Bernstein: For Bears, What Now?

(670 The Score) So this is now the looking at the rest of it, the first scene of Act III of the 2019 Bears season in which they try to resolve how they got here and what to do about it. Because general manager Ryan Pace prefers to hide rather than lead, it allows us ample opportunity to surmise and speculate how the last six games on their schedule can still carry some meaning or significance.

Coach Matt Nagy will do what all coaches do, which is keep focused on a weekly routine designed to win the next game, even with playoff opportunity only still possible mathematically and vaguely. He'll continue to praise the work ethic of his players in a way that sounds like speaking it into continued existence, as if assuring himself they're still listening to him as attentively as when they were contenders. It also appears that Nagy will forge ahead with Mitchell Trubisky leading the way, pleased enough with his current development to say Wednesday that over just the past two games, "He has without a doubt gotten better at the quarterback position."

So that's nice.

Pace's responsibility is to balance the efforts to win each next game with the longer-term concern of ensuring that every minor decision can be made with the aim of getting closer to winning the Super Bowl, making this empty time matter. If the Bears still think James Daniels is the center prospect they thought he was when they drafted him, they could easily put him right back there after just returning Cody Whitehair to his previous position. The move two weeks ago was a desperate one that failed to move the needle, so we'll see the extent to which they want to restart that experiment.

Jesper Horsted has been activated to see time as a "U" tight end, having succeeded sufficiently in a conversion from college wide receiver. It might be time for a look at rookie receiver Riley Ridley too and perhaps getting a better read on what inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski can or can't do in increased playing time, particularly with Danny Trevathan set for free agency after the year.

Eddy Pineiro seems safe still as their kicker, but that may be more a function of the low quality of available options and meaninglessness of outcomes as much as anything else. When it's either Elliott Fry or Cody Parkey instead, the Bears seem content to give the current kid every chance to work his way out of his tailspin. No matter what the ultimate decision may be on Pineiro, this debacle can't happen again next year.

Nagy might want to figure out the root causes of his offense's problems as well, identifying where in the combination of play sequencing, design and execution so many wires keep getting crossed. There may indeed be real issues of talent and ability level at certain positions, but it's certainly not just that. Nagy could hand a game or two to an alternate play-caller to get an objective look at some other ways of ordering from that menu to better effect.

With no first-round pick in the upcoming draft, there's no incentive for the Bears to go full tank, because losing games to improve second-round picks would just be pathetic. So it's going to be an uncomfortable fight to the bitter end of a promising season that disintegrated all too quickly, the Bears carrying themselves so as to suggest they're not quite yet understanding how far they've slipped from what they thought they were.

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