While on the Score Monday afternoon Andy Reid continued the praise of his former protégé’ New Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy. A player he referred to as the best Coaching prospect he has ever had under him which is saying a lot when it comes to coaches under Reid. Approximately 25 percent of the Head Coaches in the league at current. Many who have had their teams in the post season and a couple of them have lead their teams to Super Bowl championships.
When asked by Score radio host Danny Parkins of the Parkins & McNeil show what prompted Reid to say Nagy was the best coaching prospect he had ever had he sighted his makeup, energy, intellect, passion for the game, his people skills, as well as his toughness. He mentioned how he will hold his players accountable yet be fair. He also mentioned his genuine personality which will give him instant respect and credibility with his players. Reid also thinks Nagy’s experience as a Quarterback will serve him well. Especially endearing himself to his young Quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Parkins than asked what is it about Nagy that Bears fans can expect as a play caller Reid answered, and I’m paraphrasing, “That he’s got a good feel for it, listen it takes a lot for me to just turn things over like that. There’s got to be a foundation built there before I do that. I think what the fans there are going to get is an explosive or potentially explosive offense. There’s obviously that other factor that the players got to do what they need to do, but I think he’s got a pretty good group there to do it with, so the players will enjoy playing in it and they’ll enjoy playing for Matt. So the fans should enjoy it from an offensive perspective and I think they’re defense is going to be pretty good too.”
Long time Score personality and Chicago radio legend Dan McNeil followed up by asking Reid if Nagy and the trend of the league will continue to be more aggressive by going for it on 4th downs more in hopes of scoring six rather than settling for a field goal. Reid replied, “Yeah we’ve always been pretty high on that fourth down list as far as going for it. Matt was a big part of that. He enjoys doing that. I’m not going to tell you that he is going to do it all the time, but he studies it all the time and he’ll know when the opportunities wrong or right. He’s got a good head on his shoulders and a very strong offensive mind.”
Parkins asked Reid what is the secret to developing a Quarterback given that he’s developed Quarterbacks with different skill sets and what Nagy brings in that department? Reid mentioned the fact that Nagy and the Chiefs interviewed Trubisky for 6 hours and grilled him pretty good so Nagy already has a feel what Trubisky offers and Trubisky for what Nagy offers. Reid said, “The best thing you do and that Nagy would agree is that you find out what your Quarterback likes and doesn’t like and contour the offense around that. Also, you make them earn it, but ultimately you want to give ownership of the offense to the Quarterback and make them feel like they have the keys to the car by giving them some say and responsibility of the offense. A Quarterback that likes what’s being called is more likely to execute the play by feeling good about it.” Reid said he feels Trubisky has the mind for it as he showed them when he visited with Kansas City during the pre-draft process. He feels Nagy is in a great spot with a kid like Trubisky who has the processing skills to handle what Nagy asks of him.
When asked what were reasonable expectations for this year Nagy joked he thinks he’s going to go undefeated which got a raucous belly laugh out of Dan McNeil. He than mentioned that Bears fans need to be patient as it likely won’t happen right away but it will eventually happen.
A lot of positive accolades coming from Reid as you’d expect when talking about one of his all time favorite assistants, however he did not have to heap the praise he did on his impressions of Trubisky which should give Bears fans good vibes about their franchise Quarterback to be. As for the propelling the Bears to the top of the charts in their division part that’s a result that may not come until a year or two down the line. Maybe three. However, it does appear the Bears are in the position to eventually do just that.
This season will be tough to get to the status of top offense in the NFC North. It has 3 teams with better ranked Quarterback’s than the Bears with the trio of Aaron Rodgers, Mathew Stafford and newly added Viking Quarterback Kirk Cousins ahead of unproven Trubisky. That can change in time, but until it does those three get their just due. On top of that NFL.com’s featured writer Gregg Rosenthal ranked the NFC North as the second toughest division only behind the NFC South which put three teams in the playoffs last season. The one team that didn’t make has a very talented roster which may make it this year in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One would find it very hard to argue with that ranking.
However, in the long term the Bears appear to be primed for that trajectory in regards to the trend of the division. The divisions top team in the Vikings are more a defensive oriented team and in spite of the Cousins acquisition and a nice set of weapons their bread and butter and team identity is on the defensive end. The Packers are an older team and veteran laden and Rodgers is getting up there and his smaller frame may be finally breaking down from all those hits he’s taken as he’s been appearing on the injury list more and more as the years go on. The Lions are in a similar spot with Stafford who is older and has had his fair share of injuries piling up and the Lions have hired a Defensive Head Coach and may be moving in the defensive direction as their team identity. So the day may be coming where the Bears are actually known for their offensive prowess and the top unit in the division.
Than perhaps it happens much sooner rather than later. There is some buzz coming from respected media members who think the Bears have a real shot at the post season. Primarily in part to their new offensive staff and the many acquisitions via the draft and Free Agency the past two seasons. Like NFL.com’s Adam Rank who ranked the Bears as the second most likely team to end their playoff drought only behind the 9 win team Chargers.
There’s also a lot of love coming from the ProFootballFocus.com team. Here’s a YouTube video by PFF talking up the Bears as possible wildcard participants.
And in this piece by PFF’s Mike Renner singling out the Bears as a dark horse playoff team due in large part o their improved offense.
Yet another PFF staff writer Gordon McGuinness has the Bears as one of 5 teams who could surprise with a post season berth highlighting the massive amount of weapons the Bears have on offense.
Than there is ex Director of College Scouting for the Bears Greg Gabriel who wrote this article stating that the Bears have the best roster they’ve had since 2010 and even exceeding the roster in 2012 which included a bevy of offensive talents in Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellius Bennett and Matt Forte who also had the immensely talented Jay Cutler throwing and handing them the ball.
The biggest reason for the jump in talent Gabriel clearly likes is with the increased talent on offense. He sites Kevin White‘s impressive camp as a huge reason for optimism. From Gabriel’s observation in the OTA and Mini Camp practices White’s 4.35 speed and athleticism has seemed to returned to him. If that’s the case it’s going to be hard to imagine any defense being able to stop the Bears many talented Receiving threats at Wide receiver, Tight End and the Running back position. Gabriel feels they have the right offensive staff and the right Head Coach/Quarterback duo to facilitate the offense and make use of all those added weapons.
While it is prudent to be cautiously optimistic about a teams chances that is coming off a 5 win season it is not unreasonable to assume the Bears actually have a chance to make a major jump in the standings and maybe even actually dare I say, make the playoffs? The main reason for this success or failure will be will be directly related to how well Nagy and Trubisky meld together.