The Fields Pick, An Aging Defense, and Confidence in Pace: An Interview with Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.
Last week, I got some great insight about the Green Bay Packers from Paul Bretl of Dairyland Express. This week, I get some awesome insight about the Chicago Bears from Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. Mr. Wiltfong, who can be found on Twitter, is the Editor in Chief of Windy City Gridiron. He offers TVG‘s readers some great insight about where things stand for our rivals in Chicago. My questions are in bold; his answers appear below. Enjoy.
1) From my perspective, the move up to 11th to snag Fields was brilliant. Do you think this was the right decision for Chicago? How long until he is the starter?
The Bears have been desperately trying to upgrade at the QB spot the entire offseason, so once Fields started slipping it was a no-brainer for them to move up and grab him. Andy Dalton was just a placeholder move in case they couldn’t land a bigger fish, and Fields is the most exciting, and universally loved, quarterback prospect the Bears have ever drafted. This was 100% the right move for the franchise and all indications are that the Bears will start him once he shows himself to be ready.
2) If Fields ends up being a legit franchise QB, can Chicago fans forgive Ryan Pace for picking Trubisky instead of Mahomes?
No one, and I mean no one, thought Mahomes would be the guy we all see now, and it’s not like Pace was the only GM to pass on his talents. What irks me (and I’m sure many Bears fans) more than anything is the trade up for Mitch. What makes it even worse was the report that Pace had both Trubisky and Mahomes ranked in his same draft “cloud,” meaning that he should have stayed at 3 and then picked the best QB left on his board. Most Bears fans have already moved on past the Trubisky era, but If Fields is a legit franchise QB there’ll be no one still thinking about what could have been in 2017.
3) Building off that, how much confidence should fans have in Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy at this point? Are both on the hot seat?
I’m assuming they are both off the hot seat at this point, and after the season those seats were very, very warm. But they convinced management they deserved another chance to get the QB right, and in today’s NFL it’s all about filling that spot. Fields was as much a Nagy pick as a Pace pick, and probably more as rumors out of Chicago was that Nagy was the point man in finding a QB this time, but with the QB do-over I’d say both are safe for the foreseeable future.
4) Chicago’s defense is still formidable, but many of the key players are getting older. What can we expect from them in the upcoming season?
The biggest change for the defense may be getting back to a Vic Fangio-like scheme with newly promoted Sean Desai as the defensive coordinator. Chuck Pagano’s scheme wasn’t as good a fit during his two year run as D.C., so it’ll be good for the players to get back to that style of play. This team still has talent at each level of the D in Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, Akiem Hicks, and Eddie Jackson, but they’ll need some vets to bounce back and some youngsters to step up.
5) I need to end things with an NFC North prediction. Who wins the division and why?
Until Aaron Rodgers is no longer in Green Bay I’ll be picking the Packers to win the division. The Bears will be in the playoff mix regardless, but the Vikings are in that picture as well. This team went 8-8 the last two years with poor quarterback play, so if Dalton and/or Fields is just a slight upgrade they’ll be pushing for Nagy’s 3rd postseason in his four years.