It would be easy for Matt Nagy to feel bitter. Getting fired is never easy. There can be a lot of hard feelings. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case with the now-former Chicago Bears head coach. One thing about him is he always finds a way to stay positive. It was a big reason players liked and supported him. That hasn’t changed. Though unemployed for the first time in 10 years, that mentality never deserted him.
Kyle Brandt of NFL Network is a Bears fan and an admirer of Nagy as a person. He revealed to Jarrett Payton of WGN News that he texted the former coach asking how he was doing. Nagy admitted that things didn’t go how he wanted in Chicago. However, he was certain of one thing. Without even being asked, the head coach made it clear that Justin Fields was destined for great things as the Bears quarterback.
I had a great #Bears/#NFL convo w/ my guy @KyleBrandt from @gmfb. He’s been in contact w/ Matt Nagy since he was fired. Kyle said Nagy had nothing but great things to say about the future of Justin Fields.
— Jarrett Payton (@paytonsun) January 19, 2022
This offers a glimpse into how Nagy feels about the player.
His conviction on Fields has been evident going back almost two years. He revealed that his interest in the young man began in 2020 after a conversation with good friend Ryan Day, Ohio State’s head coach. After that, the Bears coach made it a note to watch the quarterback more often. His intrigue grew with each passing week. By the start of the 2021 offseason, Nagy was all-in. If they couldn’t land a genuine star QB via trade, then Fields had to be the guy.
Thanks to a series of fortunate breaks, the Buckeyes star slipped to the 11th overall pick in the draft. GM Ryan Pace engineered a trade up with the New York Giants. Fields was a Bear. Nagy’s excitement was evident the moment they got the news the trade had gone through. Unfortunately, everything that followed went wrong. Nagy was criticized externally and internally for how he handled the rookie’s development. Fields ended up struggling and the Bears crumbled to a 6-11 finish.
Matt Nagy no doubt laments where he went wrong
His downfall can be attributed to multiple factors. The odd handling of Fields is one of the biggest. Nobody could understand why the head coach was being so stubborn in regards to the rookie. Despite trading up to get him, Nagy insisted that Chicago was going to utilize the Kansas City method for developing. That is to say, he’ll sit most of his rookie season while a solid veteran, in this case Andy Dalton, handles starting duties. No competition.
Matt Nagy was so committed to this approach that he didn’t even give Fields any meaningful snaps with the first-team offense in training camp. Sure enough, Dalton injured his knee against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2. Fields was forced into action. In his first-ever start the next week in Cleveland, it was a disaster. The rookie was sacked nine times and managed just one net passing yard.
Nobody came under more fire for that debacle than Nagy.
Fields did improve over the course of the season, but not enough for anybody to think the coaches were doing him any favors. The often nonsensical game plans and puzzling inability to not work to the young quarterback’s strengths were a constant talking point among experts. Nagy couldn’t hide any longer. He was shown the door. One can only imagine how he’ll feel if his prediction ends up coming true and Justin Fields becomes great.