When George McCaskey and the Chicago Bears brass hired Matt Nagy in 2018, their objective was clear. Find somebody capable of developing quarterback Mitch Trubisky and fixing the team’s perennially broken offense. Nagy seemed like a solid bet. He’d been successful as the offensive coordinator in Kansas City for two years, helping Alex Smith reach his career zenith at quarterback. He brought a fresh, positive personality to the table. An ability to motivate. Things started off great with the Bears going 12-4 and winning the NFC North.
After that though, it was all downhill. Trubisky began regressing at the start of 2019 and the offense seemed to go with him. Nagy tried everything to reverse the trend, even overhauling his entire offensive staff. Nothing worked. It became clear the man wasn’t capable of producing a viable product on that side of the ball, no matter who the quarterback was. This is the biggest fundamental reason the Bears are about to fire him as head coach.
Now it seems the scope of their approach has changed.
Albert Breer of the MMQB provided an update on the entire coaching carousel with Black Monday right around the corner. He expects the Bears to be one of five jobs that will likely come open. The search this time though will be different. McCaskey knows the development of Justin Fields is important, but it can’t be the sole focus. It sounds like he is aiming to find somebody that can coach up the entire team.
“And assuming Matt Nagy’s gone (GM Ryan Pace has a decent chance to survive), I’ve heard they won’t be focused solely on quarterback-developers like they were when they landed Nagy in 2018, with their focus likely on leader-of-men types. It’s also worth noting that owner George McCaskey has been very involved in the NFL’s diversity efforts, and the league has been bullish on the candidacy of Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
I’ve heard a few younger candidates that project as leaders, like Patriots LBs coach Jerod Mayo and Colts DC Matt Eberflus, will be in the mix too. (Obviously, for these types, a plan for developing Justin Fields will be important.)”
This is the proper approach to take. While the quarterback is vital to team success in the NFL, he is still just one player. A head coach has a 53-man roster to worry about. He must be able to teach and motivate every position or find the right people that can. Everybody already knows about Frazier. His name was mentioned a few weeks ago by Dan Graziano of ESPN. The more interesting nugget is Mayo and Eberflus.
George McCaskey is keeping an open mind
That is a good thing. He is not restricting his search to any one side of the ball or more importantly the color of a guy’s skin. It doesn’t matter if their offense, defense, white, or black. He wants to find the best possible head coach for the Bears. Mayo is a perfect example. Not only is he a minority but also not even a coordinator. He’s the New England Patriots’ inside linebackers coach. Some people might scoff at that but John Harbaugh was a defensive backs coach when Baltimore hired him. Andy Reid was an offensive line coach before heading to Philadelphia.
This isn’t something that is abnormal. Mayo was renowned for his leadership ability as a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Patriots. Now he’s done great work for them as a coach. Most believe it won’t be long before he is running his own team. Eberflus on the other hand might be the most prepared of anybody. He is concluding his fourth season as an NFL defensive coordinator. It has a chance to become the third where his unit finished 10th or better in points allowed. On top of that, he was a coordinator for eight seasons at the University of Missouri.
The 51-year old has had some excellent mentors along the way.
Dean Pees at Toledo. Gary Pinkel at Missouri. Frank Reich in Indianapolis. He always has his players motivated and well-prepared. This mand and others like him are absolutely who George McCaskey should be talking to. It sounds like the team chairman is on the right track. That at least is something.