Bears Twitter and social media was quite “atwitter” Sunday afternoon, as the Bears were progressing towards a 5-1 record. “Fire Matt Nagy”, “The offense is terrible”, and of course, “Fire Matt Nagy again, a second time!” Lo and behold, the Bears DID score 23 points, and frankly, the Bears could drop 30 plus a game with their eyes closed like Nagy’s former employer does (The Chiefs), and Chicago’s finest fans would still nitpick his offensive calls. Whether you are a student of the game and understand a good semblance of X and O’s, or a guy holding a Bud Light on a couch, both sides of the spectrum notice something just isn’t quite right with their Bears offense.
Some other teams seem to have some pretty fairly in depth plays and formations, and seem to execute just fine. But, regardless of who has been on the field, and this off season saw a giant skill player reshuffling, especially in the tight end room, there has been one common thread: play calling maestro Matt Nagy. No one isn’t saying Nagy has some unique play designs, or has been under the right coaching umbrella with Andy Reid, along with former contemporaries who are now head coaches like Frank Reich and Doug Pedersen. His players haven’t seemed to tune him out yet, which after three seasons is a good thing, but damnit, they is a major disconnect between what’s in his head and that giant play sheet, and what gets put on that field on Sundays.
FiRe MaTt NaGy
The reason for the major vitriol from Chicago fans that has some good basis, is that Nagy was hired as a purported offensive genius, a schematic late Gen X wunderkin along the lines of say Sean McVay or Kyle Shanahan. Those guys have fielded explosive offenses without Pro Bowl QB’s, but there common denominator, besides having worked for Mike Shanahan, has been their above average O lines.
Yes the Bears O line has been sub par, even with the hulking out of James Daniels, and the solid play with Cody Whitehair. We thought bringing in Juan Castillo would help, and it has a bit, but the run game has sputtered. As well, the lack of downfield threats sort of hurts the passing game, and GM Ryan Pace hasn’t exactly filled his cabinet with certified playmakers in the draft. We’re still waiting for Anthony Miller to do something consistent and to know where he is on the damn field, especially when it’s 3rd 2 and he catches at the sticks but jumps back to try and gain more yards. Idiot.
Also, what happened to Riley Ridley? Is Pace still “excited” about him?
Fans incredulously demanding that Nagy be fired need step off of the ledge, my friend. This isn’t a case of the say the New York Jets and Adam Gase, where the team is absolute bereft of talent, and the culture is basically a tire fire. The Bears are 5-1, not 1-5. The Falcons Coach Dan Quinn got canned two weeks ago because they kept blowing impossible leads. No need to jump on the bandwagon of the most recent popular thing to happen, since it’s still fresh on the social media.
Our fan base is in no positon to bitch, especially when the Bears have made the playoffs twice since 2006, but here we are. Also, you all remember Marc Trestman’s inept ass? Do we need to revisit that nightmare? Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t. Regardless, this is a wait until the end of the season deal, at worst for Nagy. I’m not defending Nagy, just being objective. Now if the Bears pull a 2012 implosion, starting 7-1 and going 3-5 down the stretch with the last remains of the mid 2000s defensive stalwarts, then yes, he’ll probably get the pink slip.
Let’s wrap this up
Personally, I spent the off season heralding the additions of Lazor and DeFillippo, who have previous OC experience and or have worked with Nagy. I really can’t tell how much input they have in his headset for at least seeing what the defense is presenting, or picking up on tendencies. Nagy shouldn’t be as overwhelmed trying to everything himself at this point, but on game day, it still appears to be that way. A great coach, will still find some way to cobble together an offense better than the sum of its parts. If the Bears talent level fired on all cylinders, they should at least top out as a middle of the pack offense. Right now, they aren’t playing to the some of their parts, and it’s driving Bears fans nuts.
My own two cents would be that if it’s the details driving Nagy nuts, maybe try and scale down that playbook from like a 9 to 7. This isn’t college, but I recall those old Oregon teams with Chip Kelly a decade ago, and the Air Raid teams every few years blow up scoreboards by meticulously running a certain package of plays with precision. He needs to take that into effect. What do we do well, and master it. Or at least master particular concepts against likely coverages, (this includes run fronts in the box for the run game), so when weekly adjustments for film arrive, slight alterations or tags just need to be made.
The best we can do as educated fans is watch game replays and cobble together what we can based on the wide and tight film. Or, just follow baseless twitter hot takes, your choice. The Bears have the Saints and the Rams. Two teams slightly better than them, if you believe power rankings mumbo jumbo. Two teams competing with them for the playoffs. It’ll be four full games of Nick Foles, and halfway through the season. We will check back then for a much more accurate barometer.