The Bears entered 2019 with Super Bowl aspirations, but they'll be watching the playoffs on television after finishing third in the NFC North with an 8-8 record.
Speaking to the media Tuesday at Halas Hall, team chairman George H. McCaskey acknowledged the disappointment of falling short of those expectations, thanked fans for their loyalty and vowed the Bears will rebound.
"Every year we talk about the goal being to win the Super Bowl, and in some years you feel you are better positioned to do that than others," McCaskey said. "We certainly thought that was the case in 2019, so the 8-8 record was especially disappointing in that light. I just want to thank our fans for sticking with the Bears, their Bears. And we're going to do everything we can to improve our situation in 2020."
The main culprit in the Bears' disappointing season was an offense that regressed across the board, ranking 29th in scoring (17.5 per game) and total yards (296.8). On Tuesday, the team parted ways with offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, offensive line coach Harry Hiestand and tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride.
"We need more consistency from our offense, at various positions," McCaskey said. "We need more production out of the tight end position. We need receivers running the correct routes. And we need to get the running game going. If we have an established running game, that'll help Mitchell [Trubisky] a lot at the quarterback position."
While many outside the organization have pinned much of the blame for the Bears' lack of success on Trubisky, McCaskey stressed that the team needs improved play at virtually every position. That includes a defense that generated only 19 takeaways in 2019 after leading the NFL with 36 in 2018 when they won the NFC North with a 12-4 record.
"We need more consistency from the quarterback position, but we need more consistency across the board," McCaskey said. "The defense regressed in 2019. We need more takeaways. That happened in 2018 and it didn't happen for the most part in 2019. The defense needs to score or put the offense on the doorstep; short field, help out the offense, help out the quarterback. That's squad-wide."
McCaskey believes that general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy will help the Bears revert to the form they showed in 2018.
"We're confident in Ryan and Matt to do what's necessary to get us back on track," McCaskey said. "As Ryan mentioned [to the media Tuesday], the core of this team won the division with a 12-4 record in 2018. We took a step back in 2019, and we need to figure out why that happened. I don't think it's just one reason. We need to look at all of the reasons and address all of the reasons and get better."
McCaskey was impressed with how Bears players and coaches dealt with the lack of success they experienced in 2019.
"[Pace] mentioned that the adversity that we went through in 2019 reveals a lot about people, about coaches, about staff, players," McCaskey said. "And one of the things I was most impressed with was how our guys stuck together. I think they have a lot of respect for each other. They talk about how they love each other.
"It's easy when things go poorly to point fingers. I was especially proud that our guys didn't do that and stuck together and looked at working on solutions rather than casting blame."