A lot went wrong with the Chicago Bears’ 2019 season. Could it be, in part, because their coach got too comfortable?
There was a lot that went wrong in 2019 for the Chicago Bears. In fact, everything that seemed to break their way in 2018 amid their magical 12-4 season, seemed to go against them last season. Since the final whistle, Bears fans have spent the entire offseason pointing fingers and assigning blame.
So far, their victims have been the regression fo Mitchell Trubisky, poor offensive line play, and even Matt Nagy’s playcalling. However, after a recent article from Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback, those looking for another finger to point might have another option.
In the piece, Breer documents the dynamic of the Bears’ new quarterback room and how things are taking shape in an environment dominated by COVID-19, forcing teams to work entirely remotely.
Throughout the piece, there are interesting nuggets, including Nick Foles‘ declaration to Nagy that he’s “coming here to win the job” or even Nagy’s perplexion at how his bag of tricks, which worked in 2018 fell so short of the mark in 2019.
Yet, it was the tail-end of the piece that caught my attention. Specifically, Nagy’s reaffirmation to focusing on the “details” as captured in the excerpt below:
"So just as he asked his coaches, and his players to be on the details that slipped last year, he’s putting just as much pressure on himself to be all over those—whether it’s staying on the details of what’s happening in the offensive meeting rooms, so he can be a better play-caller, or setting the standard for everyone as the head coach.That can be in a meeting, if we say guys can’t have phones in a meeting, it means they don’t have phones in a meeting,” Nagy said. “It doesn’t mean in Week 8 they start bringing them in. It means they never have them in the meeting. If they show up 9:00 or 9:01, they’re walking in as I’m walking in—no, get there early. It’s just a lot of different things. For me, that’s what I’m going to focus on. Now, for me to do that, I have to have really, really great support from the rest of our coaches, and have that trickle down to players."
Perhaps Nagy was speaking hypothetically as he cited those very specific examples, but it sounds more like an admission that he might have been too relaxed with the players. After parting ways with the disciplinarian style of John Fox, the team opted for a younger perspective in coach Nagy. He quickly worked to improve the morale in the locker room, introducing “Club Dub” and allowing the players to have more fun playing the game they love.
It worked in 2018 but is it possible the team got too complacent in 2019 and let slip their attention to detail? Did Nagy not tighten the reins when he saw it transpiring? It’s at least a possibility given Nagy’s comments and renewed focus on details this season. I’d look for a reinvigorated Nagy and a whole lot more accountability.