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Matt Nagy Awaits His Fate

Losing was a complete team effort this year says Bears coach, not just the result of a bumbling offense

Ask the Bears what went wrong to cause a 6-11 season after they had been in the playoffs last year and you'd need plenty of time to hear the wide variety of answers.

To hear coach Matt Nagy tell it, there was just a simple lack of "complementary football," which sounds a bit like he's trying to pawn some of the blame off on the defense and special teams to save further embarrassment for an offense that showed its true colors in Sunday's 31-17 loss at Minneapolis.

Not only did the offense fail to score a point on three easy scoring opportunities but they also gave a TD to Minnesota on a pick-6.

Yet, Nagy said it would be wrong to lay all the blame for this season on his offense. In fact, he sees positives going on, like player development.

"I look at it the other way," Nagy said. "I think when you look at what's gone right with the players we have in this building right now, and since we've been together, I think we all understand this isn't something that just happens in one or two years.

"When you draft a player, it takes a little bit of time to get that player going. And then when you draft a lot of players together, it takes several years."

So Nagy obviously would like more time to work with these players but on Monday it would seem he'll run out of it and will be told so by either GM Ryan Pace or board chairman George McCaskey and CEO Ted Phillips or a combination thereof.

Continuing to look at the positive side, Nagy thinks he did well at times from a talent development aspect.

"You look at developing players, specifically at their positions, guys that you're part of in the draft process with Ryan and all of our personnel and our coaching and all the time that goes into that," Nagy said. "Then you look into each specific season. We had a really good first year together at 12-4.

"Now we continue to grow here; as you build through the draft, you have young guys that are getting better and better each year. They're improving. We have some older guys too on this roster that have been a part of this, and just seeing how that rolls. I'm just proud of these players, I really am. I'm proud of the coaches."

One player in particular interests Nagy for the future.

"There’s a good thing going here right now," Nagy said. "There’s a really good franchise quarterback that’s here that’s going to be good for a long time, and both Ryan and I were a part of that.”

As Nagy continued trying to build a case for himself because his team was still trying hard on Sunday, it just seems the offense doesn't try as hard or at least succeed as much. 

Sunday was a good example with 17 points and only one touchdown.

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He wouldn't necessarily agree with this, though.

"There's so much when you look at different teams and where they're at, whether it's different positions, how they work together in all three phases, whatever that is," Nagy said. "It's a team game."

Complementary football can't explain how his teams averaged almost 10 points less over the final 55 games than in his first nine as coach.

"So we know we wanna be better offensively," Nagy said. "We know it hasn't been what we wanted it to be. But that's what you need to do as a coach is try to find answer. 

"You get together with personnel and you figure out where you're weak at, position-wise. Schematically, that's part of your question too, is, OK, I would say stating the obvious that we need to be better in the red zone. I don’t think we were good enough this year in the red zone."

While Nagy continued his case for staying, his players saw one big flaw in what happened this year.

All of the switching of quarterbacks didn't help timing in the passing offense.

"You know I think when you switch quarterbacks there's things that go into that," Andy Dalton said. "There's a lot of time that was spent in training camp with (receivers) that they didn't get with Justin where it went to Justin and then when he got hurt and I'm back in there and then Nick gets to play.

"I think there's just a lot of things that go into that."

The Bears switched starting quarterbacks four times and would have switched five times if COVID-19 hadn't taken Justin Fields out of the finale.

"At first it was just chemistry-wise, just having to learn each other," wide receiver Darnell Mooney said. "With Andy coming in, the only thing we could do was with training camp and some offseason things. It helped. But on the process, when he got hurt, and then Justin came in, you just gotta learn that."

The players had a talk from Nagy after the game and didn't see much difference in him from other times. So it really is possible the Bears have waited until Monday morning to tell him his fate as has been claimed.

"He just gave us, you know, a speech as if you know, as if he's coming back," Mooney said. "So I don't understand any of the situations with that."

If Nagy didn't before, he should on Monday.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven