If the Chicago Bears lose to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, it should be the last game Matt Nagy coaches.
It was worth seeing if Nagy could mount a charge down the stretch and the Bears had a decent game plan against Arizona. They might have won the ballgame if not for a shocking number of dropped passes and horrendous interceptions. But they didn’t win and, after yet another press conference about “finding out the whys”, it’s clear Nagy will never discover the answers.
The Bears are going to lose to the Packers this week and that loss will eliminate them from playoff contention. There’s a good chance it will be embarrassing, but that’s become a minor consideration when deciding when to fire Nagy. The more important point is about timing.
The team has a short trip home and with the next game being on Monday Night Football, Chris Tabor will have the extra day to settle into the role of head coach. They won’t want to do it after the Minnesota game because it will be a short week. The following week will also be shorter than usual as they play in Seattle on Sunday afternoon. (Besides, the Bears might win that game and they won’t want to make the move right after a win.)
Given the rule change that allows teams to interview coaches over the final two weeks of the regular season, it would be irresponsible for the Bears to wait any longer. There is already one team that will be champing at the bit to interview potential new coaches. By the start of Week 17, there could be several more.
If the Bears intend on taking a look at college coaches, they could do so immediately after Nagy is fired.
While Jim Harbaugh would surely wait until after Michigan’s season is over, Ohio State’s Ryan Day or Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald might be more willing to jump to the pros immediately, considering they are not competing for a national title. Even if Harbaugh wants to wait to announce his departure, the Bears could still feel out his interest.
In two weeks, they could turn their attention to NFL assistants. Theoretically, the Bears could have their new coach picked out before the regular season even ends.
There could be hold-ups since NFL teams have to grant permission before the Bears interview any assistants. Considering this is the first year with the new rule, there’s no way of really knowing if teams will actually allow assistants to look at other jobs during the course of the regular season.
If reports that the Bears are already doing background checks on other coaches are true and Nagy’s last-ditch efforts to save his job have fallen flat, the Bears need to move on to the next chapter. The importance of doing so can’t be overstated.