Bears’ Phillips may have the last laugh on critics

The temperature was rising in the late December/early January chill in ChiTown.

Back 10 months ago things were simmering around Chicago Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips, who many of you already know is a Nashua native and Bishop Guertin graduate.

The Chicago media was ravenous and the heat was on. The Bears had just fired head coach John Fox, and fans were reportedly irate that the Bears, who were in the Super Bowl 11 years ago, were spinning their wheels.

“Team president Ted Phillips has made mistake after mistake,” one on-line petition to remove Phillips, who has been in charge of the Bears since 1999, said. “He has no football background and continues to be constant in issues at Halas Hall.”

They were all irate when Phillips said he and chairman George McCaskey would aid general manager Ryan Pace in the coaching search that eventually landed Matt Nagy.

“The former accountant,” Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Rosenbloom wrote,” should be counting beans.”

Well, right now those beans are tasting OK, despite last week’s overtime loss at Miami.

Da Bears set out to reclaim their longtime defensive identity and traded for/extended a natuaral Monster of the Midway, Khalil Mack. Nagy, a former Chiefs assistant/Andy Reid disciple, seems to be getting the most out of young quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

“I thought it was a great opportunity,” Nagy said, adding the Chiefs spent a lot of pre-draft time with Trabisky a couple of years ago “so that was a lot easier for me to know who he was before I took the job.”

Phillips usually likes to keep a low profile. Through his assistant, he politely declined an interview request from The Telegraph,citing business related to this week’s league meetings, etc.

If his Bears pull off a win against the Patriots this week, well, Phillips can smile back at his critics.

Last week, so did yours truly, with a 6-1 mark. About time.

PATRIOTS 27, BEARS 17

Mack didn’t practice late in the week, and who knows how effective he will be Sunday. The Patriots offense is clicking, with all the ingredients (Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Josh Gordon, Sony Michel) seemingly ready and able. We want to go Bears, but Mack’s health changes that.

JAGUARS 17, TITANS 14

The Jags can’t be as bad as they looked in Dallas last week, can they? They certainly aren’t as good as they looked vs. New England. Texans’ roll may end here.

CHIEFS 33, BENGALS 24

This Kansas City team can really put up points. They’ll do it again on Sunday night. Were this game in Cincy, maybe not.

EAGLES 27, PANTHERS 21

Philly has had 10 days to prepare for this one, and the on-off Panthers have already lost to one NFC East team and almost did to another.

REDSKINS 24, COWBOYS 17

Dallas has surprisingly been solid defensively this season, but Washington corner Josh Norman wrecked having with the Panthers last week and will be a problem for Dak Prescott.

SAINTS 21, RAVENS 16

Baltimore pitched a shutout agains the Titans last week with a franchise record 11 sacks. Saints, with extra time to prepare, are a different deal, but it will be a slow start after the high of the Drew Brees milestone nearly two weeks ago. But the Who Dats recover and pull it out late.

VIKINGS 24, JETS 20

Jets have been on a sudden roll with QB Sam Darnold. Kirk Cousins could have been a Jet, but said no. Jets are better off in the long run, but Cousins comes up big in the short term, including Sunday.

LAST WEEK: 6-1

SEASON: 22-18-2

Tom King can be reached at 594-1251 or tking@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow King on Twitter (@Telegraph_TomK).