Two weeks ago it wasn’t hard to feel how close the city of Chicago was to full-blown riots. They already weren’t happy that Matt Nagy was back in charge after a disappointing finish to 2020. One that was characterized by continued problems with the offense. Then they had to watch that same offense get brutalized in Cleveland by a swarming Browns defense. Nine sacks. One net passing yard. It was a pathetic performance.
Sensing the impending danger, Nagy decided to make changes. He gave up play calling (again) to Bill Lazor and also spoke to players directly about what they’d like to see more of on offense. As a result, the Bears began running the ball more and committed to Justin Fields as the starting quarterback. The team has since won their past two games to reach 3-2. Has this quieted the talks about his job? Not really.
Beating the Lions and Raiders won’t do it.
If Nagy wants to get people off his back, he needs to start beating good teams. He also needs to start scoring more points. Even with the coaching changes, the Bears still have the worst offense in the NFL. Now they’re about to play Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady in back-to-back weeks. Chicago isn’t beating those two with just defense. One insider who seems confident that Nagy is far from a lock to return next year is Ben Allbright of KOA Colorado. Not only is he confident the Bears are still likely to fire him, but they have eyes on a replacement.
This isn’t the first time Allbright has mentioned Brian Daboll in connection with the Bears. The Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator is expected to be one of the hottest head coaching candidates this coming offseason. Not a surprise given how dominant quarterback Josh Allen has looked since last year. The Bears need somebody who can maximize Fields as a talent. It makes perfect sense they’d look at Daboll.
I didn't say that was the whole list, I just said the shortlist started there.
Daboll will have multiple teams after him Chicago is probably the leader in the clubhouse. Moore has no HC experience and no ties to anyone in the building. Doesn't mean he won't, just long shot.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) October 14, 2021
Matt Nagy may live or die over the next month
The past two years he’s managed to overcome rough stretches to get his team to a respectable record. This time could prove difficult thanks to how merciless the schedule is. The next month of games includes Green Bay, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh. Those are two conference championship participants and two teams that are better than their 2-3 records suggest. Then for good measure, the Bears get the red-hot Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens after the bye week.
That is the sort of stretch that can turn a 3-2 record into 3-7 in the blink of an eye. This is why Matt Nagy can’t be considered safe. Beating good teams has remained a persistent issue for him dating back to 2019. It’s fine that he can eat up average or bad teams. That won’t count for much in the playoffs. He has to prove he can get the Bears to look strong against some of the best.
That includes Fields.
Nagy is supposed to be a quarterback expert. Yet all the evidence to this point suggests he isn’t the best equipped at helping the rookie take the necessary steps to become the franchise player Chicago is starved for. If they can’t help him start to show that more? Then they seem ready and willing to find somebody who can.