MATT NAUGHTY | Bleacher Report
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Matt Nagy has gotten clobbered – hard.
He deserves it. After all, no coach would be safe if his team had the dubious reputation of his Chicago Bears. That, of course, doesn’t excuse what happened Friday night against a stumbling NFC North rival, as Nagy’s extended nightmare continues. This is unacceptable and right now, it’s sickening.
In 2018, no NFL team is trending south more quickly than the 2-5 Bears. It’s hard to believe now, but Chicago – fresh off the sub-.500 2017 season that was a complete disaster, and the chaos of a coaching change – was right in the middle of a budding NFC playoff chase. That’s not much of a consolation after a stunning 25-13 loss in Denver, but it was a promising start to the year and a sign of what the 2019 season could have looked like had general manager Ryan Pace not sacked John Fox and hired Nagy.
Nagy understands why fans are frustrated, but he insists he’s not looking at the score and not making his plans based on the standings. We know that’s the case, but it’s also not realistic to say everything from this point forward is determined on the score – especially considering Chicago’s roster – and especially not when every other team in the division is either winning or right behind.
Nagy thought this season could have gone the other way. He’s won eight of 11 in the preseason and against a rising AFC contender – Denver – while other teams get physically tortured while also losing the bouts of inspiration. Maybe he does get those kinds of weeks. Maybe he starts winning games in the AFC and goes from there. It’s hard to think that way at this point, though.
Or maybe, just maybe, there is something more to this debacle than a lack of effort. This has become such a machine to keep from clicking that it’s on Nagy to change some of the dynamic off the field, and the positive vibes that spread through town after the hiring of the 39-year-old offensive guru. Fans are thrilled with the blitz of new faces, but they need them to feel this way on the field. Nagy has a touch of charisma and a young, energetic presence that made him an appealing hire, but there’s nothing appealing about a football team that is constantly mired in season-long challenges.
Such a lack of urgency only feeds into the bad habit of challenging progress, problem solving and maturity instead of questioning it. That’s the trap the head coach is on right now, and it could ultimately end his tenure. I hope not. I loved everything about Nagy’s first year as an NFL head coach.
Until it ended.