It’s always a challenge on where to put coaches on my Ten Most Important Chicago Bears lists, but this year was an extra challenge as the team isn’t undergoing any massive changes. Sure the new defensive coordinator is altering the scheme, but it’s not like the players will need to learn a new language on that side of the ball. Chuck Pagano will bring his own spin to the defense, but he’s inheriting the most talented defense in the NFL. I don’t anticipate any issues in the change over on defense, and in fact, I think they’ll really enjoy the change.
On offense, the Bears are keeping the scheme intact, although we’re going to see head coach (and play caller) Matt Nagy open his playbook up even further now that his players are in year two of the system. Advancing on what he and his offensive coaching staff taught his players a year ago is a big part of why I have Nagy at number five in my list this year.
But it’s not the only reason.
The head coach - quarterback relationship is the most important relationship in all of sports, and Chicago’s QB is still a young and ascending player. From day one Nagy has challenged Mitchell Trubisky and at times he admittedly took the challenge to far. “I was too hard on him,” Nagy said back in March via the Chicago Tribune’s “Bear Download” podcast. “In meetings. Or in practice. Or in the games. What I have to do is make sure (I remember) that I’m not talking to a 13-year vet quarterback that’s been in this offense for five years.”
But we never heard a complaint out of Trubisky. He kept working and learning the offense and accepted every challenge thrown his way. Nagy continued, “Mitchell has come to me several times and said, ‘hey listen coach, don’t stop being hard on me.’ I love that.”
Nagy’s number one goal is winning the Super Bowl, but goal 1A has to be getting Trubisky to reach his full potential. So far Nagy has learned — and he’ll continue to learn — where the line is as far as pushing Trubisky and the offense. He is always self scouting himself to be the best coach he can be and his relationship with Trubisky will continue to grow.
Reaching that secondary goal is critical to the team achieving the ultimate success, but dealing with the pressure of being a Super Bowl favorite is another thing coach Nagy will have to master in 2019. The latest word from Vegas has the Bears with the sixth best odds to win it all, and so far the team isn’t shying away from Super Bowl talk.
But we’ll see how they handle things if they get some adversity.
One year ago there was a lot of buzz surrounding the Bears since they had a new head coach in place, but NFL analysts weren’t very high on the team. Experts had the Bears pegged for either third or fourth place in the NFC North, so they snuck up on a few teams. This year they’re the lead dogs in the race as defending division champs and that’s a different frame of mind for the coaches and the players.
Nagy will need to keep his winning culture alive and keep Club Dub rolling all year long.