If you want to see for yourself how Matt Nagy handles adversity, takes responsibility and responds to the questions we all have after a dismal performance like the loss to the Packers, watch his entire 20:00 presser today.
While I don’t think he tells us any more than any other coach in the NFL would, what he does do is treat us — media and fans — like equals, takes every question and tries his best to make us feel like our questions do matter, he’s answering them and we do know what we’re talking about, even when he’s not really telling us anything.
Based on that, the culture he’s built, his defense and the improvements he’s clearly made in the team’s offensive scheme even if they’re still not executing it very well, I think he’s a very good coach.
Whether he’s good enough to win playoff games and championships remains to be seen, and may in large part be dictated by if and how long it takes him to figure out his run game, kicking game and of course his quarterback.
If you watch, I’d like you to pay particular attention to the opening conversation about his eschewing the 51-yard field goal on fourth-and-10, the failed third-and-1 attempt with Cordarrelle Patterson and references to the running game throughout.
What was unique about the Patterson exchange is it was the perfect opportunity for the coach to tell everyone how football dumb they are, but he didn’t go anywhere near that.
That play was the best call he made all night. At 6-2, 228, Patterson is by far his biggest, toughest option in that situation.
It wasn’t him getting cute as some think he does too much.
Patterson started five games at running back last year for Bill Belichick’s Super Bowl Patriots and had 42 rushes for a 5.4 average and 15 first downs.
That play didn’t work because a Pro Bowl nose tackle, Kenny Clark, blew it up with 21-year old James Daniels playing his first NFL game at center.
Nagy explains it without throwing anyone under the bus.
As for the 51-yard field goal attempt that wasn’t, Nagy repeatedly respects the question but gives several different answers — or attempts not to answer the question — none of which solve the problem.
I was on the sidelines, standing at the 34-yard line, and can tell you there was a swirling wind and it wasn’t the idyllic conditions for the kick too many have suggested. But the conditions weren’t bad by Soldier Field standards either, and it was the kind of kick in that situation every NFL kicker has to make.
If Pineiro doesn’t have that kick in his leg, then he shouldn’t be the Bears guy, but I think we all know he does.
The problem is Nagy can’t come out and say I don’t trust my kicker yet, but it is the only reasonable explanation, and whether Nagy ever admits it or not, he needs to either get over it fast or get another kicker.
Lastly you’ll hear Nagy simply say flat out we have to run the football more.
It is troubling because we’ve been talking about this issue since the middle of last season, but what’s great is that with his final comments of the presser he gets to a very significant part of the problem.
“The other thing, too, you guys gotta hang with me on some of these. We have some RPOs.
“So, when I’m calling runs and a throw is made, you guys think a pass is called. And there’s runs that are being called.”
What I’m hearing is if this offense is going to be all it can be, Mitch Trubisky has to make better decisions not just in the passing game but in trusting his backs with the rock on those RPOs instead of trying to do too much himself.
Is Nagy telling us without calling out his QB that until Mitch is ready he has to start calling fewer RPOs and more straight runs?
What Nagy does the next few weeks with Pineiro and his affection for his RPOs will speak volumes about where this year’s Bears are going, and how good a coach he is.