The Chicago Bears will look to even their record at 4-4 on Sunday when they host the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field. Chicago could be without head coach Matt Nagy, who announced Monday that he tested positive for COVID-19 and is now away from the team. Many analysts and fans have called for Nagy’s firing due to the Bears’ poor offensive production, and the team’s upcoming schedule does not help the embattled head coach.
Source close to ownership describes the mood inside the building as “fed up”.
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) October 25, 2021
Nagy Has Been On The Hot Seat For The Majority of the 2021 Season
Heading into the 2021 season, Nagy’s job was already in question as the Bears have posted a 16-16 record since 2019, with just one playoff appearance. Even more troubling, Chicago’s offense has gotten steadily worse under their offensive-minded head coach since the 2018 NFC North Division Championship season. Nagy has given up play-calling duties in back-to-back seasons, as offensive coordinator Bill Lazor took over play-calling duties, following Chicago’s 26-6 loss to Cleveland in week three earlier this season.
Wow. Matt Nagy says he is giving play calling to OC Bill Lazor.
— Jason Lieser (@JasonLieser) November 13, 2020
Last season, Nagy’s job was in severe jeopardy during the Bears’ six-game losing streak, which included a 34-30 loss to the Detroit Lions, where the Bears lost a lead late in the game. Had it not been for a 3-1 record at the end of the season that got Chicago into the playoffs, the Bears’ head coach would have likely been fired.
The problem for Nagy this season has been the lack of progression and struggles of rookie quarterback Justin Fields. Chicago drafted Fields 11th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft after trading up from the 18th selection. Nagy was hired by general manager Ryan Pace to oversee the development of second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in 2018. With the failure to develop Trubisky, and now the current struggles that Fields is facing, Chicago’s head coach has failed to succeed in the area of expertise he was hired for.
Chicago currently has the worst passing offense in the league as they rank dead last in passing yards per game and points per game. The Bears offense has only scored more than 21 points once this season. Even more disappointing is that Chicago’s offense has struggled to score in garbage time as in three of their losses in which they trailed by more than 10-points in the fourth quarter, the bears’ offense couldn’t score a single point. Following the team’s 38-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, calls for Nagy’s firing increased both locally and nationally.
The Bears now have under 200 net passing yards in each of their first seven games.
They're the first team since the 2008 Titans to open the season with at least seven games under 200 yards passing.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 24, 2021
Bears’ Upcoming Schedule Layout Enables Ownership To Make A Coaching Change
Following the Bears’ Halloween game against the 49ers on Sunday, the team will have only four games through December 5th. Two of Chicago’s three games in November will be nationally televised and not be on Sunday. The first will be the Bears’ Monday Night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 9th, with the other being on Thanksgiving against the Lions in Detroit. Chicago will have their bye week following the road game in Pittsburgh, while they will have ten days until their next game following the Thanksgiving game.
Nov 9, 2014, Aaron Rodgers had Green Bay up 42-0 at halftime on a national stage.
It was at that point that George McCaskey knew Marc Trestman and his coaching staff had to go.
I'm feeling similar vibes today. #Bears
— Bill Zimmerman (@ZimmermanSXM) October 24, 2021
If the Bears lose and have a poor offensive showing in either game, national scrutiny for Nagy will be heightened as the Bears’ offensive struggles will be on display in front of the whole country. The week ten bye week and the extended time following the Thanksgiving game against the Lions could allow the McCaskey family to fire their head coach, while giving the interim head coach enough time to get situated for the Bears’ next opponent.
The Bears’ have never fired a head coach during the regular season, but it is becoming likely that Nagy could be the first in franchise history. The losses against the Rams, Browns, and Buccaneers were embarrassing for the Bears’ owners because these games were either a prime-time game or a lead game for Fox and CBS. The McCaskey family can tolerate a bad Bears’ team on the field, but they become angry when Chicago is embarrassed on a national stage.
— Jerry Hairston, Jr. (@TheRealJHair) October 25, 2021
Chicago’s 2014 season is a prime example of that with former head coach Marc Trestman. Trestman’s 2014 Bears team finished with a 5-11 record but had several embarrassing losses in front of a national audience. Chicago lost four nationally televised games where they were defeated by 16 points or more, including a 55-14 blowout to the rival Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. Trestman was fired at the season’s end, despite only being Chicago’s head coach for two seasons.
The Bears’ November schedule does not help Nagy as several of the games will be televised nationally, especially the Thanksgiving game. A loss to the Lions on Thanksgiving could result in a firing as Chicago has won their last three Thanksgiving games as the tradition of the day is especially important to the McCaskey family. Last season, the Lions fired head coach Matt Patricia two days after Thanksgiving, following a 41-25 loss to the Houston Texans. A Chicago loss to the Lions on Thanksgiving could potentially be Detroit’s first win of the 2021 season, providing further embarrassment for the Bears’ franchise.
Breaking: The Detroit Lions have fired head coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn pic.twitter.com/y9Mfsc598K
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 28, 2020
November could be the final month of employment for Nagy with the Chicago Bears unless significant improvement happens with the offense. Fields has to play better at quarterback, and the Bears must win at least two of their three November games to keep any playoff hopes alive. If Nagy can’t avoid an embarrassing performance from his offense and loss by his team, ownership will have enough time to make him the first Bears’ head coach fired during the regular season.