The Bears have hit the halfway point in the season and find themselves officially in the NFL’s version of no-man’s-land.
They aren’t close to being a factor in the playoff chase and aren’t anywhere near bad enough to think about rebuilding.
Even if the Bears were frustrated, aggravated or desperate enough to think about tanking the rest of the season, it would accomplish nothing other than increasing the value of their first-round draft pick, which now belongs to the Oakland Raiders.
Neither the reigning NFL Executive of the Year (general manager Ryan Pace) nor the reigning NFL Coach of the Year (Matt Nagy) is going anywhere for the foreseeable future, nor should they.
Although firing one or both might humor a tiny group of overly emotional and/or ignorant fans, the full bodies of work of the two top dogs in the Bears’ football operations make it clear it is far too soon for that.
Nagy could look at other changes to his coaching staff, but if you’ve spent any time around him at all, you know he’s not the scapegoating type.
A number of players on both sides of the ball simply aren’t producing up to the levels they established for themselves last season, and clearly the Bears did a poor job of self-scouting and evaluating their own talent at a number of positions this past offseason.
They are good enough to contend right now on defense, special teams and most likely at receiver. But they are subpar on the offensive line, at running back and quarterback, and they’re downright inferior at tight end.
So what are the Bears to do over the next eight games?
Nagy acknowledged Monday it starts for him with playing amateur psychologist as much as football coach.
“There’s a lot of that – there’s a ton of that,” he said. “I think for me, that’s my job, to make sure that I understand that.
“When you have the type of leaders that we have on both sides, you believe in those guys in making sure they communicate to you where we stand as a team. And I’ve done that.
“And I know it’s hard for everybody; it’s hard for us; it’s hard for everybody out there. But I’m all about positivity, and that’s the way we attack it.”
Beyond that, here are some changes that can be made.
Backup quarterback Chase Daniel has shown he gives the team no better chance to win than Mitch Trubisky, and he clearly is not the future, so logic dictates they keep sending Trubisky out there and force him to either improve or self-destruct.
However, should Trubisky have another game or two like the first half Sunday in Philly, you could argue that Nagy may owe it to himself and the rest of his roster to give Tyler Bray a chance.
I’m not suggesting he’s the answer, but Bray has now been with Nagy for seven seasons, he is still only 27, and he has a big arm. If he’s not good enough to take a look at, why is he here?
Putting Bray in the huddle also could provide a little shock therapy to the rest of the roster.
There are two tight ends – Dax Raymond and Jesper Horsted – and two running backs – Kerrith Whyte and Ryan Nall – on the practice squad.
It is time to acknowledge the signing of running back Mike Davis and the drafting of tight end Adam Shaheen were mistakes.
The Bears should waive Davis (which could also help secure a compensatory draft choice) and release Shaheen, or find an injury to justify getting him to injured reserve, and activate Raymond, Whyte and Nall now.
Horsted is strictly a “U” tight end who needs more time to develop.
But a dose of athleticism and youthful enthusiasm certainly couldn’t hurt.
On the offensive line, it’s hard to see how giving either Alex Bars or Cornelius Lucas or both some of Charles Leno’s reps could hurt.
Is any of that likely to launch an eight-game winning streak?
No, but it’s what you do when the current plan isn’t working and you have a chance to find out how big your offseason job has to be before it gets here.
• Hub Arkush is executive editor of Pro Football Weekly. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.