Matt Nagy Has Been Spreading the Good Word About the Bears All Over the NFL Combine

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Matt Nagy Has Been Spreading the Good Word About the Bears All Over the NFL Combine

Chicago Bears

One of the most refreshing things about the coaching change from John Fox to Matt Nagy is that where Fox played everything close to the vest on the football front – as if he were protecting nuclear launch codes, or something – Nagy seemed far more willing to engage in football-related discussions. Surely, winning helps the situation. But there is no denying that Nagy was a chatterbox compared to the tight-lipped Fox.

And indeed, it seems Nagy was an open book at the Combine, as well, holding a press conference that touched on a wide range of topics, then speaking on the record with Pro Football Talk, Good Morning Football, NFL Network’s Path to the Draft, and the Chicago Tribune’s Bear Download podcast. I’ve highlighted some of the most interesting nuggets along with some of my own additional commentary below. Enjoy!

Nagy Admits He Was Rougher on Trubisky in Private Than He Was Publicly

When speaking in media settings, Nagy always put a positive spin on whatever Mitch Trubisky was doing. Whether it was after a good game or a bad one, the Bears’ head coach seemed to take the more optimistic outlook whenever the situation presented itself. But within the confines of Halas Hall, Nagy admitted he took a different approach.

“It wasn’t fair to him because was too hard on him. In meetings. Or in practice. Or in the games,” Nagy said during his appearance on the Tribune’s Bear Download podcast. “What I have to do is make sure that (I remember) I’m not talking to a 13-year veteran quarterback who has been in this offense for five years.”

Even though Trubisky might have received an Alex Smith comp from some draft pundits coming out of North Carolina, Nagy made it clear that Trubisky sure as heck wasn’t at Smith’s level of understanding Nagy’s offense. Nagy was right to be hard on Trubisky in his first year as his coach as he pushed the limits to see how much his developing quarterback could handle. Moving forward, the Bears can really start cooking with fire now that Nagy knows what Trubisky can and can’t handle in the offense.

The Other Big Challenge Is Avoiding Complacency

The only thing as important as getting Trubisky in gear is making sure that the roster – from top to bottom – doesn’t get too comfortable at the top. Chicago won 12 games and boasted one of the league’s best point differentials. And yet, none of that will matter in 2019 because a new year brings a clean slate. Nagy knows it’s his responsibility to keep pushing in 2019 in the same way they did in 2018.

“I look forward to that,” Nagy said during his press conference (which you can watch below at the end of this post). “I think one of the fun parts in my position is being able to be creative and find ways of how you do it. You’ve got to be motivational, but yet, you can’t be monotonous with it. Now they know me and I know them, for the most part, so they’re going to understand it.”

One thing working in Nagy’s favor in this regard is how many players are expected to be back in 2019. The only starters coming out of contract are safety Adrian Amos, cornerback Bryce Callahan, and punter Pat O’Donnell. Otherwise, it’s the same group that helped lift the Bears out of the NFC North basement and into a Super Bowl contender. That should make it easy to continue to spread the same message.

The Bears Are Hungry

One way to avoid complacency becoming an issue is to keep the eyes on the prize. The Bears believed they were on the cusp of a special season until Cody Parkey’s kick double-doinked and ended the season. In the wake of defeat, Nagy had to deliver a message that rallied the troops and it seems to have resonated with his returning players. Nagy shared that message with Peter Schrager of Good Morning Football.

“When we got into the locker room after the Eagles game, one of my messages to the team was that in the end, there’s only one team that’s going to be truly happy with what they did this year. And then having the exit interviews with the players and seeing how excited they were before they took off for the offseason to get back at it, and how hungry they were, and how much they believed in what we were putting together.”

Nagy Takes Responsibility In The Wake Of Disappointment and Postseason Defeat

Sometimes in life, you make mistakes and you just have to wear it. Sure, it will sting for a bit, but it will make you stronger in the end. Nagy did his share of that when discussing the two most disappointing aspects of the 2018 season. First, regarding the inconsistent running game that figures to be a focal point of the offseason.

“You guys know from talking all year that was a point of emphasis we wanted to improve as the season went on,” Nagy said during his press briefing. “That’s not just the players. That’s us as coaches, too, trying to figure it out. As the year went on, we had a little bit more of an identity of what we liked and what we didn’t like. We still need to get better there, but there are other areas that we need to improve, and I start with myself in regards to that with the run game and all different areas.”

Nagy also shared that sentiment when discussing the season-ending defeat that came after the playoff loss, using the discussion of Parkey’s as one last springboard to offer up a mea culpa.

“That’s not the only reason why we lost that game,” Nagy told PFT Live. “I could have coached better, we could have played better in other areas.”

Perhaps Nagy being his own harshest critic will vault the Bears to bigger and better things moving forward.

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.