Finally, some accountability from Matt Nagy.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport spoke with members of the Bears who were privy to Nagy’s message this week as the team prepared for its game against the Chargers. And the message after some self-scouting, soul-searching, and honest assessments of what was going on, Nagy reportedly admitted to his players that his run-game plan was “horse-(expletive)” and it was going to change.
Last week, the Bears rushed it just seven times against the Saints. And while New Orleans’ defense is pretty good, it isn’t so good that you have to completely abandon the running game. But with Chicago’s offensive linemen reportedly leading the charge and advocating for a change in game-plan, it sounds like the Bears offense is geared up to go in a different direction. Ideally, a one that gains yards in the running game instead of losing yards.
Rapoport writes the offensive linemen, quarterback Mitch Trubisky, and other players were vocal with Nagy about what they liked and didn’t like in the offense. Upon receiving input from a group of offensive players pushing to shift the focus of the offense toward a power running game, it seems as if Nagy is prepared to put a new plan into action. Then again, I feel as if we have heard this from Nagy in the past.
Nagy might say he wants to run the ball … but he actually has to call the plays in order for it to happen. Even if he does, that means the players still need to execute it properly on the field. Because it is all well and good in theory to run the ball more and take it out of the hands of a quarterback who is slumping hard, but the offensive line needs to get its collective act together if this plan is going to work. Same for said quarterback, who admitted he threw on too many occasions when run-pass option plays were called.
The Bears’ run game has failed for a variety of reasons. There is no one explanation as to why that group has been spinning its wheels all year. It isn’t just the play-calling that has shown a lack of commitment to running the ball, rushers who haven’t executed, or a quarterback’s decision-making. It has been a systemic failure from top to bottom.
So maybe it is encouraging that a gathering of minds came to the coach advocating for change. It’s almost as if everyone knows they are at fault for the early season struggles and is willing to work together to get out of the rut. And in just a few hours, we’ll see if it worked.