Matt Nagy is a complicated figure among Chicago Bears fans. The head coach is a likable guy. He is personable, outgoing, and displays the sort of traits needed for his position. Particularly that of leadership and an ability to hold sway in a locker room. At the same time, more than a few people are tired of him. They feel he does more harm than good to this team and isn’t worth keeping around anymore.
They keep talking about his play calling and all that. The reality is the issue with Nagy runs deeper. It isn’t just the play calling. It’s everything he does on offense. Scheming, personnel usage, clock management, discipline, adjustments, and execution. All of it is lacking for this team and has for years.
This has led to many accusing him of being too stubborn for his own good. A man unwilling to compromise his core beliefs for the betterment of his team. More than anything, what stands out the most with him are the far too numerous instances of where he fails to demand accountability.
Matt Nagy can’t accept when something (or somebody) isn’t working
A 7th round pick in 2018, Wims was a fun story during his rookie year but didn’t amount to much. A year later, he began to see more extended playing time. Between Week 4 and the end of the season, Wims played at least 20 snaps on offense six times. The Bears got 17 catches for 178 yards and a touchdown in that stretch. During which the receiver had a 47.2% catch rate. Did the Bears look for a possible upgrade in the 2020 offseason or even give somebody else on the roster like Riley Ridley an opportunity?
Nope. Wims played another 183 snaps last season, fourth-most among wide receivers on the team. They were rewarded with 76 yards on seven catches, a touchdown, two ugly drops including a sure TD against the Saints in the playoffs. Best of all? Wims actually averaged more snaps in 2020 after his infamous ejection against the New Orleans (16.3) than he did before it (10.62).
An undrafted defensive tackle in 2017, Matt Nagy and the Bears decided to shift him to the offensive line in 2018. A year later, Coward was thrust into the starting lineup after Kyle Long suffered another unfortunate injury. Primary backup Ted Larsen also went down with health issues as well. So Coward was the last option. He looked like it too. In 10 starts, Coward allowed 25 pressures including a sack and three hits on the quarterback.
One would think that was enough to show Nagy the guy might not have what it takes to handle the NFL. The head coach didn’t get the memo. When injuries struck again last year, Coward started games at both left guard and right tackle. Somehow he was even worse, allowing 19 pressures including three sacks in just five starts. The decision to keep him in there baffled fans and experts alike. Everybody except the head coach.
This one is probably the most troubling of all. Matt Nagy always talks about self-evaluation. Yet from what we’ve seen up to this point? Evaluation isn’t a strength of his. The Bears hired him in 2018 in hopes he’d bring a level of offensive aptitude this franchise hasn’t seen in a long, long time. It seemed to make sense. He was a disciple of Andy Reid, one of the top offensive minds of his generation. Nagy had just helped Alex Smith conclude the best season of his career in 2017.
Time has shown that his impact may have been more than a little overstated. His offense got off to a hot start. In the first nine games of his tenure, the Bears scored 28 or more points five times. People started to wonder if this was the man to finally solve the equation. In the 37 games he has called plays since that streak? This offense has scored 28 or more points three times.
Yes, you are reading that correctly. Three times.
His offense has ranked 25th and 32nd the past two years in third down conversion rate. They were 24th and 22nd in red zone efficiency. A simpler way to put it? The offense can’t stay on the field enough and when it does, it can’t score touchdowns. Two games into the 2021 season, not much has changed. The offense scored 14 and 13 points respectively. Against Cincinnati, they were gifted three opportunities thanks to defensive takeaways and managed six points.
The quarterbacks keep changing. Mitch Trubisky. Nick Foles. Andy Dalton. Justin Fields. At some point, Matt Nagy has to accept reality. He might be the biggest problem. Either that or risk losing his job unless the defense can somehow bail him out again.