Matt Nagy said last year that he loves calling plays. It’s one of his favorite things about being a coach. He really felt it is something he can be good at. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough evidence to support that belief. After a decent start in 2018, Nagy’s offense has struggled far too often with him on the call sheet. After surrendering it to Bill Lazor last year to jumpstart the offense, he took it back this offseason. No doubt he hoped the overhaul at quarterback gave him the excuse necessary.
He was mistaken. After three difficult weeks capped by the apocalyptic afternoon in Cleveland that saw Justin Fields get sacked nine times, the head coach had a decision to make. Hand the call sheet back to Lazor or risk a potential mutiny by a locker room that could sense things weren’t working. To his credit, Nagy chose the latter. Lazor took over and the coaching staff adjusted the offense to one much more complimentary of a young quarterback. Lots of running the football and play action.
What the man didn’t expect was how the change would affect him.
During his Friday press conference, it seemed like the head coach admitted that giving up the call sheet has made him a better head coach. Why? It has allowed him to pay greater attention to everything else happening in a game. He’s more in tune with the defense and special teams. He listens to conversations more intently. Before that he’d be so locked in on the offense that he might gloss over certain things.
This is exactly what so many people were arguing for going back years. They felt Nagy was a better head coach than he was an offensive coordinator. Yet he remains way too focused on the latter when the former is so much more important. While he may not like relinquishing control of the offense to another, the Bears have played better football all around since he made that decision.
Matt Nagy may not want to admit this but it also might save his job
The offense is simply better without his direct control. Sure it’s still not all that good, but it certainly has functioned at a higher level. They’re running the football well and Fields seems more comfortable. His improvement has appeared on a steady upward trajectory. The Bears were 1-2 with Nagy on the call sheet. They’re 2-1 since then. If this is what gives them a better chance to win, he shouldn’t complain.
After all, Matt Nagy knows his job status with the Bears is hardly secure. That loss to the Packers hurt his status considerably. He’s 1-6 against their longtime rivals now. Not a great look if you’re seeking further employment. To say nothing of how bad his offenses have been pretty much since he arrived. His only course forward is to win games.
He has avoided a losing record in each of his first three seasons.
Now that the new 17-game schedule is in place, there is no .500 mark to save him. He’ll either have a winning record or losing one by the end of this year. Sacrificing the call sheet may have been hard, but it’s a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. His primary job is to win games. The more he does of that, the less pressure will be on him when the time to discuss a new contract comes around.