Mitch Trubisky was benched for a lot of reasons but primary among them was his inability to run Matt Nagy’s offense. He was unable to to read defenses, change protections, get into the right play.
Nick Foles can run Nagy’s offense. The problem is, as we’re now learning, Nagy’s offense doesn’t make any sense.
I like to think I’m pretty forthright with my readers around here. I don’t spend hours upon hours dissecting All-22 tape because I legitimately can’t think of anything more boring. I do, however, watch the Sunday Ticket “Short Cuts” presentation of every single game played in the NFL. These are quick, easily-digestible presentations that help cut through national media misrepresentations of players, teams…etc.
When I went through the Rams season, one thing was abundantly clear. There was 0.00% chance the Bears would have any success running into the middle of their defensive line. If the Bears were going to have success on offense they would need to spread the Rams out, get the ball to their speedsters in space, screen them to death. This isn’t necessarily the approach EVERY team should take with the Rams, but it was certainly the approach the Bears would need to take.
And they didn’t. They did…nothing. They attempted a bizarre, incoherent game plan. They ran directly at the best defensive player in the sport and then acted shocked, SHOCKED, when that approach failed.
What would Andy Reid be doing with Darnell Mooney? You can bet your life he’d be finding creative ways to get him the ball in space 3-5 times a game.
Why have the running backs been exiled from the passing game since Tarik Cohen’s injury?
Why is Cole Kmet – who does nothing but make plays when he’s allowed – struggling to usurp a useless Demetrius Harris on the depth chart?
Why does Jimmy Graham get pulled off the field in the red zone? This is now back-to-back weeks where Nagy is removing the team’s most intimidating red zone threat where they need him most!
The Bears are built defense first.
They are not built defense only.
They don’t need their offense to be top ten in the sport but they do need the unit to be serviceable. They need to be a middle of the pack, 24-26 point a game offense. And they have plenty of talent to achieve that. But since they were always going to be limited at quarterback in 2020, the team could not afford for their coaching staff to so dramatically mismanage the talent they do have, both in personnel usage and scheme. The Bears needed their extensive (and expensive) offensive coaching staff to max out the players on that side of the ball. Right now they’re doing the opposite.
Where Do We Go From Here?
A change has to come.
Andy Reid is one of the best head coaches in the history of the NFL. He relishes the role of play caller. And at least four times in his career, when his offense was at a crossroads, he’s given up that responsibility. To Brad Childress and Marty Mornhinweg in Philly. To Doug Pederson and Nagy in Kansas City. Reid bit tongue, swallowed his pride, and did what was best for his club. That’s what the great head coaches do. They know they’re responsible for every guy in that locker room, not just the ones on their specialty side of the ball.
It is time for Chicago’s head coach to bench Chicago’s play caller. It is the right thing to do for this team. The whole of the team. Giving Bill Lazor the call up in the booth may have no tangible impact but doesn’t Nagy owe it to this entire roster, to this defense, to give it a try? Doesn’t Nagy, the head coach, have to do everything possible to try and spark this beleaguered unit? The Bears can still have a big season. But scoring three points a game isn’t going to get them into January.
Nagy is 25-14 in the regular as this team’s head coach. That’s a terrific start to a promising career. But that career is at an inflection point.
There’s a great line in Aaron Sorkin’s script for The American President. Michael J. Fox’s presidential advisor is getting frustrated with Michael Douglas’ President Andrew Shepherd for not mixing it up with his Republican challenger, Bob Rumson. He tells him, “You have a deeper love of this country than any man I’ve ever known. And I want to know what it says to you that in the past seven weeks, 59% of American have begun to question your patriotism.”
Matt Nagy is one of the most successful head coaches in the history of the Chicago Bears. And yet across social media there’s an overwhelming amount of vitriol being aimed his way. Nagy doesn’t need to do anything because fans want him to do it. (Most fans have no idea what’s going on.) But he should acknowledge the rising tide. He should make this difficult, humbling decision. He should show that Matt Nagy cares more about the Chicago Bears than Matt Nagy’s reputation.
He can do that today.