with the correct McCaskey then it probably doesn't matter.

So fire the coach and hire another one to change the story, deflect attention and buy the GM more time.

But if Ryan Pace doesn't get better at his job, doesn't do a better job of finding talent than he has the last three years, firing John Fox isn't going to win the Bears a Super Bowl.

All it will do is distract from the rest of the issues. That's something the Bears have always done well.

• Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.