George McCaskey and President and CEO, Ted Phillips announced that Pace and Nagy would not be fired. George praised both for overcoming a six-game losing streak to somehow make the playoffs.
"“They are both, like Ted, outstanding leaders. I’ve been most impressed with how well they collaborate. I was impressed with both of them this past season, especially during the six-game losing streak.”"
Collaboration was the buzzword during the press conference.
Phillips acknowledged the team did not win enough games or get Trubisky developed.
"“Have we gotten the quarterback situation completely right? No. Have we won enough games? No. But everything else is there.”"
That “everything else is there” allowed Nagy to continue to be the head coach.
Andy Dalton is QB1
The Bears decided to move on from Trubisky and let him walk via free agency. Pace moved heaven and earth to acquire Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson only to be turned down. There was talk of trading for Carson Wentz but the Indianapolis Colts pulled off the trade.
Not wanting to go with Nick Foles as the starter after his 2-5 record in 2020, the Chicago Bears gave Andy Dalton a one-year, $10 million contract to be…
On draft day, Justin Fields fell from being a possible top-3 pick. He was there at No. 11 and Pace traded up to get him.
Nagy maintained Dalton would be QB1 and Fields would sit and learn much like Mahomes did when Nagy tutored him in 2017. The problem with that plan was the Chiefs still Alex Smith playing at a high level in 2017. Dalton struggled in 2020 as a backup for the Dallas Cowboys.
Fields flashed a ton of potential in the preseason. Still, Nagy refused to have an open competition for the starting quarterback job.
Nagy wanted Dalton to start and run his offense because Nagy took play-calling duties back. He planned to bring Fields along slowly and have him come into games for a few snaps to take advantage of his play making ability. Otherwise, Dalton was QB1 until he got hurt in the second game against the Bengals.
Fields became the starter but it was clear not getting enough reps with the starters in training camp put his development a little bit behind of where he should be.
Nagy wanted to go back to Dalton as the starter once Dalton healed. It was reported that McCaskey ordered Nagy to start Fields the rest of the season.
Although Nagy has denied the report.
It has looked like there are two different playbooks for when Dalton plays–screens, extra blocking, and other plays to Dalton’s strengths–and when Fields plays–not a lot of calls to Fields’ strengths.
Comes Crashing Down in Cleveland and Bottoms Out Against Baltimore
Fields made his first start against the Cleveland Browns and it was brutal. Nagy asked his rookie quarterback to throw into tight windows with five-man protection against top notch pass rushers in Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. No extra blockers, no chipping two of the best pass rushers in the game, Nagy just gave five linemen to protect Fields.
The results were about as bad as you can think as Fields was sacked nine times–Garrett and Clowney combined for 6.5 of those. Fields completed just six of 20 passes for 68 yards in a 26-6 drubbing.
There was genuine concern for Fields’ safety under Nagy’s stewardship. It felt like Nagy was giving his quarterback a “Welcome to the NFL kid” moment. After the loss, Nagy handed play-calling back to Lazor and Fields began to play better.
Nagy made clear though he had the final say on all play calls.
Then, everything bottomed out as the Bears went on a five-game losing streak with the final loss happening in the most excruciating way imaginable. The Bears lost at Soldier Field to the Ravens 16-13.
It was a bad loss not just because Fields got knocked out of the game with a rib injury but because Nagy coached probably his worst game.
He had to waste a timeout to make a simple choice on whether to go for two after Dalton found a wide-open Marquis Goodwin for a go-ahead touchdown. Nagy chewed out the person charged with making sure headsets work after Nagy’s went out. There was just some questionable play call decisions that looked like it had Nagy’s fingerprints all over them.
The fifth straight loss is when the “Fire Nagy” chants began. At least for now, Nagy will not be fired but it seems like a matter of time before he is relieved of his duties.