The Chicago Bears announced the hiring of Matt Nagy as its head coach on Monday morning at Halas Hall in Lake Forest. The 39-year-old Nagy, a prolific quarterback for four different Arena Football League franchises, will replace the defensive-minded John Fox. Nagy, who spent the past 10 seasons working under Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Kansas City, became the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator in 2016. With Nagy calling plays this season, Chiefs signal-caller Alex Smith flourished under center and the team finished fifth in total offense.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace interviewed five candidates before he offered Nagy the job late last night. Nagy, Chicago’s seventh coach since Mike Ditka was terminated in 1992, inherits a squad that hasn’t qualified for the playoffs since 2010. Nagy was particularly attractive to Pace because he is fond of Bears passer Mitch Trubisky. Pace, the recent recipient of a two-year contract extension, mortgaged Chicago’s immediate future to select the 23-year-old Trubisky out of North Carolina with the second choice last April. Clearly, Pace is confident that Nagy’s the ideal offensive guru to hone Trubisky’s skills.
“The most important position in all of sports is quarterback, and I don’t think you’re ever a great team until you address the position and you address it right,” Pace told CBS Chicago.
“I think everybody should respect that. We’re addressing the quarterback position, we’re being aggressive with that position because it’s the most important position in sports.”
Pace must upgrade the Bears’ coverage and pass-rushing units this offseason. However, with $48 million in salary cap space and seven draft picks, he especially needs to acquire more formidable linemen to protect Trubisky and explosive weapons for him to target downfield. Nagy, who ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports will oversee the Bears’ offense, is excited to serve as Trubisky’s mentor.
“You have to be able to teach the offense to the quarterback after coach installs the plays,” Nagy told ESPN regarding his role in teaching quarterbacks.
“You need to be able to take that play that they’re installing and you become a teacher in your classroom. When we’re in here, I need to be my best at giving them another set of eyes to the see the field, another perspective. I was fortunate enough to play the quarterback position really all my life … I think for me, my biggest role is to give them another set of eyes and ears to listen to what they see and then be able to put it all together and be able to fix any corrections and continue to build on their strengths.”
Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur were also intriguing applicants for Pace to mull. Nevertheless, considering the Bears’ attack is ranked tied for 30th in points per game since 2015, Nagy appears to be a solid choice. Ultimately, Chicago’s short-term and long-term fortunes will depend on Mitch Trubisky’s development and the dynamic between Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy.