March 01, 2024


Hub Arkush: The day after Thanksgiving finds Matt Nagy in full cleanup mode

Whether or not coach’s job can be saved, he’s sure going to try

LAKE FOREST — Friday with Matt Nagy at Halas Hall was a time for the Bears’ head coach to relax a bit and try to complete a final cleanup of the ugly mess that stalked his team throughout the week.

The word truth was a major focus of the conversation.

How much did we get?

For a man struggling like mad to save an ultra-valuable prize, a head coaching job in the NFL, truth is pretty darn important. But does it rise to the level of covering people’s behinds?

To that end, Nagy’s job Friday was to make not just himself, but everyone look better and perhaps most importantly his boss, George McCaskey.

Some massaging of the facts to accomplish that goal for a man in survival mode doesn’t make him dishonest or untruthful, it makes him human.

At various times during a 25-minute Q&A, Nagy, unsolicited, launched into an elongated discourse on how certain things came down in the 60 hours or so leading up to the 16-14 win over the Lions on Thursday, with some commentary on the reporting.

Here is one of them as he was talking about whether it has been difficult managing his yearlong quarterback controversy.

“When you have a plan and you set the plan and you knew what that plan was, and again like that goes to the report that was out there, there was a report out there that George [McCaskey] made the decision to start Justin,” Nagy said. “You know, there’s been some false stuff out there, that couldn’t be further from the, furthest from the truth, you know what I mean?”

Well, obviously, I know what he means, because the reporter was me, so let’s get this out of the way now.

First, it’s something I worked on for weeks before breaking it to develop multiple impeccable sources, so I absolutely stand by my belief and report that McCaskey was behind the decision.

Could I be wrong? Of course, I have been before, and I’m sure I will be again.

Once things have settled down and I can approach it in private with the two principles, if I can be convinced I am wrong, I will offer an apology and retraction.

But don’t hold your breath on that one, because I am more sure than usual with this one that the report is accurate.

Not only are the sources great, but let’s pick up Nagy’s comments exactly where he left off Friday morning and did far more to convince me it is true than not.

“When you have a plan and you know what that plan is, you go with it,” Nagy said.

“And here we are where Andy got hurt and Justin comes in, Justin’s the starter. Justin gets hurt; when Justin gets back to being healthy, he’s back in. And when you have that plan, you stick to it, and you don’t look back,” Nagy said.

OK, we were told that was the plan from mid-summer on with Dalton as the starter.

When Dalton got hurt, we were told repeatedly when healthy the job was his, including the morning after Fields’ second start and first win.

Suddenly, 48 hours later, after plenty of meetings but not even a practice, Dalton no longer was the starter. Fields was.

If it is now the plan again with Fields, and Nagy says when you have a plan you stick to it, what changed for Dalton?

I suspect you see the point.

What is clear is it’s not a good look for McCaskey if he’s interfering with his coach’s decisions and “plans,” and now is not a bad time for Nagy to take a bullet for him.

Could it be that McCaskey “urged” Nagy to make the move and against his own beliefs he “decided to make the switch?”

Sure, and that would make the denials truthful.

What was crystal clear Friday is Nagy believes reports of his ultimate demise are premature. You have to admire his resolve, and it’s time to get out of his way and let him fight the good fight.

Hub Arkush

Hub Arkush

Hub Arkush was the Senior Bears Analyst for Shaw Local News Network and