Matt Nagy Is Putting Winning Ahead of Critical Development Because the Bears Aren’t “Mathematically Eliminated” Yet

Teven Jenkins made his NFL debut on Sunday, but if you blinked, you might’ve missed: Jenkins was limited to a grand total of two special teams snaps. And when Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy was asked about Jenkins’ status moving forward, he did so in the most Nagy way possible.

And by no means is this a good thing:

To me, it reads as if Jenkins isn’t ready to help this team win at this specific moment. But that shouldn’t matter. Development should. And only development. Going balls-to-the-wall for a win to make this whole Bears thing look a little better than it actually does is hogwash. This is non-sensical movement from a coach who should know better, but evidently doesn’t.

Moreover, this is flat-out hypocrisy from the head coach.

This is what Nagy had to say to Peter King in August about developing Justin Fields (bold emphasis mine):

“If we play Justin early to satisfy our needs, and not to do what’s best for Justin and the Chicago Bears, we’re going to ruin Justin and hurt the Bears. We need to do is what’s best for the Chicago Bears — not only right now but we want this to be something that lasts 15 years. Not two years. See what I’m saying? What happens is, people get stuck in the moment, and they do it to satisfy themselves. I’m gonna do what’s best for Justin Fields. Not for Matt Nagy. People can say the save-your-job deal. Let me tell you how much I care about that part, okay? I don’t. When you start doing things to do things for yourself, you’re wrong. You’re dead wrong. You’re dead wrong. I’m not letting that happen. We are going to develop Justin right, and we’re sticking to it.”

There is a case to be made that four months after claiming he would do right by Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears organization – even at the expense of his own self – Nagy is going back on his word. On the surface, it sure looks like Nagy is trying to save his job. Holding out the young quarterback to play a veteran on his last legs. Not giving game reps to a player like Jenkins, who was drafted with the intent he grows into a franchise left tackle. Nagy himself said once you start doing things for yourself, it’s wrong. “Dead wrong,” in fact. Nagy isn’t sticking with his own plan, which is problematic for the present tense and could cause issues down the road.

But don’t worry about it. Things are fine at Halas Hall because the festive spirit is capturing everyone in the building:

On the one hand, I’m glad someone has the ability to pay attention to detail. But on the other hand, the Bears’ most important developing lineman is getting praise for putting up a tree in aa meeting room. This is where we’re at this season. Looking toward trees as some sort of sign of player development? Only the Bears. Sigh.

Just five games left…

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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