Do The Bears Already Have A Matt Nagy Successor In Mind?

matt nagy
Aug 28, 2021; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy watches against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Nagy remains the head coach of the Chicago Bears. The 2021 season is not over or lost. At 3-4, they still have a chance to get back into the playoff hunt. Yet to many this is a team standing on the edge of a precipice. Their margin for error is so small because now their defense is missing its best player and their offense can’t score points. An offense Nagy spent the past three seasons trying to build.

This team is trending in the wrong direction. It is one of the oldest in the NFL. It has been blown out by three of the top contenders in the NFC. Their offense is the laughing stock of the league. What else does George McCaskey need to see at this point? This is why the call for him to be fired now is growing louder. Thus far the Bears haven’t budged. Most assume because the organization has never fired a head coach midseason. Both out of respect for the coach and the rather pointless nature of the move in general.

Could there be another reasoning behind it?

One of the primary motivations for such a firing would be it gives the organization a head start on searching for a replacement. That is what the Atlanta Falcons did last season with Dan Quinn. They eventually hired Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. They have now won three of their last four games despite having a rather unimpressive roster. So why not take a similar approach? Dan Pompei of The Athletic provided an interesting answer to this question in a recent column. It might be because the Bears already have an idea of who they want to replace Nagy.

“(Former Giants general manager) George Young told me a couple days after I was hired in Buffalo, you never know what’s going to happen in this job,” Polian says. “It’s important that in your upper left-hand drawer, you should have a list of five, six, seven names that could be potential head coaches should you be required to make a change.”

Some teams might not feel the pressure to move early because they are reasonably confident who they will hire before they fire. Back-channel communications between high-level executives and their future coaches or intermediaries are a dirty secret in the NFL and a factor in many head coach hirings.

People often like to think that organizations are classy and wait until a coach is gone before beginning a search for his replacement. That isn’t how business in the real world works. Once it becomes clear something (or someone) isn’t working, a team will start looking for options elsewhere. They just won’t make it public until the coach is gone.

Matt Nagy should really start getting nervous

While McCaskey isn’t ready to pull the plug on Nagy yet, a source informed SM that he has begun compiling a list of possible head coaches. While there are no specific favorites known, it is was made clear the list covers both the NFL and college ranks. So the research is certainly thorough. Whether it will be needed depends on what Nagy does in the next month or so.

Chicago has two games left before the bye week. At home this weekend against San Francisco and then a trip to Pittsburgh against the Steelers. Two teams with decent defenses that can get after the quarterback. If they can’t protect Fields again and the offense stalls? Their odds of winning are remote. That means reaching the bye at 3-6 and basically out of the playoff picture. Matt Nagy won’t be able to hide from that.

From there, the real conversations will begin.

The NFL made an adjustment to their rulebook this year. One that allows teams to get a head start on interviewing possible head coaches two weeks before the end of the season. This gives certain candidates on playoff-bound teams a chance to meet with teams before a hectic postseason schedule makes it difficult. It wouldn’t be a shock if the Bears take advantage of this.

SOURCESteve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.