Despite a 4-1 start, the Chicago Bears offense is still struggling with Matt Nagy at the helm. Some fear that he’s losing control of the locker room. The players’ reaction to his recent rant shows something different.
The Chicago Bears have a 4-1 record and just beat a hot Tom Brady and the tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. Fans should be happy and the national media should admit they might be wrong about this team, right? Well, that would still be wrong. The team had to change starting quarterbacks, they’ve had some games in which fans’ hearts were about to explode, and the national media now says they are one of the worst 4-1 teams in NFL history (boy, they do hate the Bears, don’t they?).
To be fair, there is reason to still have some trepidation over this team. It mostly concerns the offense. After five games, the unit finds itself near the bottom of most categories, the same way it was last season. In fact, the rankings have dropped since being in the middle of the pack in the first three weeks.
Isn’t Nagy an offensive guru?
Why is that still the case? Head coach Matt Nagy came to Chicago with the reputation of being a quarterback whisperer and an offensive guru. The franchise needed a coach like him after three seasons under John Fox yielded just 14 wins.
Nagy is in his third season, however, and things haven’t changed offensively. In 2017, the season before Nagy took over, the Bears offense ranked 29th in points scored and 30th in yards. When Nagy took over In 2018, they ranked 9th in points and 21st in yards. In 2019 it went down to 29th in both points and yards. So far this season, they rank 27th in both points and yards.
What happened? The Bears scored so many points in 2018, why couldn’t they keep doing that? Well, many of those points came from the defense. The defense scored an incredible six touchdowns that season. With the extra points afterward, that’s 42 extra points to the offense. They scored 421 points. If you take away those six defensive touchdowns, the Bears would rank 14th.
To make things worse, starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky hasn’t improved with Nagy’s direction. He continued to make the same mistakes over and over again. The Bears decided to bring in an experienced quarterback in Nick Foles, someone they thought could push the young quarterback and make him better. That did not happen, and now Foles is the starter.
Is Nagy losing the locker room?
With all the trouble going on offensively, and with those troubles essentially wasting the efforts of an elite defense, Nagy must be feeling the heat, and the players must be starting to doubt him, right? Again, that thinking would still be wrong.
It’s just — it’s everything right now. ‘You need to do everything exactly the way it is supposed to be done. . . . I refuse to allow this to happen. Us as coaches [need to be] the greatest teachers we can be, and then as players, you better be the best students you can be. And if you’re not, we’re going to have to figure something out… [D]arn it, when you play in this offense, you better be freakin’ detailed. And we’re not a detailed football team on offense right now. We need to get that back.
Not exactly a Ditka-like rant, but that’s as heated Nagy has been since he came to Chicago. Does that rant mean he’s feeling some pressure and that he feels he may be losing some of his players? Well…
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Instead of getting annoyed by his rant, the players agree with Nagy’s sentiment. A few of them spoke publicly about it and supported the coach. This is what star wide receiver Allen Robinson, who is in a battle with the franchise for a new contract, said about the rant:
I think everybody should be fired up about that. That’s what also makes the players that we have in this locker room special, is we don’t have any complacency. None of our quarterbacks are complacent.
He’s completely right. I’ve seen what he’s said and it’s completely right. If we don’t embrace what he said, if we don’t take that as a great challenge and something we should wear every day, then we’re wrong. We have to be better. We have to be more detailed.
All this talk about Nagy losing the locker room is just that…talk. He still has the players’ support, despite the struggles. Nagy and the Bears had ten days to prepare for a Carolina team with a defense that isn’t as stout as Chicago faced in Week 4 against the Indianapolis Colts and Week 5 against the Bucs, both top-ten defenses. Hopefully, he finds that the players are more detailed-oriented and they execute much better this week. At any rate, it’s nice to see a fired-up Matt Nagy.