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Brad Biggs: 4 NFL teams have in-season GM openings, and Bears play 3 of them in next month. They must win — or face prospect of change themselves.

By Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Football

CHICAGO — The New York Jets are not on the schedule this season, so we have no way of knowing how the Chicago Bears stack up against the worst team in the NFL.

But the next four weeks will provide everyone from Chairman George McCaskey to fans still watching from home a chance to see how the Bears measure up against three of the four franchises that already have fired their general managers.

The Bears have reached the soft part in the back half of their schedule, although their opponents are probably looking at them in a similar light given the five-game losing streak that has deflated a season that began with hope.

Beginning on Sunday against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field, the Bears will play three teams headed in a completely different direction in 2021.

The Lions (4-7) fired general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia on Saturday, two days after they were pummeled in their annual Thanksgiving Day game. As bad as they have been, the Lions have won the same number of games as the Bears since their Week 1 meeting at Ford Field.

Next week, the Houston Texans (4-7), who fired GM/head coach/offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien Oct. 5 after an 0-4 start, visit Soldier Field. They blew out the Lions on Sunday, ushering in change in Motown, and have won three of their last four.

 

The Bears play the Jaguars (1-10) in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 27, and the Jaguars fired GM Dave Caldwell on Sunday after the team's 10th consecutive loss. The Jaguars are 12-31 since reaching the AFC championship game after the 2017 season, spiraling far worse than the Bears after their postseason appearance the next year.

The Atlanta Falcons are the other team already in search of new leadership as Arthur Blank dismissed general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn on Oct. 11 after an 0-5 start. Two weeks prior, the Bears rallied from 16 down to win 30-26 in Atlanta.

It's highly unusual for four teams to have GM openings in-season, and league insiders say they cannot recall a similar scenario. If nothing else, maybe it's evidence the NFL is COVID-19-proof on the business side, with the expensive cost of rebooting an entire organization during the pandemic not burdening teams.

The upcoming stretch no doubt is pivotal for the future of general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy following the lopsided 41-25 road loss to the Green Bay Packers was Sunday night.

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