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Make It Make Sense, Matt Nagy

State of the Bears Nation

Matt Nagy yelling at the officials

have some thoughts about the Bear’s absolute debacle during their second preseason game. Frustrating doesn’t begin to explain my feelings watching that game. Look, preseason is just that, preseason. It doesn’t mean anything and I wish the NFL would stop treating it like it’s meaningful. They took away one game, that’s progress. But the NFL continues to charge their fans full ticket price for what looks like a game but is so very far from real NFL football. This is why the Bears brass is dumb and dumber.

What took place last Saturday should have never happened, but here we are. The Bears were destroyed, 41-15, by the prodigal son himself, Mitch Trubisky. This brought out the absolute worst takes from Bears fans. I was livid for all kinds of reasons but nothing compared to how hot I was after reading Bears Twitter. I recommend staying far away from that app if you want to maintain your sanity. I’ll go on there so you don’t have to. 

Narrative Twist

The fact of the matter is that Matt Nagy is hated in Chicago. I am not sure why. He is a guy that has gone 28-20 in his three seasons as Bears head coach. He has gone to the playoffs twice(0-2 in the playoffs), won a division, and was named Coach of the Year in 2018. People are treating him as though he is Marc Trestman. He is not. 

I am not sure why people dislike Nagy so much but the fact remains, there is a contingent both of Bears fans and the national media that believes Matt Nagy ruined Mitch Trubisky. That simply isn’t true. Mitch Trubisky is a good guy that tried his best but he isn’t good enough to be a starter in the NFL. Those are the facts. Don’t believe me? Ask the 31 teams other than the Bears that didn’t offer Trubisky a chance to compete for a starting spot. 

Trubisky was paid $2.5 million from Buffalo Bills to be a backup. That is what Mitch is, that is what Mitch will always be. Backups make nice plays in this league all the time. Mitch is capable of making plays in the NFL he is not capable of being a consistent starter that is able to provide sustained success to an NFL team. Matt Nagy didn’t ruin Mitch Trubisky, Ryan Pace trade up, gave away assets, and chose the wrong QB. End of story. 

Mitch had a great day back at Soldier Field. Mitch had 220 yards passing and lead 4 scoring drives. Nice for Mitch. I’m sure it felt good. But it was preseason. It literally means nothing. I understand the Bears faithful that wanted to enjoy a pleasant Saturday at Soldier Field in August weren’t happy to see the one that got away light up the Bears defense. But take it with a grain of salt people. Get a grip. Preseason is for the guys at the end of the roster. If I were a coach I wouldn’t start any of my starters in the preseason. 

This leads to my other point…

What the hell Matt!

I am not a Matt Nagy stan. That is to say, Nagy is okay in my world. If he were to get fired tomorrow I wouldn’t lose sleep. But the pile-on culture is too much so I feel I need to point out some of the good Nagy has done in his time in Chicago. He may not be Bill Belicek, none are, but he isn’t John Fox either. 

Saturday was the first time I was visibly angry with Matt Nagy. Nothing about that game made sense. Not only did Mitch light up the defense, granted there is no game-planning in the preseason and few in-game adjustments. It’s basically line up and go. Mitch has always been a bumslayer, nothing more, so he naturally took what the defense gave him and hit a few nice 5 to 7 yard slants. Good for him. 

What I am angry about is Nagy’s decision to start Andy Dalton and play him through the entire first half. There was no Allen Robinson. There was no Darnell Mooney. Jimmy Graham, Cole Kmet, and the Bears likely starting tackles of Jason Peters and Germain Ifedi were also sidelined. David Montgomery also got the day off. So why the hell was Andy Dalton playing. This decision put Dalton in an awful situation. 

80 Years Too Long

The Bears fans are restless. Bears fans have been dying for an NFL QB for 80 years. We have what we all believe is the best Bears QB prospect of all time in Justin Fields. The people have spoken and they want to see Fields play. After the game, Nagy adamantly stated that Dalton will be the starter against the LA Rams on Sunday Night football to open the season, so what the hell was Dalton doing out there against the Bill’s first-string defense, playing with mostly the Bears 2nd and even 3rd string offense? 

What is there to learn in that situation? If Nagy and the coaching staff have made up their mind that Dalton is starting and there was never an open QB competition what the hell was there to be learned on that pleasant Saturday afternoon. Dalton is a 10-year vet. The Bears paid him $10 million in guaranteed money to play. There have been offseason camps and three weeks of training camp. What the hell is there to learn by playing Andy Dalton with backups. This was setting Dalton up to fail from the beginning. He should have been on the bench and the Bears should have started Justin Fields. 

My Face Is Red With Anger

This leads me to the reason I am really hot. What in God’s name is Justin Fields doing playing with third-string players that will be working at Foot Locker in a few weeks? Fields looked great. His stats were nothing special but if you watched the game you see the greatness. You see the speed when he takes off, you see the pocket presence, you see the rocket arm, the beautiful deep touch, and the playmaking ability when the structured play breaks down. It was all on display. 

What we didn’t see at all in any preseason games, was Justin Fields throwing to Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney. Justin Fields throwing to Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet. That is a coaching debacle. Again, what are you learning from Fields in a preseason game when he is playing with guys that will never sniff a snap on the Bears or any other team. Nagy should have sat Dalton and sat any players that were knicked up but he should have started all healthy first-string players for at least the 1st quarter, WITH JUSTING EFFING FIELDS! The fans would have learned something. Fields would have learned something. And most importantly, Nagy would have learned something. 

The fact that Fields was left in the game and he got lit up by a Bills LB trying to make the squad is a fireable offense. Watching the franchise get leveled, seeing his helmet fly 5 yards down the field, in a meaningless game, when nothing is to be learned should squarely put the Bears GM and Head Coach on the hot seat. What a pathetic display. What a pathetic decision. None of it made sense. Dalton should have sat, Fields should have started with as many starters as possible. Those are the only “reps” that make sense. Nothing else matters except this young man’s health. Five days later and I’m still angry. 

Make It Make Sense

Now there is word that Matt Nagy is resting Andy Dalton, all the Bears playmakers, and is starting Fields in what is typically the most meaningless game of all preseason, the last preseason game. Again, why? What will you learn by watching Justin Fields play with a surrounding cast of practice squad players? Nothing, absolutely nothing. 

I have backed up Matt Nagy, not by drooling over anything he is done, but simply by stating the facts that Matt Nagy and his staff have gone 28-20 in the regular season with Mitch Trubisky, Chase Daniels, and Nick Foles. Those are just the facts. I would like to see Kyle Shanahan do any better. By the way, why is Shanahan universally loved when he has a losing record over four years but Nagy is hated when he has a great record? The Super Bowl appearance? Big Deal. If Nagy is bad, Shanahan is worse. 

I am done backing up Matt Nagy now. He has my full attention. Because his record really doesn’t matter. The Bear’s record in 2021 really doesn’t matter. Sure, I’d love to see the Bears win every game but the fact remains they won’t and this isn’t a super bowl contending roster. All that matters is putting Justin Fields in the best position to be a 15 year NFL Franchise QB. That’s it, that’s the ballgame folks. 

Peer Pressure

Watching Fields in the context of his peers I get even angrier. Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson will start day one. They have had all the reps with the first-string players. Trey Lance and Mac Jones will sit like Fields but they have had reps with the first-string players. Justin Fields is the only 1st round rookie QB that has not seen reps with the 1st string. Why? Because of Andy freaking Dalton? 

The fact remains that Dalton is in his first year in Chicago. The Kansas City model that Nagy references are vastly different. Alex Smith was in his fifth year with the Chiefs in 2017. They were a playoff team 3 out of 4 years prior. The 2017 year where Mahomes sat and Alex Smith did great was a vastly different scenario than this current Bears squad. Nagy later stated this offense takes years to understand. Then why the hell is Andy Dalton getting all the reps and Justin Fields isn’t getting any? Andy Dalton has never thrown a regular-season pass for the Bears. He worked with Bill Lazor but that was years ago and it wasn’t Nagy’s system. It is all confusing and downright infuriating. 

Fields has already been given a bad hand. The Bears swung and missed for a franchise-altering QB during the offseason, panicked, and paid Andy Dalton double what any other team was willing to pay because they didn’t want to run Nick Foles out there. Forget that the Bears could have had Dalton for cheaper last year and they wouldn’t have had to give up a 4th round pick for Foles. It has been a display of incompetency by the front office and the coaching staff. 

Hedge Fund

Once the Bears hedged and brought in Dalton they immediately said he was the starter, long before they lucked their way into Justin Fields. As soon as the Bears drafted Fields they should have said sorry Andy, I know promises are made, but this is a business and the Bear’s organizational landscape has changed. But no.

There was never a competition and Fields has reportedly seen very few reps with the first-string players. It’s ludicrous and now he is starting in the 3rd and most meaningless game of the preseason. Why? So you can see how he bounces back when he gets his head exploded by an eager Titan trying to make a name for himself? 

If any injury happens to Fields in the third preseason game, Nagy should be tar and feathered. It is puzzling, infuriating, and downright wrong. I believe so much in Justin Fields’ talent, that I don’t think it matters, however… I have now joined the masses and I am firmly in camp Nagy better deliver or I will personally lead the charge to see him and Pace canned. All that matters is Justin Fields. Do better by him Bears. 

Written by Keith James

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