Matt Nagy lasted four years as head coach for the Chicago Bears. His tenure started with such promise, going 12-4 and winning the NFC North title in 2018. Then over the last three seasons, the team slowly regressed back into mediocrity. While there were several reasons for this, most agree it all came back to the offense. The thing Nagy was hired to fix. In those four seasons, it never ranked higher than 21st in the league.
As time went on, it became apparent that something was off about the entire operation. Things never seemed to click with any consistency. The Bears would get going for a drive or even a quarter and then suddenly short circuit. Forget scoring. Even moving the football became an arduous task for them. Experts saw a system that too often seemed so disorganized. If it looked that way to those outside Halas Hall, then what did those inside think of it? Adam Jahns and Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic provided a glimpse.
It’s about as ugly as you would think.
“Ultimately, if you really try and define Matt Nagy’s offense … with multiple changes they’ve had, the multiple players they’ve had at the quarterback position, I think at times it lacks an identity,” said ESPN analyst Matt Bowen, a Chicago-area native.
Some sources suggested that Nagy was hired as a head coach too early in his career, that he needed more time calling plays in Kansas City and more seasoning overall. Walkthroughs were “a mess,” a source said, and the lack of accountability at Halas Hall showed up in penalties during games. Nagy connected well with some players, while his grip on others faded as the losses mounted and fingers pointed. Nagy tried to assert himself. Players were fined more this season than in the previous three.
This goes to show that Nagy never had a firm grasp on what he was doing. While he had motivational skills up to a point, people were eventually going to catch on to the fact that he wasn’t the expert he proclaimed himself to be. Working under Andy Reid did a lot for his reputation, but that experience ended up being the anchor that eventually sank him. Nagy was so determined to run a Reid-like offense that he failed to maximize the talent he had.
As players began to realize he was a fraud, they started tuning him out or even openly resisting him. This often led to a breakdown in communication. Mitch Trubisky constantly tried to push the coaches to make changes because the system wasn’t working. He was ignored. Allen Robinson revealed that he and Nagy didn’t speak for five months this past offseason and that there was a major disconnect with gameplans and his overall usage.
Matt Nagy only has himself to blame
A smart head coach would understand a strict offensive system rarely works in the NFL without the ideal personnel to run it. More often it is best to craft a scheme that fits the talent you have. Nagy resisted this approach for most of his first three seasons. Not until the Bears were in the midst of a six-game losing streak in 2020 did he finally face reality. The staff adjusted the system to fit Trubisky’s skillset and they won three straight to reach the playoffs.
True to form, Matt Nagy learned nothing from that experience. Trubisky was allowed to walk in free agency. The Bears signed Andy Dalton to replace him and then traded up to draft Justin Fields. He also took back play calling duties from Bill Lazor. It was evident at that point the man wasn’t going to change. He was hell-bent on running his offense. Unsurprisingly, it crashed and burned.
Now he is unemployed with zero credibility.
It will take him years to maybe get another shot at the job. Given his track record at running offense, he may never get one. Not unless he learns the lessons he failed to during his time in Chicago. Nagy thought he had the blueprint for guaranteed offensive success. Copy and paste the Reid system and profit. It has never and will never be that easy in the NFL.