Matt Nagy was hired to coach the Chicago Bears in 2018 with a few primary goals: to jumpstart the offense and help then second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky develop.
Things looked promising in Nagy’s first season. The Bears went 12-4, made the playoffs and Trubisky had career-highs in passing yards (3,223), passing touchdowns (24) and rushing yards (421). It went downhill every year since, for Trubisky the Bears and Nagy, with the team choosing not to re-sign the QB after the 2020 season while parting ways with Nagy a year later.
With the Bears currently looking for a new head coach, sources close to the team had some revealing — and damning — things to say about Nagy’s treatment of the young signal-caller detailed in a January 14 report by Adam Jahns and Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic.
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Nagy Chastised Trubisky for Being ‘Uncoachable’ in Front of Team
According to Jahns and Fishbain, Nagy was upset with Trubisky’s play early on in the 2020 season, and he openly berated the QB in front of the entire team after a Week 2 win over the Giants. Trubisky failed to read his progressions correctly on a particular play, and Nagy had this response:
“Trubisky’s pass to (tight end Cole) Kmet was meant to go elsewhere. Nagy had called for a three-route concept to Trubisky’s left: (wide receiver Darnell) Mooney ran a fade, Allen Robinson ran an out and Tarik Cohen ran a swing route. Trubisky’s reads were supposed to take him from fade to out to swing, and the Giants defender covering Robinson slipped, leaving him wide open. Instead, Trubisky went over the middle to his tight end, which Nagy pointed out. ‘He ripped Mitch in front of the whole team,’ a source said. ‘Nagy proceeded to chastise Mitch for being uncoachable and not throwing it to the proper guy in front of the whole team,’ a second source said.”
While it’s not unusual for head coaches to call out and criticize their players openly in team meetings, Jahns and Fishbain reported that Nagy’s method of accountability rubbed his players the wrong way, particularly on defense, a unit that often carried the team during the coach’s tenure in Chicago.
“Nagy, like many coaches, often called out players. … Defensive players, including star outside linebacker Khalil Mack, were singled out, too. It bothered some of them, especially when the defense did its part while Nagy’s offense sputtered.”
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Nagy Also Stood Trubisky Up for Scheduled Meeting
“It was evident that things weren’t working out with the quarterback and head coach. ‘Mitch never checked the boxes for Nagy from Day 1,’ said one source,” Jahns and Fishbain wrote.
The Bears had back-to-back 8-8 seasons in 2019 and 2020, and after the 2019 season ended, Trubisky and Nagy were set to have a meeting to discuss how to improve and right the ship, but according to the report, that didn’t happen.
“After the 2019 season concluded, Trubisky prepared to meet with Nagy. They needed to have a conversation. How were they going to make this work? The quarterback prepared notes for the meeting. Nagy, though, didn’t make it — ‘He no-showed him,’ a source said. Trubisky left his notes behind.”
Trubisky had mentioned toward the end of the 2020 season that some of his ideas for the offense had been ignored — this report certainly puts that notion into context. Jahns and Fishbain also revealed Trubisky had tried multiple times to voice concern about Nagy’s offense, which never finished above 22nd in the NFL.
“‘(Trubisky would) be in the middle of camp and be like, ‘Guys, none of this stuff is working,’ or he’d be pointing out the problems with the offense, and he’d be getting this, ‘Oh, no, man. Don’t worry at all. It’ll all come together. Have faith. Trust the process,’ a source said.”
Nagy had a reputation for being a happy-go-lucky, relentlessly positive leader. If there’s any truth to Jahns and Fishbain’s report — and they’re about as credible as it gets — Nagy may not have been the coach many thought he was.
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