When an offense is struggling – badly – it’s easy enough to spot individual problems. Missed blocks. Bad throws. Poor reads. Weird personnel. Ineffective play calls.
What’s much harder to do with certainty is pinpoint the root cause of those problems, or even backtrack enough to say “oh, the bad throw there was actually caused by a bad route, which was caused by a miscommunication, which was caused by poor coaching.” Sometimes, all you can do is point out the individual problems as you see them, and observe larger arcs as they develop.
That’s where I’ve been for a long time with the narrow issue of Matt Nagy’s play calling. It’s never looked “good,” because the whole offense has never looked good. With so many parts failing and breaking down, it’s been difficult to say, “Oh, well actually, things would be humming if someone was just calling better plays.” Heck, we can’t even agree half the time on what is a good or bad play call sometimes (if a play call looks bad on paper, but then gets the right guy open for a conversion, and then someone drops a pass or fails to run their route to the sticks … is that actually a good play call? A bad play call that just got lucky and then unlucky again?).
All that said, here’s the thing: eventually, when the personnel has changed a lot and the coaching staff has changed a lot, you do have to start to wonder if the play calling is making things worse. I’m ready to consider it. The Bears should be ready to consider it.
Head Coach Matt Nagy, who has previously resisted any calls to hand over the play calling duties, is maybe possibly just starting to be on the cusp of considering it? Not that he’s going to say it’s coming any time soon:
I asked Matt Nagy if he would consider relinquishing the Bears' play-calling duties. He will continue on for now, but spoke honestly about why he would be willing to do so. pic.twitter.com/KwAAyClSfM
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) October 27, 2020
Thinking about maybe thinking about it. That’s a start, I guess.
You have to figure if the offense continues to flounder over the next couple weeks, this situation will come to a head. The Bears will have tried everything else, and with some season to salvage for a playoff spot thanks to the early hot start, they might just have to see what a different person could do.
Of course, it would certainly help to get some massive improvement on the offensive line, some more accurate deep balls, and some receivers that don’t keep running routes a yard short of the first down marker …