McCaskeys make a popular decision on Bears' coach, GM firings

By the time the team sent out a two-sentence news release at 10:03 a.m. ET Monday, "Bears Make Change At General Manager And Head Coach Positions," millions of printed words and countless hours of talk perhaps had already determined that the most thorough one-day house-cleaning in Chicago Bears' history was a foregone conclusion.

If so, it would be unprecedented.

According to team chairman George McCaskey Monday, his mother and Bears matriarch Virginia McCaskey was "pissed off" at the state of the team. It seems to safe to infer that her anger and disappointment stemmed in part from the crush of public/media reaction which, in the end, neither she nor George could ignore.

That's not to imply Monday's decision to fire Emery and Trestman was solely reactionary instead of reasonable. From the inconsistent and clumsy handling of such team issues as the suspension of Martellus Bennett in training camp, the inaction over Lance Briggs missing practice to open his restaurant and the hands-off treatment of Brandon Marshall, Trestman's leadership abilities are easy to pick apart.

And from the management's missteps of hiring Trestman, drafting Shea McClellin with the first pick, giving Cutler a $126 million contract and allowing the quarterback to start in Week 17, ditto on Emery.

Throw in the epic blowout defeats; the league-leading pre-snap penalties and the ever-increasing impression that if the inmates were not running the asylum, they were at least running amok, and the decision Monday was a rather elementary one.

A decade or so ago, critical columns in the local newspapers and chitchat on local radio certainly were given no heed when it came to the fates of Dave Wannstedt, Dick Jauron and Jerry Angelo. It took two 4-12 campaigns for the Bears to fire Wannstedt, four losing seasons to say goodbye to Jauron and much hemming and hawing to pull the plug after 11 years on Angelo, while forcing new GM Emery to begin his campaign with a lame-duck coach in Lovie Smith (whose firing Emery could justify when Smith's team missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons).

But never before have the people spoken at the volume they did through all means possible this season, so much so that a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune the day before the firings practically begged for fans' forgiveness, saying, "We Won't Make Excuses. We Will Thank You For Your Support."

Trestman is the first Bears coach to be fired after only two seasons as the previous tendency to avoid paying coaches for unused years on their contracts did not apply here. Nor did it matter that both Emery and Trestman are nice, respectable men (see: Wannstedt and Jauron).

Even under the most ferocious criticism the past few weeks, there was still the question of whether the team would keep Emery while firing Trestman because it was simply hard to imagine the Bears would make such a decisive, sweeping change. The fact that they did may be testimony to a new decisiveness within the Bears' organization. Or it may be that indeed, Virginia McCaskey had heard enough because it was simply impossible not to hear.

The people spoke. And this time, maybe made the Bears' decision an easy one.