Across The Middle: Nagy Was Always Pace’s Guy

| January 10th, 2018

Updated 2018 Bears Coach Power Rankings

#1. Matt Nagy. He was the guy all along.

“That’s who Ryan and this organization wanted to go after. They had a plan for it, they attacked it and they did it so that’s a credit for them for doing that, they were aggressive with it, they believed it, they had conviction and let’s go.”

Yes, Nagy was talking about Ryan Pace’s pursuit of Mitch Trubisky in the quote above but he might as well have been talking about his own pursuit by the Bears GM. The Bears interview schedule only made sense if they had a specific target in mind. Nagy was that target.

The alarm went off inside my head Friday night.

Why did the Bears schedule the first interview they were going to conduct last? (We already knew the Bears were going to meet with Nagy, Josh McDaniels, John DeFilippo and Pat Shurmur.)

Why did the Bears (and only the Bears) interview Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards completely came out of the blue, when they had already reached out to but not scheduled a meeting with  Panthers DC Steve Wilks to satisfy the Rooney Rule? (They were clearly meeting with a coach who wasn’t nearly as qualified to get the league rule out of the way.)

There was only one reason to meet with Edwards over Wilks: Because Pace wanted to be able to make a hire. And there was only one guy he intended to hire: Matt Nagy.


McDaniels, Flip and Shurmur were all still going to be in the playoffs, regardless of what happened over the weekend. There was a chance that Nagy wouldn’t be and Pace made sure he was prepared.

And the fact that Colts GM Chris Ballard scheduled an interview with Nagy was telling. Ballard didn’t schedule a guy he already knew to just shoot the shit for a while. He was going to hire him. Nagy confirmed as much when he met the press saying “he understands my decision.” Pace knew it too and knew he had to be ready to pounce if he could.

Really, all signs pointed to Nagy from the start.

  • Shurmur and McDaniels were easily the two most qualified candidates, but neither was a fit based on what we know about Pace and the Bears.
  • Flip just isn’t qualified to be a head coach. As great of a job as he may have done with Carson Wentz, he was just one of three guys coaching him. Coaching one guy is a lot different than coaching 53. I thought it was telling that a guy who worked with him before — Dave Gettleman — never even called to interview him. 

Pace didn’t think he was going to hire Nagy when he fired Fox, which is why he called about Wilks in the first place. It was when he was researching candidates that he knew he’d have to be prepared to make a move if he could. Suddenly, Wilks was out, Edwards was in and the rest is history.

The one thing that stood out to me about Phil Emery’s press conference when he introduced Marc Trestman was that he made it sound like he really wasn’t sure. He said he talked to George McCaskey and Ted Phillips about him and they basically told him it was his decision to make. Then he went with Trestman over Bruce Arians.

The two most important hires Pace has made are his coach and his quarterback. In both cases he showed conviction. If he’s wrong, he’s wrong, but it’s a hell of a lot better than Emery trying to get George and Ted to make the decision for him. Pace gets his guys.

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