For the third time since 2013, the Chicago Bears are looking for a head coach. The ideal candidate is someone who can stabilize the position, hire a top-notch coaching staff, keep the defense performing at a high level, bring the offense up to speed, and ultimately, win a Super Bowl. It’s a lot to ask, but someone could be up to the task.
With those characteristics in mind, we’re going to take a look at each of the candidates the Bears plan on interviewing leading up to the announcement of a new head coach.
Name, Current Team, Position
Matt Nagy, Kansas City Chiefs, Offensive Coordinator
NFL Coaching Experience
- 2008-09 Philadelphia Eagles (Coaching Intern)
- 2010 Philadelphia Eagles (Coaches Assistant)
- 2011-12 Philadelphia Eagles (Offensive Quality Control)
- 2013-16 Kansas City Chiefs (Quarterbacks)
- 2017 Kansas City Chiefs (Offensive Coordinator)
- 2008-17 Andy Reid
Starting Quarterbacks Coached as QBs Coach/Offensive Coordinator
Alex Smith (2013-17), Chase Daniel (2013-14), Nick Foles (2016), Patrick Mahomes (2017)
Hey, It Might Work…
Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star has an inside look at Nagy’s first week as a play caller, which is a must-read before fully diving into his candidacy. It all started in Week 13 when Andy Reid trusted Nagy enough to give him play calling duties for the last five games of the regular season. The Chiefs responded by going 4-1 and averaging more than 28 points per game. Alex Smith posted a 105.3 passer rating, averaged 292 passing yards per game, threw seven touchdowns, and tossed just one interception. It was a good time to look good as far as Nagy’s future is concerned. Overall, Kansas City’s offense was a balanced attack that featured 1,300-yard rookie rusher Kareem Hunt, a vertical threat in speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill, and monster tight end Travis Kelce as an all-around stud who was a beast in the red zone.
Even though he has just 10 years coaching experience in the NFL, Nagy has primarily worked with quarterbacks. Seeing Smith evolve into someone who can stretch the field vertically under Nagy’s watchful eye is something that works in his favor.
OK, Maybe He’s Not The One…
Nagy’s lack of game calling experience won’t work in his favor and you could probably make a good argument that it showed on Saturday night.
Let’s address the elephant in the room by inquiring about the second-half play calling in Saturday’s Wild Card loss to the Tennessee Titans. In a game where the Chiefs led 21-3, Kareem Hunt – the NFL’s leading rusher – carried the ball just 11 times. What? How? Why? I realize the Titans entered the postseason riding one of the league’s best run defenses, but that’s not an excuse to abandon the run.
Nagy is young and has only been exposed to one NFL head coach, so I’m curious to how he would put together a coaching staff that would get the most out of the 53-man roster at his disposal.
In The End …
The Bears don’t have a Hill, but a running back like Tarik Cohen could be better utilized in the passing game by a different offensive mind. They don’t have a Kelce either, but you could dream on Adam Shaheen turning into a major red zone target for Mitch Trubisky. But at least Chicago has a Pro Bowl running back in its stable. If you believe in the five-week sample Nagy put on tape (plus the first half of Saturday’s game when Kelce was healthy) then there’s a case to be made for Nagy to be the guy who helps Trubisky take the next step.
It’s interesting that Nagy is the same age as fellow coaching candidate John DeFilippo, but has eight fewer years of coaching experience. Granted, Nagy was playing professionally in the Arena League, so there could be some value in a guy who could relate to today’s players. Saturday’s game may have hurt his stock in our eyes, but a valid explanation for the play calling decisions and a better idea of how he’d build his staff could help boost his stock again.