Matt Nagy’s Offense Was Not Good Enough Sunday. Will It Ever Be?

| October 6th, 2020

Matt Nagy, an offensive head coach, has had far too many postgame press conferences like Sunday, wherein he proclaimed the offense “wasn’t good enough”. No, his offense wasn’t good enough Sunday. They weren’t good enough in year one. They weren’t good enough in year two. And through four games of year three, they’re still not good enough.

The sign of a good head coach is one who has success on the side of the ball from which he came.

  • Bill Belichick always has top 10 defenses.
  • Andy Reid has only ranked outside the top 20 in scoring twice — his first and last years in Philadelphia.
  • Kyle Shanahan has had a bunch of injuries this year, but his team in 11th in yardage and 13th in points. (Shanahan’s 49ers have never ranked outside the top half of the league in yardage or in the bottom 10 in scoring.)

But after Sunday’s woeful performance, the Bears are 25th in scoring and 24th in yardage. They’re 31st in third down conversions, 25th in the red zone.

The passing game is averaging an anemic 6.4 yards per attempt while still being intercepted 3.2 percent of the time. They’re sixth in passing attempts — partially due to the fact that they fall behind every week — yet 21st in yardage. It isn’t a stretch to say they have the worst passing offense in the league.

And, hey, it’s not just that they can’t pass the ball, they’re 20th in rushing and are the only team in the league without a rushing touchdown this year.

This comes after they changed out the offensive coordinator, offensive line coach, quarterback coach and, of course, the quarterback himself.

Nagy is running out of people to blame.

They can’t score three meaningful points in a modern football game.

The quarterback play was bad again, but this is the guy Nagy picked and failed to commit to this summer. Were there chemistry issues? Of course. Those issues exist because of decisions Nagy made.

What doesn’t help a new quarterback is rotating four tight ends, five wide receivers and two running backs. The Bears have played 127 unique lineups, according to NFL GSIS. That’s the second most in the league, despite having very few injuries. Instead of adapting to three wide receivers and maybe two tight ends, Foles has to figure out how to work with five wide receivers and three tight ends.

There probably is a talent deficiency, but it isn’t that bad. Who the heck do the Colts have that scares anybody? They found a way to score points. That’s what good coaches do; they find a way to get the job done.

Fans tend to harp on play-calling, but it’s the inability to execute that is the real issue. Nagy dialed up quite a few winners only to see missed blocks, dropped passes and errant throws ruin them. But that isn’t an excuse for Nagy because at a certain point a coach has to be able to actually teach his players how to succeed on a given play.

The constant mental mistakes the Bears make is a direct indication of the coaching — or lack of — that the players are getting. When a Shanahan coach shows up, his team runs the hell out of the ball because they know how to coach the details that make a play successful. Can Nagy do that? Three years in and, so far, the answer is a resounding no.

It’s entirely possible that Nagy is a good head coach, but a horrendous offensive architect. If that’s the case, he has to hand the keys to the offense over to someone else. But, there’s no reason to think he’ll do that.

Nagy has among the best winning percentages in the history of the league’s charter franchise, but his job status should be dependent on if he can get the offense back on track. If he can’t now, is there reason to think he ever will?

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