LAKE FOREST – If there is one thing that Matt Nagy has proved in one full season and a training camp is that he’s not afraid to mix it up.
That comes in formations, schedules, philosophies, or even postgame celebrations. From keeping starters out in the preseason to interesting goal-line plays to “Club Dub.” The Bears head coach lets his own instinct dictate what happens with the team on the field.
“I honestly try to let everything happen as a feel,” said Nagy when it comes to making decisions for the Bears on a number of levels. “That’s kinda where I’m at. I don’t think that will every change with me; it’s more of a feel than it is ‘Hey, going into this preseason we’re going to do this.’ I have no idea about next year about how that would work, ect.. That’s just who I am.”
Nagy has shown that a few times in his still early Bears’ tenure. He surprised many when he didn’t play any of his starters in the next-to-last preseason game of 2018, then showed flair in playcalling in a number of situations, like the “Willy Wonka” or “Santa’s Sleigh” plays that led to scores.
Of course, there was “Club Dub,” the postgame dance party that has become a hit with the fans and players.
Those are just a few examples of how the coach mixes it up during the long grind of a season, as evidenced by his surprise night scrimmage on August 14th. It was an idea that came up and was brought to fruition within 24 hours.
“If that was planned we would have told you all so I didn’t get all those bad looks that night at the media. But we would have planned that ahead of time,” said Nagy. “That was on a whim and, again, because I felt like that’s good for what our team needed and it ended up being a success.”
Nagy still hasn’t discussed his plans for the starters in the third preseason game against the Colts this Saturday, which around the NFL is traditionally when the starters see the most action. But Nagy’s not been about conventional in Chicago, always looking to shake things up based on feel.
That’s especially true during this long lead-up from the start of Bourbonnais workouts through the opener on September 5th. While serious work needs to be done, there is room for light-hearted moments that break up the monotony.
“We’ll have some fun in meetings; we’ll maybe make some jokes on some guys here or here. Prince (Amukamara) in particular we like to pick on. Then in practice, too, there is that balance of not being too crazy serious and letting the guys be themselves.”
“I feel like one of my strengths is probably not really sticking to a script. I believe that if I feel like it’s a day where we want to have fun, we do.”
Just like he has since day one and probably till his last at Halas Hall.