I went back and forth with the top two spots in my 10 Most Important Bears’ list this year, but ultimately I went with head coach and play caller Matt Nagy at number two, and (spoiler alert) the quarterback at number one. And here’s why; it’s on the players to execute the play calls that Nagy sends in and last year Mitchell Trubisky failed at that more than he should have.
And yes, I know that opening paragraph has already divided the class as several fans believe that Mitch was a victim of poor play calling, too many drops, and a shaky offensive line. But there were too many instances I watched Trubisky miss guys, not recognize the free blitzer, fail to execute a zone read, not check out of a bad play, or freeze on an RPO to absolve him of a chunk of the blame.
But don’t think I have all of last year’s issues on Mitch. If I was power ranking the 2019 screw ups, I have it QB at 1 and play caller at 2, because Nagy definitely failed his offense too.
By overhauling his offensive assistants he’s putting the onus on himself in 2020, and by firing offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, and tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride, Nagy is putting the perception out there that those are the scapegoats for what ailed the O in 2019. Even though Nagy has adamantly stated that the offense’s struggles start and stop with him, his actions of dumping his staff and retaining play calling say otherwise.
Nagy has to prove he’s the offensive guru and QB whisperer that his reputation says he is.
He surrounded himself with coaches that are all schooled in the version of the West Coast Offense he runs, and in doing so, they’re tasked with helping him fix last year’s issues. Finding some life in the run game is priority number one, but getting it to work in unison with his passing game will take away some of the predictability we saw in 2019.
But Nagy’s most important decision he has this offseason is who he hands he hands the reigns of the offense to when he names his week one starting quarterback.
Not having open training camp practices or a preseason will take any fan chit-chat about who is playing better off the table, and with the way the Bears restrict what the media can report about, we may never know who they think has the best grasp of the offense either.
The Nick Foles vs Mitch Trubisky battle will be waged on the field and in the meeting rooms at Halas Hall with only the coaches and players knowing who has the edge.
Nagy has a responsibility to go with the QB that he feels can lead his offense the best when the games count, but he also has a responsibility to craft a game-plan for the other QB if (when) the QB1 is injured.
Chicago’s defense is too talented to be hamstrung by a middling offense again in 2020 and Nagy needs to get this team back in the playoffs.