Arkush: If Nagy is done it will be sad ... but fair and just

  • Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy doesn't like a pass interference call as he walks away from an official during their game against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, Nov. 22, 2021, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

    Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy doesn't like a pass interference call as he walks away from an official during their game against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, Nov. 22, 2021, at Soldier Field in Chicago. Mark Busch/

Updated 11/22/2021 5:34 PM

Life in the candy factory (the sports department) is almost always more good than bad.

But these are the dark times.


If you have a heart, discussing a painful end to another man's future is never pleasant, particularly if it's someone you like as I do Bears head coach Matt Nagy.

But as perhaps the greatest of all the Chicago Bears once said, "Tomorrow is promised to no one."

Being a head coach in the NFL is a privilege and a responsibility, and the few lucky enough to have these jobs are paid princely sums and honored with awards such as Coach of the Year.

But when that same man is missing his and his team's goals and, most egregiously, appears to be going backward, it is time for him and his team to move on.

With seven games to be played final grades are still a ways off; nothing is etched in stone.

For all of the hooting and hollering coming from Soldier Field Sunday over another embarrassing performance and step in the wrong direction, I did not spot a fat lady singing.

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But where is Nagy truly, and what is now best for the Bears?

Tune out the haters and mudslingers foolish enough to believe they know as much as the coach about the game, running an NFL team, play-calling.

Nagy forgot more about the game in 10 minutes this morning than those clowns have ever known.

But that has little to do with succeeding in his job at which he is currently failing.

Sadly he may not know enough about being a head coach.

The most obvious clue came when it was clear to everyone in the city but the boss that his stubborn refusal to relinquish play-calling duties was seriously interfering with his ability to do his job -- the most important job on a football team -- being the head coach.

And when he finally did perhaps only out of desperation, it may have already been too late.

As a result, his game management has most often languished at the bottom of the bell curve, and meaningful halftime adjustments that often turn losses to wins for the good ones were seemingly nonexistent until two games ago -- and then absent again Sunday vs. the Ravens.


Matt Nagy has not committed a single false start, lined up in the neutral zone or roughed the passer in three and a half seasons.

That is on his players.

But the fact those players continue to do it week after week, creating clear roadblocks to winning football games and not being taught to stop is very much on him and his staff.

What Nagy is left with is one Wild Card -- or hopes for a miracle.

Six or seven wins could still save the Bears' season and his job, but that feels like the miracle, not the Wild Card.

Nagy came to this season with a "plan": Let Andy Dalton manage games while instituting a weekly package for Justin Fields to allow him to grow through spoon-feeding, rather than the crash course that has contributed greatly to the current disaster as it almost always does with rookie quarterbacks.

I firmly believe had he stuck to his guns, even with all the concerns I've detailed, this club would be at least 5-5 right now, perhaps 6-4, we wouldn't be having this conversation and Fields would still be looking like the franchise QB of the future with a lot fewer scars on all.

But something changed between the Monday and Wednesday before the Raiders game and almost everything since has gone dark.

Whose call was that? I still struggle to believe it was Nagy's alone.

If it was, it was likely Nagy himself that pounded the final nail in his Bears coaching coffin.

But if it wasn't, there may actually still be chapters left to write.


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