All talk, no action.
Those four words describe Matt Nagy in relation to the running game. Because even though he has said all the right things about getting the ground game going, his actions speak to the contrary. And during his Monday press conference, Nagy went to great lengths to ensure to anyone listing he knew there was a problem.
Matt Nagy is addressing the media right now.
“I know we need to run the ball more. I’m not an idiot.”
— Siera Santos (@SieraSantos) October 21, 2019
OK, I won’t go as far as to call the coach an idiot. That would be mean-spirited and isn’t what I am about as a person or a writer. HOWEVER, Nagy does need to practice what he preaches. Otherwise, people are going to call him worse than an “idiot” if this trend continues.
In what was a one-possession game throughout the first half, the Chicago Bears ran the ball just twice against the Saints. There was a period in the second quarter in which Mitch Trubisky dropped back to pass 13 straight times as part of a stretch in which he dropped back in 17 of 18 snaps. And what’s troublesome is that this isn’t even the first time that’s happened. Remember Week 1 when running backs were given just 11 carries and Trubisky dropped back to pass 53 times? Nagy might not go into a game wanting to throw it 50+ times. But if that is the case, he has a weird way of showing it.
What makes Nagy’s play-calling decisions so befuddling is that the Bears made significant investments at the position.
They traded up to select David Montgomery in the 2019 NFL Draft, but have yet to allow him to establish himself or the running game. Montgomery has played on just 52.7 percent of the offense’s total snaps. I imagine it is hard to run the ball when your top rushing option isn’t in the game.
The team also signed Mike Davis to contribute to the new-look running game. Davis had been a successful rusher when used on RPO plays, was competent as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, and showed a unique ability to break tackles. Unfortunately, none of that has been on display this year because Davis has played on just 15.6 percent of the offensive plays. Davis didn’t even see the field as an offensive player once on Sunday against the Saints. Not even in garbage time. What gives?
Even Tarik Cohen is broken. He is averaging just 4.0 yards per touch this season. To put that in perspective, he averaged 6.9 yards/touch last year and 5.2 as a rookie. Cohen hasn’t just regressed, he was more productive in Dowell Loggains’ offense under John Fox’s reign than he is right now. That is such a disgusting turn for the worst.
I get that Nagy is a quarterback at heart, but that isn’t an excuse to call a game like you were coaching an Arena-league team that airs it out on every play. Especially not with the quarterback who has shown throughout this season that he isn’t someone who can thrive in this situation. Often, the running game is the answer when a quarterback doesn’t have it. And right now, the Bears quarterback doesn’t have it. But unless Nagy reverses his trends and actually doesn’t abandon the running game at the first sign of of trouble, the “idiot” talk will only grow.