Matt Nagy Promises He'll Adapt to Available Talent

Gene Chamberlain

Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy took plenty of heat for refusing to utilize more I-formation running plays when they worked last year.

It's very possible a fresh outlook he seems to have as a result of his new assistant coaches might change this going forward.

Nagy told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis he has to be more willing to adapt and can't always be entrenched in the Andy Reid system he learned in Kansas City and Philadelphia.

"Absolutely," Nagy said. "Yeah, whatever we need to do, you want to do that.

"Now that I've had two years with this personnel and kind of building it and knowing who we are, it's so much easier to watch scheme eval(uatin) and know what this guy does well, his weaknesses and his strengths, and so now, with that, it's not fair to force them into something that I do. Now, if you can get some of it that you do well, let's keep it going, but this is a clean slate and we want to make sure we give everybody the best opportunity."

It's easy to say this now, in February when the regular season is more than six months away. Still, the basis for the more adaptive Nagy has partly to do with his old team and mentor winning the Super Bowl.

"Now the one thing don't lose on coach Reid, is coach Reid in Philadelphia ran a true West Coast offense," Nagy said. "Not running that anymore. He's been changing. So being able to change to your personnel—when we had Alex Smith, he brought in a lot of the RPO stuff. And now he's got Patrick and they're doing their things.

"So to each their own. And it worked. But that also took a little bit of time, right? I remember coming in in 2013 in Kansas City and the year before, they were 2-14. It took time. Now seven, eight years later, it's a Super Bowl. There's a foundation there of players that has been created over time and that offense is not the same as what it was when I was there two years ago."

Nagy, gasp, even said he might enjoy exploring other aspects of his offense.

"That's fun," Nagy said. "And now having new ideas from new offensive coaches and what they have, I've gotta tell you, I'm absolutely loving it right now."

The hiring of Bill Lazor as offensive coordinator and John DeFilippo as quarterbacks coach, and installation of former quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone as their first passing game coordinator seems to have turned Halas Hall into a veritable offensive think tank.

One thing that won't change with these new coaches involved is the play calling.

"Yeah, I'll be calling the plays," Nagy said. "And we do have a lot of guys who have called plays and so for me, ya'll don't get to see it because you're not in the meetings with us but a lot of time we'll talk through, 'why would you make this call or that call?' And that's growth in myself, too, as a play maker.

"I learned a lot last year in so many different ways, on and off the field, as a head coach. I learned a lot as a play caller, with players how they they work, with scheme, with coaches. I'm at a point right now after two years in this role where I'm just so fired up and excited. I feel rejuvenated. And I'm refreshed in a lot of different ways. And really just taking on a lot of thoughts."

With Nagy making play calls, and a passing game coordinator now involved with an offensive coordinator, it might seem the running game would be getting short shrift.

"It's going to be a collaborative effort," Nagy said. "I think Juan Castillo has a lot of strengths in that area."

Castillo was a running game coordinator in the past with Buffalo in addition to being an offensive line coach.

Some of the roles are not yet clearly defined on the new staff but will be by the start of April work with players.

Nagy has apparently heard the criticism he'll have too many coaches trying to handle Mitchell Trubisky now, too many chefs in the kitchen so to speak.

"The one thing that I really like, people say is there too many cooks in the kitchen and all that, I couldn’t disagree with that more," Nagy said. "For us, I think there’s a lot of great ideas."

Nagy called this type of offensive coaching staff structure a trend.

“I think we looked and studied structure around the league and I think that's becoming more and more common to do that," Nagy said. "We think the world of Dave Ragone so being able to give him a little more responsibility in that area—just adding talent to our coaching staff with Flip and Lazor and Juan and (tight ends coach) Clancy Barone. 

"These guys are all high quality coaches and high quality people. We feel like we got better." 

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven

Comments (2)
Gene Chamberlain
Gene Chamberlain


That happens every year with many teams.

No. 1-2

Yeah, some of Nagy's coaches were so good they didn't have an NFL job last year.