It isn’t easy being Matt Nagy right now. The Chicago Bears head coach is facing pressure from all sides in regards to his handling of the offense. Especially the quarterback situation. Everybody knows the story by now. Chicago signed veteran Andy Dalton in free agency with the assurance he’d have a chance to start. Then a month later they traded up in the 1st round to select Justin Fields.
Ever since then, Nagy has operated with a plan in mind. Dalton would start for the time being. Fields would back him up, learning from the sideline and getting occasional plays during games based on the situation. Nagy’s reasoning was simple. Get the kid some experience and let him continue to learn from the sideline. When it became clear to the coaches that he was ready, then he’d take over as the starter.
This has met with a ton of criticism from Bears fans.
Anybody who watched Fields during the preseason could see he was ready to play. Sure he made an occasional rookie mistake, but the good far outweighed the bad. Besides, nothing about this situation makes sense. Nagy’s job status is up in the air. Most assume he and GM Ryan Pace are on the hot seat. If the team doesn’t win, then the only way they survive is if Fields plays well. Holding him out of games serves no purpose.
It is this criticism that has some analysts confused. Max Kellerman put a voice to it on ESPN while talking with insider Dan Graziano and former Patriots pass rusher Rob Ninkovich. While it’s fine to want Fields to play, bashing Nagy for trying to do the right thing in the best interests of the franchise along the way is rather hypocritical.
The source of frustration with Matt Nagy isn’t his job security
In truth, plenty of Bears fans would love to see him go. They feel his way overrated prowess as an offensive mind continues to hold this team back. The real frustration centers on the belief that Fields doesn’t need to sit. This isn’t the case of Mitch Trubisky back in 2017 when it was obvious he was still raw after just one season starting at North Carolina. Field spent two years dominating the Big Ten at Ohio State and played three games in the College Football Playoffs.
He was experienced and battle-tested against the best teams in the country. If anybody seemed ready to start immediately in this draft class, it was him. Then to see him play so well in the preseason on top of that? Plenty of people think sitting him is pointless. Even so, Matt Nagy elected to do it anyway. While he has an unwavering belief that Fields is going to be a good player, he wants to make absolutely sure the kid will have success when his time comes.
Maybe he’s being overprotective, but certainly not malicious.
Nagy is trying to do the right thing. Nobody can fault him for that. However, with Dalton off to a poor start, this entire plan is in danger of falling apart. The locker room already seems to be getting antsy. There are rumblings that many players and even coaches think Fields should be out there. If Dalton delivers another underwhelming flop against Cincinnati on Sunday? The Bears head coach may have no choice but to make the switch.