Chicago Bears: 5 Regrettable Choices of Team Brass

The Chicago Bears aren’t in a great place right now. But what are the most regrettable decisions that the team’s brass has made?

The Chicago Bears monstrous meltdown against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football exposed top brass decisions. In recent years, there have been plenty miscues from the front office that you can point to. Of course, some of those mistakes are worse than others.

However, it’s when these mistakes—no matter the size—all start to pile up that they become truly problematic. A team can survive one or two bad calls from the organization’s brass. But it’s consistent misfiring that can truly devastate a team.

Given the Bears current state of affairs, we’ll look back at some of the most regrettable decisions made by the team’s brass. Here we go.

Dec 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman runs off the field after being defeated by the Detroit Lions 20-14 at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman runs off the field after being defeated by the Detroit Lions 20-14 at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Regret No. 1: Hiring Mark Trestman Instead of Bruce Arians

Let’s begin with the elephant in the room. The Bears failure to pursue Bruce Arians after Lovie Smith was released was the biggest, most haunting regret. The Marc Trestman decision became the nightmare they wish they could forget. Arians had an amazing coaching record as a quarterbacks coach, wide receivers coach, tight ends coach, running backs coach, offensive coordinator, and even head coach. So is it safe to say his qualifications stood tall?

Ask Peyton Manning, who was coached by Arians in his rookie year in 1998. Or we could talk about how he led the Cleveland Browns to a 9-7 record in 2002 as the offensive coordinator.

He went on to the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2004-11, earning two Super Bowl rings before the Steelers let him walk when his contract expired. With a short stint back in Indianapolis to help head coach Chuck Pagano while he battled Leukemia, Arians led another rookie, Andrew Luck, to a 9-3 record in Pagano’s absence.

He was the most sought after coach at the time. The media and Arians himself thought for sure that the Bears were going to give him a call after they had released Lovie Smith.

They didn’t call him. Instead, they hired a head coach who never coached in the NFL, but won two Grey Cups in Canada: Marc Trestman. Granted, his first year with the Bears he went 8-8 and led the Bears offense to the second-best scoring offense in 2012. Then the ceiling fell in 2013.

Instead of progressing, the Bears went backward, ending the season with a 5-11 record and dissension in the locker room. As for Arians, he took the Arizona Cardinals to a 10-6 record in 2013, an 11-5 record in 2014, and a 12-4 record in 2015. Need I say more?

Dec 27, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) talks with offensive coordinator Adam Gase during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Regret No. 2: Replacing Adam Gase with Dowell Loggains

After the failure of the Trestman era in Chicago, the Bears brass had to right the ship somehow. After releasing Trestman and his cohorts the Bears hired John Fox, who had just finished his fourth season with the Denver Broncos, losing in epic fashion at Super Bowl XLVIII.

However, because of his coaching record and availability, the Bears decided to start fresh. Fox lured Adam Gase as his offensive coordinator away from the Broncos. But they did this knowing full well that he was seeking a head coach position. With no offers, though, the gamble paid off as Gase helped to improve the season and Jay Cutler in the process.

With Gase, Cutler’s first two games of 2015 produced 345 passing yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions, one fumble and a rating of 91.75. After one year, Gase took a head coaching job for the Miami Dolphins. Instead of the seeking a qualified offensive coordinator to replace Gase, they chose to promote quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains.

Under Loggains so far this season, Cutler has produced 373 passing yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, eight sacks taken, one fumble and a rating of 75.55. The production diminished—as well as his confidence.

The only previous time Loggains was an offensive coordinato was in 2013 for the Tennessee Titans. His quarterback then was Ryan Fitzpatrick. The best thing the Bears could do right now is to release Loggains and promote Ben McDaniels to that position. He has the experience to make the offense better. And clearly, Loggains does not.

Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs for a touchdown after taking a handoff from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. The Jets beat the Bills 37-31. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Regret No. 3: Releasing All-Purpose Back Matt Forte’

From the time he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2001 NFL Draft to the end of the 2015 season, running back Matt Forte had rushed for a total of 8,602 yards and totaled 12,982 yards from scrimmage. Forte stands alongside Bears great Walter Payton as an elite all-purpose running back.

He loved playing for Chicago and the fans of Chicago loved him back. But when it was time to extended his contract, the Bears brass chose not to. It wasn’t a matter of money as he was willing to take a cut so he could retire as a Bear. Instead, it was a matter of out with the old, in with the new.

Or was it? Some say that the choice he made by not attending the Brian Piccolo ceremony, in which he was a recipient of the award, was a slap in the face of the McCaskys. However, the New York Jets needed to incorporate a steady running game and had no problem taking a 30-year old tailback.

In his first two games with the Jets this season, Forte has 196 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Jeremy Langford, his replacement, has 85 yards and two touchdowns. Whatever the reason was for the Bears to let Forte’ walk, his production is definitely missing from this team.

Current running backs Langford, KaDeem Carey, and rookie Jordan Howard may not have a chance to get to those kind of stats if the offensive line can’t create running lanes for them.  But experience is key and the front office let Forte go.

Sep 18, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) runs out of the tunnel onto the field prior to the Cowboys

Regret No. 4: Not Taking a Quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft

There is no question that Cutler has broken many records for the Chicago franchise. He has the cannon arm that can sail a ball through the air with ease. He can also be clutch in the fourth quarter, as he has on several occasions. But his inability to stay healthy negates the consistency this team needs. Granted, the Bears brass has done little to give him ample protection for the past eight years, but that doesn’t erase the interceptions and fumbles.

It was said that the quarterback class of 2016 was subpar. But what has come out of the draft has been surprising and a blessing for several teams. The Bears tried out roughly eight quarterbacks from the draft class. Those workouts included the following: Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, Christian Hackenberg, Jacoby Brissett, Brandon Allen, Kevin Hogan, Cody Kessler. Out of those seven, four of them are active starters heading into Week 3.

Cutler is now injured yet again and the Bears will have to depend on another backup. This time, it is Brian Hoyer, who has been a starter in the NFL on a few teams, but did not pan out as well as he had hoped. And the promising backup that was competing with Hoyer, Connor Shaw, suffered a season-ending injury, leaving Matt Barkley in the wings. It’s understandable that the Bears brass wanted to address the linebacker and offensive guard position in the draft, but failing to take a quarterback of the future? Regrettable, to say the least.

Nov 26, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers tight end Richard Rodgers (82) rushes with the football after catching a pass during the fourth quarter of a NFL game as Chicago Bears linebacker Shea McClellin (50) defends on Thanksgiving at Lambeau Field. Chicago won 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Regret No. 5: Not Addressing Key Needs in the Draft

One of the areas that has never really been addressed with urgency is the lack of pass rushers on the defense. After the 1985 Bears, the pass rush was limited. However, it resurged with players such as defensive end Mark Anderson (42 sacks), Alex Brown (43 sacks), inebacker Brian Urlacher (41.5 sacks), and defensive end Julius Peppers (37.5 sacks) at various points from 2000-2013.

Since then, the pass rush has been limited to one standout player, defensive end Willie Young with 17.5 sacks to his credit. The Bears have addressed it slightly with the signing of Pernell McPhee in 2015, who had six sacks last season. But he has been sidelined with an injury in 2016.

The 2016 NFL Draft was filled with pass rushers that could have made an immediate impact. But it was the 2011 NFL Draft that the Bears brass tanked, negating the need for an explosive off-the-block player. Instead of trading up for JJ Watt, they chose Gabe Carimi. In 2012, the pick was Shea McClellin instead of Chandler Jones. Then in 2013, the Bears chose Jon Bostic in the second round instead taking free safety Tyrann Mathieu.

All missed opportunities to address key areas on defense. Even though the top brass is trying to right the ship, it’s as if they are trying to chase their tail. Scouting could be better, especially when players like Watt and Mathieu were missed. Something has to be done now before the next season approaches to fill the now empty seats at Soldier Field.

This article originally appeared on