After every disheartening loss, Matt Nagy rallies himself and his team around the Bears’ culture. Yes, he sounds like a broken record sometimes, and perhaps it’s nothing more than a football cliche.
But Nagy believes in the Bears’ culture. He believes it kept his team afloat through 2019’s four-game losing streak.
Now, the Bears' culture is facing the biggest test it has seen in the Nagy era, and Nagy certainly sounds like a coach who is questioning the effort of his players following Sunday night's loss to the Packers.
“We better wake our tails up,” Nagy said in his media session Monday morning. “Every coach on the staff, every player, better wake up and start understanding where we're at. Have some personal pride. Have a sense of urgency.”
With Mitch Trubisky back at quarterback, the Bears offense failed to capitalize on a quality first drive, then fell flat on its face for most of the first half. Before the game was over, Trubisky turned the ball over three times.
The Bears' always reliable defense – the one spot where the culture has rarely been questioned in recent years – sleepwalked through the game. It allowed first down after first down in the first half, then missed tackles left and right while trying to rip the ball out of Packers' hands in the second half.
By Monday morning, after a night of little sleep, Nagy had seen enough.
“Yesterday was flat-out embarrassing and our guys know it,” Nagy said. “I’m not telling you something they don't know. They know it. But we're going to step up and all coaches, all players, and we've got five games left. For us, it's our own personal challenge as to where we're at and how we're going to do this thing. But that performance yesterday is ridiculous and can't happen, and obviously that starts with me.”
After saying he wasn’t worried for his job late Sunday night after the game, Nagy changed tune slightly Monday, saying, “I can’t worry about that right now.”
Translation: He knows his job is on the line over the final five games. The losing streak is well past the point of snowballing, and the Bears now have to find a way to stop it from rolling off a cliff.
Nagy hadn’t given his quarterback position much thought between Sunday night and Monday morning. Yes, Trubisky made some big-time mistakes, but the Bears have more issues than the quarterback. Given the game situation, trailing by three scores early, Trubisky was forced to throw from the pocket often. His errors were costly, but he did do some nice things on three long touchdown drives.
On Monday, Nagy first said he didn’t know who might start this week against the Detroit Lions – who just fired coach Matt Patricia – before saying Trubisky has probably earned another start.
“I don’t see why not,” Nagy said.
It wasn’t exactly the strongest showing of support, but Nagy and the Bears are officially in desperation mode.
They have four winnable games remaining, starting with the Lions this week. How the team responds after the loss to Green Bay will say much more about its culture than anything Nagy says.