Bears' Matt Nagy Says He Won't Relinquish Play-Calling Duties After Loss to Rams

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2019

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy in an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

The 4-6 Chicago Bears are on the short list of the most disappointing teams in the NFL and 28th in the league in points per game, but head coach Matt Nagy told reporters he isn't relinquishing play-calling duties following Sunday's ugly 17-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

"What I would say is this. I’ll be the first to tell you, then we need to be better or if there’s a rhythm to something.

I have zero ego and I have zero care of giving play-call duties to somebody else. I really do not care about that, and if that’s what we feel like from going through it that that’s what we need to do, then I would do that, I really would.

But when you go through the tape and you look at things and you know schematically where we’re at and what we’re calling and when we’re calling it…. There’s without a doubt a few plays in that game that I would go back and say, ‘You know what, that’s our fault. We didn’t scheme it right,’ and that starts with me. And I need to be able to accept that and know how do I fix that. But we’ll do everything we can … we’re turning over every stone to get this thing right."

Any discussion about Nagy's play-calling and coaching ability has to acknowledge that he is saddled with an underperforming quarterback who the team traded up to draft No. 2 overall in 2017 before the head coach even arrived.

Mitchell Trubisky has regressed from a Pro Bowler last season to one who has four full games with fewer than 200 passing yards and zero with more than 300 passing yards all season. His inability to consistently hit receivers downfield hamstrings the entire offense and surely impacts the play-calling. 

Trubisky was a running threat last year as the Bears won the NFC North and finished 12-4, but Chicago has not made a point of utilizing his legs. He has just 58 rushing yards all season, as the quarterback run has seemingly disappeared from the offense.

What's more, Chicago's kicking problem—Eddy Pineiro missed two field goals against the Rams and is three for his last seven—dates back to the way Nagy handled the position race this offseason.

Kalyn Kahler of Sports Illustrated detailed an offseason kicking competition that featured unusual techniques such as "Augusta silence," favoritism being shown to those who previously worked with kicker consultant Jamie Kohl and Nagy harping on 43-yard attempts after Cody Parkey missed a potential game-winner from that distance in last season's playoffs.

Nagy also made headlines earlier this season when he told reporters: "I know we need to run the ball more. I'm not an idiot." 

The comments came after rookie running back David Montgomery, who was the subject of plenty of optimism in Chicago heading into the season, had just two carries in an October loss to the New Orleans Saints. That he ran for 135 yards and a touchdown the next game only had Bears fans wondering where the commitment to the run was earlier in the season.

The bottom line is Nagy was brought in as an offensive coach from the Kansas City Chiefs, and that side of the ball is the primary problem in his second season. The Bears have reached 300 total yards in just one of 10 games and don't appear ready to turn things around in the near future.

Nagy is still holding onto the play-calling duties, though.

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