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Bears keeping coach Matt Nagy, GM Ryan Pace for 2021 – NFL.com

https://www.nfl.com/news/bears-keeping-gm-ryan-pace-coach-matt-nagy-for-2021

Bears keeping coach Matt Nagy, GM Ryan Pace for 2021 - NFL.com

The Chicago Bears confirmed both general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy will return for the 2021 campaign.

Team chairman George McCaskey said he was “impressed” with the job Pace and Nagy have done building the club, whose season ended in Sunday’s Super Wild Card blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints.

“I was impressed with both of them this past season, especially during the six-game losing streak,” McCaskey said Wednesday. “The fact that our players never gave up is a tribute to the players. It is also indicative of the type of players that Ryan acquires and to the players’ regard for Matt as their head coach. Like Ted and I, Ryan and Matt, too, have vigorous discussions; in the end, all four of us want what’s best for the Bears. There are no egos, no other agendas. Have mistakes been made? Yes. But I think both Ryan and Matt are learning and growing in their roles. … (to Bears fans) We understand your frustration. We’re frustrated too. And it would be a perfectly natural reaction to say back up the truck, major overhaul, whatever you want to call it. … I get it, you deserve your Bears being winners. The decisions we’re announcing today may not be the easiest or most popular but we believe they’re the best decisions for the Bears.”

McCaskey noted that neither Pace nor Nagy has been given contract extensions. Pace enters the final year of his contract. Without an extension, the GM could feel pressure to make decisions in the short term to provide a winning season in 2021, not necessarily taking the future into account. We’ve seen that blow up in the past for lame-duck GMs.

McCaskey said that any potential contract talks would be “ongoing.”

“When we see improvements, contracts will take care of themselves,” team president Ted Phillips said, underscoring the importance of 2021.

When asked repeatedly what Pace and Nagy have done to deserve another season, McCaskey continually pointed do the two improving together despite back-to-back 8-8 seasons. The chairman pointed to finding fifth-round WR Darnell Mooney as a key reason the GM got another season at the helm.

The biggest issue heading into 2021 for the Bears is at the quarterback position. Mitchell Trubisky, who Pace used the No. 2 overall pick on, played out the final year of his contract, and Nick Foles was benched in favor of the struggling QB.

“We need better production from the quarterback position to be successful,” McCaskey said.

When asked directly if he believes, after repeatedly missing at the position, Pace and Nagy can finally get the QB position correct, McCaskey affirmed: “Yes, we are.”

The Bears backed into the playoffs despite a six-game losing streak that any other season would have left them out of the postseason. McCaskey noted that the new No. 7 playoff spot instituted by the NFL this year is the only reason they made the postseason.

“As far as I’m concerned, 2020 was a losing season,” he said.

Despite that sentiment, Pace and Nagy will get at least one more year to get the Bears over the hump.

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Lillard & McCollum Combine For 68 PTS & 23 AST! – NBA

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Lillard & McCollum Combine For 68 PTS & 23 AST! - NBA

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Alabama appears set to hire Bill OBrien – Rivals.com – Alabama

https://alabama.rivals.com/news/nick-saban-hints-at-hiring-of-bill-o-brien-as-alabama-s-next-oc

Alabama appears set to hire Bill OBrien - Rivals.com - Alabama

It appears as though Alabama has narrowed in on its next offensive coordinator. After reportedly making multiple trips to Tuscaloosa, Ala. this month, former Houston Texans and Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien looks set to take over the Crimson Tide’s offense next season.

While O’Brien’s hiring has yet to be announced, Alabama head coach Nick Saban hinted at the move during a Zoom call about the Paul Bryant Award on Wednesday.

“I think he’ll do a great job with our players here,” Saban said during the call. “I’ve always tried to have the best knowledge and experience I can for our players and their development, and I certainly think he can contribute to that in a very positive way.”

O’Brien was fired by the Texans in October after leading the team to an 0-4 start. Before his dismissal, he spent six full seasons as the head coach of the organization, winning the AFC South four times. Prior to that, O’Brien spent two seasons as head coach at Penn State. He earned the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award and Maxwell Coach of the Year Award in 2012 after he rallied the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 season despite an 0-2 start and NCAA sanctions. O’Brien also spent five seasons with the New England Patriots from 2007-11 where he worked under Saban’s close friend, Bill Belichick.

O’Brien served as the Patriots offensive coordinator in 2011. He also coached quarterbacks in 2009 and 2010 after coaching running backs in 2008. The 51-year-old also has offensive coordinator experience at the college level, leading Georgia Tech’s offense from 2001-02 and Duke’s offense from 2005-06.

“I’ve known Bill O’Brien for a long, long time, all the way back when he was an assistant at Georgia Tech with George O’Leary,” Saban said during the call. “I think when he was with Bill Belichick at the New England Patriots — who I think everybody knows the relationship that we have with Bill — he was the offensive coordinator there. Went to Penn State in probably the most trying times of any great program, coming off of a lot of crazy stuff, and he did an outstanding job of sort of rebuilding that program, getting players to stay there, having a real representative positive program.

“And I think he did a really good job in Houston when he was the head coach. I think when he became the general manager maybe things didn’t go exactly like he would’ve liked, trying to have both roles. But having been a head coach in that league, I know how difficult it is to do both of those things — probably impossible. So based on the body of work up until then, I think he’s an outstanding coach and a really good person.”

If hired, O’Brien will replace Broyles Award winner Steve Sarkisian, who accepted the head coaching job at Texas earlier this month. O’Brien would take over an Alabama team that ranked in the top five in scoring (48.5 points per game), total offense (541.6 yards per game) and passing offense (358.2 ypg). However, he’ll likely be missing several key components of that group, including Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, Davey O’Brien Award winner Mac Jones and Doak Walker Award winner Najee Harris as well as the majority of an offensive line that earned the Joe Moore Award.

During O’Brien’s last full season in charge of Houston last year, the Texans ranked 13th in the NFL in total offense averaging 362 yards per game. Before the 2020 season, he handed over playcalling duties to offensive coordinator Tim Kelly after taking on the general manager role in addition to his head coaching job.

Over the past four seasons, O’Brien has coached dual-threat quarterback Deshaun Watson. At Alabama, the newly-named coordinator will oversee another mobile passer as former five-star recruit Bryce Young is set to take over the reins behind center. O’Brien helped Watson develop into one of the top passers in the league as the former Clemson star led the NFL with 4,823 passing yards en route to his third Pro Bowl this season. Alabama will hope he has a similar effect on Young as the Tide looks to reload its offense for another title run this season.

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Lillard & McCollum Combine For 68 PTS & 23 AST! – NBA

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Lillard & McCollum Combine For 68 PTS & 23 AST! - NBA

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NHL Game Highlights | Canucks vs. Oilers – Jan. 13, 2020 – SPORTSNET

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NHL Game Highlights | Blues vs. Avalanche – Jan. 13, 2020 – SPORTSNET

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NHL Game Highlights | Blues vs. Avalanche – Jan. 13, 2020 - SPORTSNET

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