What can the Bears accomplish the rest of the season?
The Chicago Bears have three games left in the 2017 NFL season. As of right now they have a 4-9 record with games at Detroit this week, home versus Cleveland on Christmas eve and then a New Year’s Eve game at Minnesota.
There will be discussion among Bears fans as to whether it is better for the team to win or lose. Lose the remaining three games and the team is just about guaranteed another top-five pick in the next NFL draft. The question is, would that be the best thing for the Bears looking at the big picture?
Having spent as much time in the league as I did, I’ll say no. The best thing for the Bears is to win games. There are several reason for that. The first is that the present coaching staff is fighting for their jobs. Sure, everyone feels that John Fox and company will be gone in three more weeks but that isn’t guaranteed. What happens if the Bears win their final four games and finish 7-9? Is it a good idea to fire the coaching staff?
Another reason is the development of rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Having him win games is invaluable to his development. He learns what winning is all about, and it helps him in his preparation and leadership. Winning also helps the other young players. It’s easy to learn how to lose. It’s not easy to learn how to win. Winning in the NFL takes a lot of work, and getting the young players to learn that is of the utmost importance for the Bears organization.
Trubisky has some special talent, and though the plan was for him to sit and learn in 2017, it will pay off in spades because he got the opportunity to play this year. Next year in camp he will have already gone through the growing pains of a young quarterback. He should hit the ground running rather than walking because of what he learned this year.
If a coaching change is made at the end of the season, these final games are very important to each player on the team. The new staff will be watching tape of every player for a good part of the season. How they play after the season had already been lost will be very important in the evaluation process of the new staff. They will know what players have character and what players don’t. You can bet the players who play without effort will not be back.
There are a number of players who will be out of contract when the season is over. Regardless of whether or not it is the same coaching staff or a new one, decisions have to be made on each of those players. The players that the staff feels can help the team win will be offered new contracts; the ones that go through the motions will be gone because you can’t win with that type of player.
Yes, there are advantages to losing, but a team should never play for a higher draft pick. Picking five or six slots higher in the draft doesn’t guarantee anything, because regardless of who is picked in the draft, they still have to show up and play. Winning should always be the first order of business. After all, they aren’t getting paid to lose.