One of the tougher, often-overlooked challenges for a head coach is getting his team ready after a quick turnaround … which is precisely what Matt Nagy is getting a taste of as he prepares the Chicago Bears for their fifth (and final!) preseason game on Thursday against the Buffalo Bills.
Nagy weighed in on various topics while meeting with the media ahead of Thursday’s exhibition contest. Here are some highlights, as well as some additional commentary.
No Changes for Roquan Smith, Which Suggests He Might Not Play on Thursday
Nothing new regarding the Bears’ 2018 first-round pick, as Nagy said the team will continue to monitor the situation. Nagy left open the possibility that Smith would play if they felt he was in a good spot to get some game reps, but it’s a day-to-day thing that needs more time before a decision is ultimately made. But still … this doesn’t seem encouraging from a short-term perspective.
“I would love to get him out there, I just don’t know if that’s where we’re going to be.”
Nagy added that if Smith can’t play against the Bills, it wouldn’t necessarily affect the rookie’s potential availability against the Packers for the regular season opener against the Packers. So what’s the next hurdle to clear for Smith?
“He’s at a point where it’s more the conditioning part of it, because mentally I feel like he’s in a good spot. It’s more of the can he blast through a game or what’s his reps if he does play in that game. That we really don’t know, and then you’re just at a point where do you want to take the risk of overdoing it and then you compound something. Do you want to do that or not? That’s kind of where we’re at with that right now.
An Adam Shaheen Update is Coming … “In a Few Days”
There hasn’t been many updates regarding Shaheen’s health after suffering a foot injury against the Denver Broncos during Preseason Week 2. Nagy said there was no update as of Monday, but one was expected to come in a few days. The Bears’ head coach seemed to rule out a stint on injured reserve, but needed more information before the team went in a firm direction.
“There’s different things that could happen with him, but again, we’re waiting for the results to come back from these other opinions and then we’ll have a much clearer picture with that. Once we know where that’s at, then we’ll be able to figure out the choices that we have for him.”
Feeling Good About Leonard Floyd
On the other end of the feelings spectrum, there are positive vibes about Floyd’s return to the lineup. The general consensus is that the Bears’ top pass rusher will play in Week 1 against Green Bay, even though he’ll be limited because of a fracture in his right hand. And while Floyd won’t be at 100 percent, it’s safe to say he’ll still probably be the Bears pass-rusher with the potential to greatly impact a game.
“I feel good that he’ll play. He’ll have that club on him, but he’ll be able to play. We’ve gone back and looked and seen there’s been some good players that have played with clubs. Now, it prevents you a little bit from grabbing, but we feel confident he’ll be able to play.”
Preseason Week 4 is a Balancing Act
So you want to be an NFL head coach, eh? Here is a locker room with 90 players of varying backgrounds who have different goals, objectives, and personalities, a set of new playbooks, waves of unforeseen injuries, and more than you probably would have ever thought you’d be bargaining for upon arrival. Oh, and then there’s Preseason Week 4 where you happen to be balancing preparation for a game on a short week while also getting guys up to speed for Week 1 of the regular season. Fun times.
Nagy seems to be taking it all in stride and doesn’t seem overwhelmed by the moment. That’s good. Maybe Andy Reid was onto something when he said he was the assistant who worked for him who was most prepared to become a head coach.
“This is one of those weeks where you’re always doing a little bit of a juggling act with two teams. You start getting into Buffalo and then obviously this is a time where most teams usually start prepping for Week 1, which we did today as well with some of our guys. It’s never really that fun because you’re juggling two teams, but at the same time, when you have good coaches and good players that understand that, it makes it a lot easier.”
You can check out the rest of the press conference below: