Balancing cooking some chili, watching the Chiefs lock up no worse than the AFC’s No. 2 seed, and keeping an eye on the rumor mill is one heckuva way to spend the last Saturday of the Bears season.
Nagy Still Doesn’t Know?
The expectation is that firing Matt Nagy will be the first big move coming after Sunday’s game. But to this point, he is still up-in-the-air:
As of today Matt Nagy has been told nothing by his bosses about his future. He's putting his head down and coaching. The Bears will attempt to close out the season in Minneapolis tomorrow with their third straight win.
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) January 8, 2022
NFL insider Michael Silver tweets that — as of this afternoon — Nagy has still yet to have been told by those above him what the future holds. Meanwhile, Nagy continues to coach despite the uncertainty. I’d like to see him handle things differently in Week 18 than he has in recent games. Specifically, when it comes to getting younger players some more action. But if his bosses are leaving him out to dry like this (again), then perhaps the lack of communication is what is truly at fault here.
Nagy has been left hanging out to dry since the (inaccurate) report that he would be let go after the team’s Thanksgiving game against the Lions. And no matter what you think about Nagy’s coaching chops, there is likely a better way for this franchise to handle this situation.
Silver offered some thoughts on that …
Yeah, well, when ownership is awful, this is how things tend to go https://t.co/fsMgffv4MK
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) January 8, 2022
Ahhh, something we know all too well around these parts.
Bears Reportedly Considering Bringing Back Former Players
Working for the Bears might be a dream job for many. But in light of Olin Kreutz telling a story about the Bears offering him a $15/hr job as an offensive line consultant, there could be some awkwardness in trying to pitch former players to jump back on board and help right the ship. Nevertheless, it’s apparently on the table.
Jason La Canfora (CBS Sports) reports the Bears are “pondering sweeping changes” at Halas Hall. Among them is the franchise considering “a multitude” of former players for a variety of roles.
It’s a pretty vague swing by La Canfora, and I know that he isn’t the most popular reporter when he chimes in on Bears things. His misses are notable in Bears fan circles. Even still … this is worth sharing. It’s possible there could be a little damage-control campaign going on, and, to that end, the Bears could do worse than reaching out to former players, inquiring about their interest in positions in the organization, and hiring those with strong qualifications.
The Bears did well with Nagy and John Fox bringing in former players to connect with current guys. It’s a small gesture, to be sure. But there is never a bad time to extend an olive branch, especially when players themselves want to help. If you’ll recall, Jerry Azumah spent time earlier this week requesting an open line of communication between ownership and former players who want to help. Can’t hurt, could help.
Note, La Canfora’s mention of the Bears making those changes and reaching out to former players came up in the context of a Jim Harbaugh discussion. Speaking of which …
Harbaugh, the Raiders, and Mutual Interest
Conversations regarding Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s future figure to pick up in the coming days. It began with a report suggesting Harbaugh might be tempted to return to the NFL, with the Bears getting a mention as a possible fit. And there has since been more reporting connecting Harbaugh and Chicago. Simply put, the Harbaugh-Bears stuff isn’t going away until he makes a final decision or they do.
The Raiders, as discussed before, are lurking:
From @NFLGameDay: The #Raiders will conduct a thorough coaching search, and #Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has garnered some interest. He will, at least, listen. An update on one of the more intriguing names… pic.twitter.com/QayzSekbIS
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 8, 2022
“Jim Harbaugh has emerged as a name to watch in NFL coaching searches,” said NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport. “I know he’s under contract with Michigan. And it does seem there’s been about a potential new deal with Michigan. But from what I understand, talking to several sources informed of the situation, the Las Vegas Raiders — who still have a head coach and a chance at the playoffs — are expected to have some interest in Harbaugh. And Harbaugh is expected to have some interest in the Raiders.”
Ahhh, nothing like flirtatious mutual interest to warm things up on a Saturday in January.
But there’s a “but” here. Rapoport reports the Raiders plan on undergoing an honest-to-goodness coaching search this time around. That would be a change of course for this franchise; when the gig came open last time, Mark Davis just gave it to Jon Gruden. Rapoport frames the plan as being to check in on Harbaugh as part of a larger search. Although, it still seems like Harbaugh is Vegas’ top target.
Odds and Ends
• Even though Silver hears the Bears are continuing to keep Nagy out of the loop, Jason La Canofra hears the team has “long decided to move on” from Nagy and that it will become official this week. There’s been a general consensus that would be the case, including recent reporting pointing to the team waiting until *AFTER* Week 18 to get things going. As for other jobs within the organization, the jury is still out.
• President Ted Phillips and GM Ryan Pace have made their cases to stick around, according to La Canfora, but the organization is considering changes. I think the Trace Armstrong stuff is a moot point at this stage of the game, but La Canfora name-checks form NFL executive Rod Graves as someone the Bears check in with in this process. Graves, 63, was a Bears scout and was in a personnel role during his time with the team from 1984-96. He now runs the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which works with NFL teams to promote diversity in coaching and front office hires. And with George McCaskey serving on the league’s diversity boards, this could be a name worth keeping in mind for some kind of role.
• Always good to keep tabs on what’s happening around the league. More so now than ever before:
What were hearing:
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) January 8, 2022