LAKE FOREST – As someone who has built his entire coaching career with his actions on the offensive side of the ball, Thursday’s effort simply wasn’t going to cut it.
Forget the fact that his team rallied from ten points down to beat Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football to improve to 4-1 on the season. The team’s best start since 2012 and the best in his tenure wasn’t about to make Matt Nagy feel too much better.
Before his team took the weekend off, the head coach stepped into his Zoom interview on Friday morning upset over what the film had shown him about the Bears’ offense hours earlier.
“The details right now on this offense are not there,” said Nagy of the unit during the Buccaneers’ game. “That’s our job as coaches to get these freakin’ details right. It’s as simple as that.”
A look at the tape and the stat sheet proved that so.
The team regressed on third downs again, going 3-for-10 on the evening, while their rushing attack was quiet again with just 35 yards on 14 attempts. Nick Foles threw for 208 yards but was opportunistic enough to get the Bears in the endzone twice and set up a pair of Cairo Santos field goals.
It’s not enough for Nagy – especially when it comes to the long conversions the Bears were faced with in the second half. He was upset enough that he listed each one the team faced Thursday night.
“To be in a situation like we were yesterday in that second half; I’ve never been a part of something, 3rd-and-17, 3rd-and-18, 3rd-and-2, 3rd-and-24, 3rd-and-29, 3rd-and-19, 3rd-and-8, 3rd-and-9, and 3rd-and-9. I’ve never been a part of that,” said Nagy of the offense. “That thing there has to get fixed.”
Easier said than done, of course, since the team’s offense has remained inconsistent the entire season outside of a couple of quarters. Their 27th in the NFL in yards per game (323.2) and 25th in points per contest (21). Nagy puts the onus on himself and the coaching staff to get their strategy right with players hopefully following the lead.
“If it means to set a certain way and block somebody, that’s what that means. If means to throw at a certain time with your feet, do that. If it means to make the right play call, at the right time, then do that as coaches, meaning myself, so we’re all in this thing together,” said Nagy of ways the Bears can stick to details. “But I refuse to allow this to happen, and us as coaches, we’re gonna use the next couple of days here to make sure that whatever we’re doing, we’re being the best teachers we can be.
“Then on your end as players, you better be the best students you can be.”
So “class” is in session on Monday as the Bears prepare for another surprise team – the 3-2 Carolina Panthers under new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. They could be a team the Bears find themselves fighting for a playoff spot against in December if they can fix those details that have held the offense down most of Thursday night.