LAKE FOREST — When the sky is falling and lands smack dab on your head, where do you begin to pick up the pieces? How do you keep everyone and anyone from deserting the ship? And who will be there to help you get up?
That’s the position Chicago Bears head coach and “offensive guru” Matt Nagy found himself in Monday at Halas Hall after his quick trip to Cleveland that produced one of if not the most embarrassing offensive performances and losses in the 100–plus year history of the NFL.
The biggest problem with where the Bears are now is an embarrassment like the Browns game raises emotions to such a fever pitch that fans and even some media stop thinking rationally and seeing the big picture and focus all their attention on whose head they can have on a platter.
Right now the runaway choice appears to be Nagy.
A change at the top for the Bears may in fact be coming, and it may very well be justified if it does. But what everyone needs to realize is it isn’t going to happen after Week 3 when all of the teams goals for this season still are very much in front of them.
This Sunday’s home game against the Lions, however, is now a must-win and becomes the biggest game of the Nagy-Ryan Pace era to date.
A win won’t satisfy many, but it will reset the clock at least for a couple more weeks and provide the chance the Bears need to climb out of the huge hole they’ve dug for themselves.
Nagy has two critical decisions to make in the next 48 hours that will have outsized impacts on his chances to succeed.
Who will be the starting quarterback? And who will call plays?
He told us Monday everything is on the table.
“What we’ll do is we will make sure that we evaluate all of us,” Nagy said. “You know, statistically when you look at that and you see what went on and what happened, we understand that we’re all very frustrated and angry.
“But it’s about solutions now, and we gotta do it, and that’s gonna be my job as the head coach. I need to do that, and it starts with me.”
Asked if that includes giving the play calling back to Bill Lazor, Nagy said, “Again, just to keep it super simple, everything’s on the table. And I think that’s probably the easiest way to put it – the evaluation part, everything.”
When I asked him if his QB choice was limited to whether or not Dalton [knee] and Fields [hand] are healthy or if Nick Foles is now in the picture too he said, “No, they’re all three under consideration right now in regards to where they’re at.”
At this point the play calling decision should be easy.
After seeing the results the past six weeks of last season when Nagy handed the reins to Lazor and what’s happened the first three weeks this season since he’s taken them back, who’s voting for Nagy?
Not making the move could be career suicide regardless of how much blame his play calling rightly deserves.
With the quarterback decision things get a lot murkier.
The idea that nothing matters but the development of Fields no matter the cost is just incredibly football stupid for this team at this time.
The team owes it to itself, everyone, including Justin Fields and every one of its fans to play the QB that gives them the best chance to win at this point in the season.
Whether that is Fields or not we don’t actually know, but it clearly wasn’t Sunday.
It will be fascinating to see if Nagy is committed enough to a cure for the kind of shock to the system he’d send by handing off his play sheet and perhaps even seeing if Foles can once again be a human defibrillator.
Foles may not be the answer but desperate times … and Fields will be just fine and still a great prospect if he takes a baby step backwards. Nagy could even use his hand injury as the excuse.
Think about it. What else is left for Nagy to try?