Matt Nagy’s decision to sit on the ball late Sunday, instead of trying to line up for a more manageable field goal, was further confirmation of what we already know: he needs a new quarterback. While Twitter experts go back-and-forth on who is to blame, the simple truth is that Nagy doesn’t trust Mitch Trubisky. As long as that’s the case, the Bears can’t win.
It wasn’t always the case.
In a similar situation in the playoff loss last year, the head coach let Trubisky throw deep. Had Trubisky thrown accurately there would have been no such thing as “the double doink”. Somewhere along the way (Week One, perhaps?) Trubisky lost his coach’s faith. And he isn’t doing anything to get it back. Week-by-week, the quarterback misses reads, misses throws and loses.
At this point, arguing for Trubisky is admitting bias. Even when the quarterback does good things, he also makes big mistakes and Sunday was a classic example. It could’ve been one of the best games of the young quarterback’s career. He made throws down the field. He thread the needle in a tight spot. For the first time all season, he made a play with his legs.
But he still lost the game.
He threw a horrendous, demoralizing interception.
He missed a wide open touchdown.
He then fumbled to set up the game-winning drive.
How could anybody ask Nagy to call a play in which the quarterback could lose the game when he was looking at an easy field goal? When it came down to trusting his young kicker or his young quarterback, Nagy chose the kicker.
Turns out there was no right choice.
Nagy’s lack of trust in the quarterback can be found on every play. He’s reverted to a simplified version of a complicated offense, wherein he can’t consistently call plays down the field because he can’t trust the quarterback to make the right read or an accurate throw. The offense ends up with a bunch of dig routes because that’s the only route the quarterback consistently reads and throws well.
Who, exactly, Nagy would trust is an interesting conversation. The easy answer is Nick Foles, a Super Bowl-winning veteran who knows the coach and the offense. There is also the possibility that Alex Smith is able to return to the league and play after a devastating leg injury. But he’ll be 36 and has never been an ideal starter, anyway. This is a good off-season to find a veteran quarterback, with Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston and Derek Carr all possibly becoming available. (And it’s considered a quarterback-rich draft, whatever that means.)
Nagy almost always talks about the “why part” when it comes to evaluating what has gone wrong. When it comes to the lack of production with the quarterback, the why part is obvious. It’s time to start thinking about who will fix it.
Go down the line of bright young offensive minds and you’ll see one constant: their offenses suck when they don’t have capable quarterbacks. Until Nagy gets a quarterback we won’t have any idea how good he can be.