THE MORNING AFTER: Emotions flow, but in the end, the same challenge is ahead for the Bears

Bears Report

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – NOVEMBER 25: Head coach Matt Nagy of the Chicago Bears and Andy Dalton #14 fist bump during the second half against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on November 25, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

DETROIT – A lead-up to a match-up of two teams near the bottom of the NFC never had so much emotion.

There was a report, denials, reactions, then more reports and denials. Ahead of a major holiday, a job appeared to hang in the balance with a change affecting many others potentially ready to go down.

This was the chain of events that was set into motion by Mark Konkol’s report for Patch that said Matt Nagy had already been told that he would be removed as head coach following the game against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day.

That was on Tuesday morning, and the chain of events that occurred after per numerous reports can be read by clicking here.

So leading up to the game, there were a wide variety of emotions as the 3-7 Bears prepared to meet the 0-9-1 Lions at Ford Field. Some fans were openly happy about Nagy being fired, since the team’s inability to have consistency and find offensive success has completely erased the good of his first season in 2018.

Unwilling to clarify the reports publically, more scorn was thrown at Bears’ management as this incident added to a list of grievances that fans have had over the past few decades with the team. No matter the feelings on Nagy, many of the coach’s biggest detractors even had some angst with the lack of clarity.

Caught in the middle were players and coaches whose fates would certainly have a change if Nagy were to be relieved of duties. A short week didn’t leave much time to address it, leaving a lot of players wondering what might be ahead as the team sat with a five-game losing streak.

“You don’t know what’s true and what’s not,” said second-year tight end Cole Kmet, who admitted it was a tough short week to get ready for Thursday.

These are human emotions that are sometimes forgotten in professional sports, but reports and lack of clarity can certainly have an impact, a fact that shouldn’t be overlooked. It made for a bizarre 48 hours leading up to Thursday’s contest, especially for Nagy.

He did confirm he met with the McCaskey family and was assured the report was false, giving some relief ahead of Thursday’s contest.

“When you have a great support system, which I always talk about – I tell you, my family, friends and people in that building that support me, that’s all you need,” said Nagy when asked about the personal impact of the job status reports. “And people around the League, you know what I mean? So, when you’ve got other coaches and people from other teams that you talk to, that are there to support you, when you have people inside our building when you have family and friends as strong as my family and
friends, it’s pretty powerful. If I couldn’t handle it, I would’ve never signed up to take this job. But I can handle it. That’s me

“That’s selfishly looking at it. But for me as a leader, with this team, that group of guys in that locker room right now, players and coaches, I’ll put them up against anybody. I love them to death and they’re freaking warriors, man. They know how to win, you know? They’re not losers. They know how to win, and I appreciate that about them.”

Yet after 60 minutes of football on Thursday, the Bears’ situation remains as many thought it would before the job status report came out. As expected, the visitors did come out with the victory over the struggling Lions, who didn’t do anything to change the narrative that they are a franchise that’s lost at the moment.

Still, a short-handed Bears team with Andy Dalton at quarterback didn’t grab their winning points until the final play in a 16-14 win that snaps a losing streak but doesn’t invoke visions of a turnaround.

So with Nagy as the head coach at least for now, the Bears season focus still remains on the development of young players as they likely make major this offseason. It’s about seeing how Justin Fields will grow when he returns from his rib injury while also evaluating if young offensive lineman like Larry Borom and perhaps Teven Jenkins at some point can produce.

Can Jaylon Johnson continue on his path toward being one of the better cornerbacks in the league while the cornerbacks on the other side that are also young find their way? Is Trevis Gipson another mid-round find for Ryan Pace that could surprise, and is Bilal Nichols a major part of the Bears’ future on the line?

All these were questions on Monday that remain on Friday after the Bears’ Week 12 game. For all the emotion, it’s still the same situation for the Bears.

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