Matt Nagy's Belief in Mitchell Trubisky Signals No Deals

Even after struggling to score 16 points when they owned the ball for 38 minutes, the Bears could be on the verge of exploding says coach Matt Nagy.
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Trade mongers will hate Bears coach Matt Nagy, who can look at an offense ranked 29th in passing, 25th in rushing and say it's about to explode with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback.

The Bears have been more like a match than dynamite or even a firecracker on offense, and might seem to some like prime candidates for a quarterback deal before Tuesday afternoon's trade deadline. Yet Nagy is approaching the season like he's in it for the long haul with Trubisky and his offense.

Nagy not only professed his faith in Trubisky and the attack on Monday after 17-16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, but also kept pushing his own view in the argument over whether the Bears should have taken a knee before Eddy Pineiro's try at the game-winning field goal.

Nagy is not one to yield when he thinks he's right.

"As far as what I thought we did well offensively, you look at this thing and we had 26 first downs, offensively," Nagy said Monday at Halas Hall. "We moved the ball — the time of possession — all the stuff that you all see, we have that.

"That part was exciting for us. That's a good thing for us."

As a result, Nagy thinks you're about to see big things from an attack that has scored 16 or less five times.

"As a unit right now, we didn't get the win but we felt there was definitely an improvement," Nagy said.

The basis for the belief is how well they ran the ball with David Montgomery gaining 135 yards on 27 carries, and then the way they moved it through the air off play-action after establishing the run.

"It always helps having that balance as an offense, we're moving the ball, staying on the field, staying in third-and-manageable," Trubisky said after Sunday's loss. "It definitely helps, and it opened up a lot of things in the pass game, and I know it helps our linemen because they did a great job creating those holes all game, and it gives them confidence running the ball and in the pass game."

Getting Montgomery running now is probably a few weeks too late to do anything about making the playoffs because there are nine teams with more than three wins in the NFC, but stranger things have happened.

Nagy again professed faith in Trubisky, saying he would not be removing him from the lineup after a 75.1 passer rating. He still sees Trubisky as budding, and said inexperience coming into the league is still a factor holding back his starting quarterback.

"You're talking about a kid that he wants it really, really bad," Nagy said. "He truly cares.

"At the same time there's also an accountability."

The accountability has to come at some point in the form of wins and big plays.

"And I think we're getting close to that," Nagy said. "And he knows that. When I say that meaning like when there's opportunities to be made we want to make those. And he wants to make them and he wants to do it.

"But it's the world we live in right now and people want it now. So it is what it is."

When Nagy says this, it could signal if nothing improves they might consider looking around after the season.

Trubisky did move the team when they needed at the end of Sunday's game, and earned praise from Nagy for a second-and-18 pass he drilled on the final Bears drive to Trey Burton for 16 yards to all but wipe out the holding penalty on guard Rashaad Coward.

"I'll just throw one out that's a special throw — second-and-18 to Trey Burton across the middle," Nagy said, downplaying the overthrow of wide-open Taylor Gabriel for a long touchdown and the lost fourth-quarter fumble and interception. "That's a tough throw. And there's several more on here that are really good throws, but that's a special throw right there.

"Now, there's others within the game that he can get better at. There's one that he truly missed, and that's the one you all are talking about, the one to Taylor Gabriel. He truly missed that one. He knew it right away. We all knew it. We'll talk about it and we'll try to hit it next time."

In the previous game against New Orleans, Trubisky overthrew wide-open Anthony Miller and Gabriel.

Trubisky's 23-of-35 effort for 253 yards with an interception included 5.94 yards per pass play, still well down from the 7.5 he averaged last year.

The learning process can't go on forever and Trubisky has now had 32 starts, the equivalent of two full seasons.

"He understands that and he's learning through this deal," Nagy said. "He's completely learning in this."

As for Nagy's questionable decision to down the ball a yard or so back on first down instead of trying to get closer than the 41-yard field goal try for Pineiro, Nagy pointed to Sunday's Colts-Broncos conclusion for validation. He said too many bad things can happen once a team is field goal range to risk anything like a pass or even a conventional run.

In the Colts-Broncos game, the Colts tried passing on first down from the Denver 33 and Jacoby Brissette was sacked. It meant in the end Adam Vinatieri had to try a 51-yard field goal, and made it.

"And so it's wild because you go back and you see these scenarios," Nagy said. "I said it to you (media) guys postgame and it's crazy because you say to yourself, 1man, zero reflection' on saying I wish I would've done something there.

"I would do it again a thousand times."

Twitter@BearsOnMaven