The next game Matt Nagy coaches for the Bears will be his 50th regular-season contest.
And yet, we don’t have a good feel for his team’s offensive identity. That isn’t a good sign for the fourth-year head coach. And it certainly isn’t encouraging to hear a newcomer to Nagy’s offense drag his system for the second time (remember the first?) in as many years. But it’s never too late for a rebrand. And with that in mind, here’s a friendly suggestion: Make David Montgomery the focal point of this offense.
— Tej Seth (@tejfbanalytics) September 14, 2021
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) September 13, 2021
David Montgomery reached 20.80 MPH on his 41-yard run, his fastest speed reached on a play in his career.
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 13, 2021
Here the RG passes Donald off to a quick-pull TE that gets just enough of 99 to set up a beautifully-blocked running lane. Gorgeous. pic.twitter.com/CtcalNtfls
— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) September 13, 2021
Facts are facts. The first consistent stretch of offensive success the Nagy offense produced was with Jordan Howard finishing strong at the end of the 2018 regular season. Two years later, Nagy’s offense was at its best when Bill Lazor was calling plays while Montgomery was on a season-ending heater. One of the main reasons the Nagy coordinated run in Kansas City looked as good as it did was because he a commitment to Kareem Hunt, which is what Andy Reid wasn’t doing at the time. Hunt was averaging 4.55 yards per carry and getting 22 rushes per game during Nagy’s play-calling trial run.
Overall, Kansas City was 6-0 when Hunt was given at least 20 carries. In other words, the running game showed Nagy a path to putting up points. And yet, we’re still watching an offensive system limiting receivers to short routes and quarterbacks to even shorter throws.
Now, do we want to point out that the Rams spent a lot of time employing defensive fronts daring the Bears to run? Yes. Should we highlight how Montgomery was balling against lighter boxes and smaller defensive packages? Sure. It’s easier to run against five, even with the offensive line’s performance ranging from inconsistent to total liability. But it shouldn’t take away from the execution and what Montgomery did when given the ball.
Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is to tell someone something they don’t want to hear. And for Nagy, that thing might be that his best bet on creating a successful offensive identity right now is to make Montgomery the offense’s focal point. Full stop.
And Montgomery is up for a major award, so you know what to do:
VOTE for the @FedEx Ground Player of the Week!
— NFL (@NFL) September 13, 2021
When Nagy arrived, he talked about putting the ball in his best players’ hands. And as recently as this summer, Nagy quipped that he doesn’t hate running the football. But the time has long past come to stop talking about it, and instead be about it. There are no more excuses.