Why Matt Nagy Should Lighten Up on Defensive Critcism

Matt Nagy holding his team's defense accountable for anything is almost laughable considering the plight they've been put in by their own offense's struggles
Publish date:

Matt Nagy chose to call out his defense Monday for their effort against the Green Bay Packers.

He should have been calling out the offense, his offensive system and the offensve assistant coaches.

The Bears have suffered defensive degradation. There will be more ineffective defensive play at times in games now as they've gradually worn down as a result of inept play by their own offense.

"Our defense knows when we talk through this stuff, we talk as a team, how important they are to how we're built and what they mean to us and how they get stuff started," Nagy said. "When we go out there on the field, we expect a three-and-out. If not a three-and-out, we expect a punt.

"That's just who we are. When that doesn't happen, it digs us in a hole."

They did put the Bears in a hole immediately against the Packers but the grand canyon-sized hole the offense has dug virtually every game is a far greater threat.

"We didn't do enough to impact the game from a run standpoint or pass-rush standpoint," defensive line coach Jay Rodgers said. "We've got to find ways to be more impactful."

That same defensive line is banged up at key positions now, and is starting two players who are supposed to be reserves.

The defense continues to receive almost no help from the offense. The Bears rank 29th in scoring and are doing other things to undermine their own defense.

Playing with deficits or tied in games helps to defeat any chance the defense has of producing pressure and big plays.

The Bears started the season with 15 sacks in six games while they ran their record to 5-1. In their five-game losing streak, they've made six total sacks.

So Khalil Mack and Co. have been slacking?


The offense hasn't been able to get the lead and let them tee off on opposing passers. Without the pressure up front, the secondary is vulnerable and has little chance to make plays on the football to produce turnovers.

In their five-game losing streak, the Bears have had a lead for only 26 minutes and 48 seconds out of a possible 308 minutes and 24 seconds. They led only briefly against the Saints and Vikings. They fell behind and never led against the Packers, Titans and Rams.

Teams trailing can't go all out after the passer, especially off the edge. They're constantly on their heels.

If it had been simply this, maybe the defense could find ways to cope. Instead, the offense is actually contributing to the wearing down their own defense.

In eight of their last nine games, the Bears have lost the time-of-possession battle. That's not always the most essential statistic, but when you lose it so often you're gradually exposing your defense to more time on the field, more time for opponents to find weaknesses, more injuriies and generally letting them get tired.

The Packers game was the capper to all of this. Against the Packers, the Bears offense managed to hold the ball for only a season's worst 22 minutes and 16 seconds. 

The fact they gave up a touchdown to the Packers defense actually boosted their possession time because the offense had to come right back onto the field, or they would have been well below 22:16. 

Somehow, the Bears defense has been able to maintain a spot in the top 10 in average drive time allowed. The opponents average only 2:35 for length of drive. That's the sixth-best time in the league, and it only shows how effective they've managed to be despite all the adversity heaped on them by their own offense.

So getting beat by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers might have been embarrassing, and the ease with which the Packers scored humiliating, but the Bears defense gets beat up weekly as much by its own offense's inept play. The Packers offense was merely piling on.

So when Nagy pointed out his defense's problems it was almost laughable.

"That's coach's job to make sure he's holding us accountable," defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend said.

Someone needs to hold the offense more accountable, if there is an offense.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven