Chicago Bears: Matt Nagy must realign perception of himself

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

When the Chicago Bears drafted Justin Fields, Matt Nagy was clear – he was going to do what is best for Justin Fields and the long-term future of the franchise, not his job. His plan to sit Justin Fields for his entire rookie year already seemed farfetched given the glowing reports on Fields throughout training camp. However, with his handling of Dalton’s injury, it’s becoming clear that Matt Nagy wasn’t being completely honest this offseason when discussing the plan for Justin Fields.

Matt Nagy cares more about being right than he does about doing what’s best for the Chicago Bears. Take a look at it this way, if Matt Nagy’s plan was carried out exactly according to his wishes, and Fields comes out next year and lights it up under Nagy, Nagy then gets to walk around feeling like the savior of the Chicago Bears franchise – ‘the one who brought elite QB play to Chicago.’

I believe Matt Nagy is after credibility. I believe he, internally, takes zero responsibility for how Mitchell Trubisky’s career in Chicago steadily deteriorated on his watch and he is hellbent on proving to everyone that he is a unique offensive genius the likes of which the NFL has never seen.

This is what makes his behavior extremely unsettling to watch as not just a Bears fan but as a fan of the NFL in general. Justin Fields had a great game against Detroit, running a scheme that even Mitchell Trubisky ran successfully in 2018 and the back end of last year.

Matt Nagy’s ego is coming before what is best for the Chicago Bears franchise.

Matt Nagy wants so badly to make Fields succeed with his scheme because he doesn’t want to face the fact that even though Trubisky was not a franchise QB, Nagy could have put forth a much better offensive product to elevate his play and the overall status of the Chicago Bears among the NFC elite.

To adjust to Fields would be to admit he never adjusted to Mitch and that lays the root of Matt Nagy’s stubbornness. Justin Fields is a generational talent. Nagy said so himself, so what would it say if the prodigal son can’t get Nagy’s scheme to work.

Matt Nagy has believed his whole life that he would be the next big offensive guru – that coaches would be poached off his staff to run his scheme in other places. Similar to Kyle Shanahan and Vic Fangio (for defense) these days.

This is a guy that has his basement wallpapered in different plays and call sheets from throughout his career. Being an offensive mastermind is more than just a job description for Matt Nagy, I believe it’s his entire self-image – an image in which he’s struggling to reconcile with the results of his tenure as the Chicago Bears head coach.

Frankly, in a way, I can empathize with what he may be going through. Believing one thing about yourself your entire career, having the opportunity to show what you can do, and then having millions of people in your city and across the country tell you daily that you aren’t what you think you are. It must be exhausting for him to remain optimistic and lead a team.

However, while we can all empathize, we also have to be honest. The results haven’t measured up to the expectations for this offense when he took over. Justin Fields is the fifth quarterback he’s started in four years and we still can’t describe the identity or objectives of Nagy’s offense (i.e. How does he want to beat you?).

He’s had two athletic rookies, a journeyman backup, and two quality veteran starters under center for the Bears. Nagy may literally be out of options for finding the right “style” of QB to run what he has deemed is the best formula for success.

Right now, it’s clear that Matt Nagy ties his own worth as a head coach to his ability to run the offense. His remarks in the Sunday postgame presser echo that sentiment entirely as he felt the need to reiterate that Bill Lazor’s play calls still went through him.

His motto to “Be You” further emphasizes how much he values controlling the offense and I believe the only way he lives by that motto is to control every single detail of the offense and personnel.

It may literally be the only explanation for the change in the offense between 2018 and 2019/20, the comments about “not being brought to Chicago to run the I-form”, and his lack of flexibility with regards to Justin Fields’ development plan. This is an internal attitude that Nagy needs to modify if he wants to be a successful coach, not just in Chicago, but wherever he may go next.

Adjusting one’s goals, objectives, and outlook this late into their career would be difficult for anyone and so, I can understand why Matt Nagy’s struggling to commit to modifying his job description to be more “leader” and “manager” than offensive guru.

Unfortunately, the longer he takes to come to this realization and change his own self-perception of what his duties as a head coach should be, the more he prioritizes his own feelings over what’s best for Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears.

Next. Numbers show why Bill Lazor should remain playcaller. dark