Sometime after the Bears caused Mike Glennon to fumble on the first play and forced him to throw an interception on the second drive of the game Sunday — but before the safety the Bears got in the final minute of the first half — came a scary thought. The team on the opposite sideline could be the Bears in two years.
It should absolutely frighten the Bears. And management should take every measure, starting next week, to make sure it doesn’t come to pass. Sunday’s 29-3 win against the Giants means nothing, other than being a cautionary tale.
In 2019, the Giants drafted Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick. After Jones had an inept rookie year paired with an offensive-minded head coach — sound familiar? — the Giants set out to hire a head coach.
Their choice: Joe Judge, the Patriots’ special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach who had never been a head coach at any level, anywhere. He’d either been a special teams assistant or special teams coordinator at every stop in his 15-year career. His expertise didn’t align with the team’s main problem: developing Jones at quarterback.
The Giants hired Judge despite having an interview lined up with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who could have done just that. So could Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy or former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, whom they interviewed.
At the end of two seasons, it’s fair to wonder whether Judge will get a third.
The Giants weren’t the first team to get their head coaching hire wrong — the Bears will replace Matt Nagy in one week — but the McCaskeys need to learn from their mistake. Judge offered no skillset that would have answered the most important question in sports: how to develop a young quarterback.
Nagy, despite his eventual failure in doing so, at least had that on his resume.
The Bears need to hire a coach who will make sure quarterback Justin Fields, who will be in his second season next year, doesn’t fail. When they inevitably fire Nagy one day after the season finale, they need to hire someone who has a plan to make sure Fields thrives. That shouldn’t limit the Bears to offensive candidates — but anyone who’s not better have a thorough plan.
They certainly can’t hire someone like Judge, whose resume offered no indication he’d be able to elevate Jones. He’d been a special teams assistant at Alabama and a special teams coach with the Patriots. The Giants were lured in by the two name brands in their respective sports — not the area of expertise.
Jones has won less than third of his career starts and has a career passer rating of 84.3. A neck injury ended his season prematurely, forcing Glennon to bumble his way through the Giants’ final month of games.
Perhaps it’s impossible to separate the Giants’ failure to draft a quarterback with their failure to find the right coach. Perhaps that’s the point.