A teacher once told me to shoot for the moon because if I missed, I would still land among the stars (Michael: Little did she know that the nearest star is over 4 light years away, so you should probably, you know … bring a snack).
I wonder if Matt Nagy and I had the same teacher at some point:
Nagy on expectations: “I want them to know that we want to win now.” #Bears
— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) April 17, 2018
The Chicago Bears’ new head coach came across as open, honest, and energetic. I know it’s just one minicamp press conference, but it sure was refreshing to get clear and concise answers to relevant questions.
Let’s dive into some highlights:
- One quote has really stuck with me, and it makes sense with where the Bears are at this point in the Ryan Pace/Matt Nagy Era: “This isn’t something we want to just spray paint on and cover up for a little bit. We’re building this thing, so let’s understand that and the work that’s involved.”
- After Jordan Howard opened up about about the trade rumors that he was involved in during the offseason, Nagy shared his vision for Howard, who was confirmed by the head coach as the team’s feature back, as well as the rest of the group. “That’s the beauty right now of where we’re at. We’re very strong at that position. … You’re seeing all these teams that are out there right now, they’re going with multiple backs. … We’re crazy if we use just one back. That’s not going to happen. We’re going to use multiple backs.”
- Naturally, Nagy likes what he has in a group that finished the 2017 season averaging 4.2 yards per carry – the 11th highest per-rush average in the NFL. Because we’ve often connected Nagy and the Eagles, it’s worth sharing that Philadelphia’s 2,115 rushing yards were the third most in football and the 4.5 yards per carry represented the fourth highest average. Though, we shouldn’t overlook what he did with the Chiefs, whose 4.7 yards per carry was a league-best number, while the team’s 1,903 rushing yards ranked in the top 10 despite the tea’s 405 attempts checking in as the 10th fewest.
- Howard was the subject of trade rumors, in part, because some questioned his fit in Nagy’s offense. There’s no way to sugarcoat Howard’s issues as a pass-catcher, but Nagy was pretty strong in his commitment to Howard and where he fits in the scheme. “Every running back has their own strengths and weaknesses. Jordan has his own way of running. Anything he does that’s a weakness, we’re going to try to focus on that and try to get it better. Just because he struggles in one area, in whatever that is, we’re going to get him better. To sit here and say he doesn’t fit this offense isn’t very fair.”
- With his running back situation settled at the moment, we can all turn our attention to what’s going on with Nagy and quarterback Mitch Trubisky. One of the keys to life is making a good impression, and it sounds like Trubisky has done just that. Nagy gushed about Trubisky’s first day, saying he was “amazed” with his progress. “He was impressive. I don’t want to put too much on him. But at the same time, he needs to understand that was pretty good what just happened. Mitch is a very smart kid. He’s intelligent, very driven, motivated. A lot of the things we talk about as a team, he has. For him to be our quarterback and to have those traits, it’s hard not to smile.”
- It’s just one day of minicamp, but it sounds like Nagy runs a tight ship that borders on obsessive-compulsive. Nagy referenced note cards he has made for the sake of accountability. “If the guy next to you isn’t detailed and he fails, then he’s failing with his side of accountability. That’s not just the players. Let’s remember that the coaches, too, and it’s going to start with me.”
- Optimism and accountability … how refreshing!
- Nagy also offered up some thoughts on his wide receiver situation, which he seemed to admit still needed help. Nagy addressed the Cameron Meredith situation in a pretty straight-forward manner. “Those are the tough decisions in this business that have to go one way or the other. We sat down with him and explained that, ‘Hey man, things happen for a reason. For us this is the direction we’re going to go. For you, you have good opportunity with another great team. Take this and use it as a positive. There are no hard feelings in any of this.'”
- While Nagy wasn’t willing to dive deep into why the Bears came to their ultimate decision, it was evident with how it was discussed that the team was wary regarding the progress, health, and recovery of Meredith’s knee. He also made a point to reference there were multiple reasons, but refused to go too far down the road.
- Nagy shared some early praise for Kevin White, the other receiver coming off a season-ending injury who is still on the roster:
Coach Nagy says Kevin White looked "sharp" today: "He played fast."
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 17, 2018
- There was one notable absence on Tuesday, with linebacker Danny Trevathan missing out due to “personal reasons.” It doesn’t sound like there’s anything bubbling under the radar that should be of concern, with Nagy saying: “Nothing on our end that we’re concerned about.” Here’s hoping all is going well in Trevathan’s world.
- You can watch the entirety of his first minicamp press conference in the video embedded below: