Travis Kelce is an All-Pro performer, who’s made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons, averaging 80 catches, 1,013 receiving yards, and six touchdowns during that stretch. In other words, Kelce knows what big-time offensive production looks like.
Kelce also knows what the Chicago Bears’ new head coach is all about, having played under Matt Nagy the last two years in Kansas City when he was the team’s offensive coordinator. He is also quite familiar with Doug Pederson, who served in that role before leaving to coach the Philadelphia Eagles.
So if anyone is in a position to make a comparison between the two, it’s probably Kelce, who holds the Bears’ new head coach in high regard: “I think Matt’s a hell of a coach,” Kelce said to Larry Mayer of the Chicago Bears’ official website. “I think he could be Doug Pederson 2.0, to be honest, especially with the quarterback.”
The hope is that Nagy can do for Mitch Trubisky what Pederson did for Carson Wentz and Nick Foles. If you’ll recall, Nagy took over play calling duties for the final five games of the regular season and revived a slumbering offense to end the year averaging more than 28 points per game. Quarterback Alex Smith produced a league-best 104.7 passer rating in 2017, which featured a 105.3 rating and 7-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in the four games he started when Nagy was calling plays. Kelce was a major player in Smith’s success, catching 21 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns in those games.
And if you squint, you can see some similarities between the Bears and Eagles. Both feature an up-and-coming quarterback, reliable running game, and a defense led by a respected coordinator. But for the Bears to make an Eagles-like leap into contention, they’ll need to follow the rest of the blueprint closely.
For example, Philadelphia prioritized signing free agent wide receivers to aid in Wentz’s development last offseason. Adding Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith certainly helped the Eagles’ passing offense, as their presence on the outside opened up things in the middle of the field for their tight ends and underneath for Nelson Agholor.
Hiring the right coach is the first step in getting the Bears moving in the right direction. And as the compliments continue to come in from the outside, it’s getting easier to feel excited about the future – even with all the uncertainty that lies ahead with regards to roster construction.