Bernstein: It Just Got Real For The Bears

September 01, 2018 - 11:01 am
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(670 The Score) ​It's on, now. 

No matter how the new Bears regime has tried to describe some deliberate improvement process, nobody's hearing any of that anymore.

Not with star pass rusher Khalil Mack tearing around the edge with bad intentions, a one-man brute squad who now lives as much in the heads of NFC North quarterbacks as he does in the opposing backfield. There are only an elite few players at any position who can affect outcomes each week by sheer force of their individual ability, and they're quarterbacks and those who hunt quarterbacks. One of those is now on the Bears.

General manager Ryan Pace had already declared himself "all in" after trading up to draft quarterback Mitchel Trubisky at No. 2 overall in 2017, so there's no added downside for him to a full commitment to the here and now. Already having worked to make his roster younger and more cap-friendly, Pace knows that having Trubisky on his rookie contract keeps the math in his favor for just such an occasion as a 27-year-old All-Pro becoming impossibly available.

It's not like the Bears to be the team taking advantage of another team's conflict or dysfunction, but there they were early Saturday morning, agreeing to a trade with the Raiders to acquire Mack and capitalizing on what will define Jon Gruden's attempt to return to coaching glory, a more than curious decision to part with a player so skilled and well respected by everyone else at every level of their organization.

So tear up your timetables for Bears success and expect first-year coach Matt Nagy's offense to score enough points right damn now.

It has always been the case that Trubisky needed to fulfill his promise for this all to work, so there's nothing wrong with requiring it to happen as soon as it can. It might make his life easier to have some short fields to work with, perhaps after Mack has strip-sacked Matthew Stafford, batted an Aaron Rodgers pass into the hands of Roquan Smith or ripped Kirk Cousins' arms off and then used them to play John Bonham's "Moby Dick" solo on the helmets of awestruck Vikings.

Even as Nagy has carried himself with confidence and provided refreshing transparency during this extended training camp and preseason, it has been hard to get a read on where the Bears really thought they were, competitively. They have avoided explicit statements of expectation, leaving us to wonder what certain decisions meant regarding playing time in exhibitions and what they felt needed work. Were they just setting out on a protracted installation of a complicated offensive system, building a developmental foundation, or were they more ready to go than they seemed to let on?

We may know.

By grabbing Mack and preparing to sign him for multiple years, Pace bought a window and opened it in grand fashion right in front of us.

The Bears think they're good, and they might just be right.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​