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Matt Nagy confirms he is taking back play calling for the Bears

The Bears met the media today and we recap it right here:

Chicago Bears v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears had a zoom press conference today for general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy, and they elected to keep it between them and the media only. There was no live stream on their social media channels and no live stream on their app.

I wonder why they’d do something like that?


EDITOR: They’ve since released the video on their YouTube channel, so if you want to go back and check them out, here you go.

The timing was odd, but honestly what has happened this offseason to be fired up about?

They settled on a quarterback when their big swing trade fell through. They cut their best cornerback in a cap saving move. Their top wide out finally signed the franchise tag after some minor drama. Their best defensive lineman was on the trade block for a bit. And they lost a few backup(ish) players in free agency.

Besides Andy Dalton, all their other free agent pick ups were signed as depth/competition, so there was no big money splashes to discuss.

There was really only one news worthy item to come out of the presser, and that was Nagy confirming that he would be taking back play calling duties in 2021.

He gave up play calling last year to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor when the offense was stumbling though the middle part of the season. They hoped it would spark them to better things, and it did to a point.

Chicago’s coaches came up with a basic bootleg, play action scheme to simplify the game for the offense down the stretch, and it had some success in both yards and points scored with Lazor running the show. Things changed a bit when they went up against the Packers in week 17 and in the playoff game against the Saints, two much better teams and defenses, but they had a blueprint to build off if they chose to keep that aspect of the offense moving forward.

With the experienced Dalton at the helm in 2021, they may go back to more of the RPO, West Coast principles that we’ve seen in the past, but Dalton is capable of doing some of the bootleg stuff as well.

Matt Nagy was fine as a play caller in 2018, he was clearly too stubborn in 2019, and in 2020 he was hampered a bit with all the injuries to his offensive line to get a real sense of what he learned from the version 2.0 stinkfest the previous season.

Nagy taking play calling back for 2021 does have an essence of, if we’re going down, we’re going down my way, surrounding it, but he’ll need to prove he’s learned from his past mistakes as a play caller before I have any real confidence in the offense improving.

He should get better play from the QB, but he still has to find his rhythm as a play caller and he’ll need to re-discover the play action game.

Balance between the running game and the passing game isn’t about the run pass ratio, it’s about the effectiveness of each and how the scheme complements each other. I honestly wouldn’t care if the Bears threw the ball 75% of the time as long as they were wining games.

But regardless, the narrative that Nagy won’t run the ball persists, and it’s simply not true.

The Bears received solid play up front Nagy’s first year in Chicago, and that helped them to their 12-4 record. Analysts rated Chicago’s offensive line as one of the better ones in the NFL that season and they sent two players to the Pro Bowl. Nagy was able to get the running game to marry with what he wanted to do in the passing game and things clicked most of that year.

That 2019, 100th anniversary season started with a o-line shuffle that didn’t work, a switch back that took time to hammer out, and then a whole lot of Nagy trying to force feed his 2.0 offense. It was a mess, but it did get us two Nagy sound bites that keeps on giving; “I wasn’t brought here to run the I-Formation,” and “I’m not an idiot.”

(Insert sarcastic thumbs up GIF here)

The 2020 season started out promising as the Bears averaged 139 yards rushing the first three weeks of the season, but then they ran into a damn good Colts defense in week 4. And then they were hit with several injuries and positive COVID tests along the offensive line from week 5 on through their bye week. They lost their lead back to a concussion during that time too.

The running game improved as the injury situation stabilized after the bye, but 2021 will show us how much that was on the overall game plan designed by Nagy and his offensive staff, and how much was simply on Lazor calling plays.

How do you think the move back to Nagy as play caller will work out this season?