Kansas City Chiefs

The best coaching candidate Andy Reid's ever had? Matt Nagy thanks mentor after receiving high praise

The best coaching candidate Andy Reid's ever had? Matt Nagy thanks mentor after receiving high praise

The Andy Reid coaching tree has many branches, but the man himself thinks Matt Nagy might be the best one yet.

Word got out in recent days that Reid believed the news Bears head coach to be the best coaching candidate he's ever had, high praise from a guy who counts John Harbaugh, Ron Rivera and Doug Pederson, among others, as former assistants.

Nagy was asked about that assessment during his introductory press conference Tuesday at Halas Hall and how difficult it is to live up to that kind of hype.

"How difficult do you think it is?" Nagy said to laughter. "Yeah, I love him to death but woo.

"Hey, that’s a challenge, though, right? That’s a challenge. He gave me an opportunity in this league in 2010. He gave me an opportunity. And I told him I’m not going to let him down. And when I hugged him yesterday, told him I loved him, I said 'I’m not going to let you down.' And I’m going to stick to that."

Nagy spent his entire career as an NFL assistant under Reid with both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs, so it's no surprise that he shares such a strong relationship with Reid.

The Bears are hoping they become the next team to benefit from hiring a former Reid assistant. Harbaugh won the Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens to cap the 2012 season. Rivera took the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl two seasons ago. And Pederson currently has the Eagles in the No. 1 spot on the NFC side of this year's playoff bracket. Other former Reid assistants include Sean McDermott, who took the Buffalo Bills to the postseason this year, and Pat Shurmur, the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator and former Cleveland Browns head coach who also interviewed for the Bears job before it went to Nagy.

If Nagy can deliver those kinds of results, the Bears' choice will be proven a good one. And it will be another Reid disciple making good as a head coach.

"Coach Reid, my mentor, the best," Nagy said Tuesday. "Words don’t do it justice, he’s my guy."

Bears hoping Matt Nagy is latest success story from Andy Reid's coaching tree

Bears hoping Matt Nagy is latest success story from Andy Reid's coaching tree

The Andy Reid coaching tree grew another branch Monday.

The Bears hired Matt Nagy as their new head coach, hoping he can bring the same kind of offensive success to Chicago as he displayed in Kansas City as the Chiefs' offensive coordinator.

While general manager Ryan Pace surely had more important criteria on his mind than being part of an NFL trend, hiring Reid assistants has paid off for numerous teams across the league in recent seasons. The Bears are hoping they're next up in that category.

Perhaps of most relevance here in the early days of 2018 is the success Doug Pederson is having with the Philadelphia Eagles, Reid's former team. Pederson's Eagles flew to the No. 1 seed on the NFC side of the playoff bracket this season, all while Carson Wentz has rapidly developed into one of the league's top young quarterbacks. There's no doubt that Pace sees Nagy as able to develop Mitch Trubisky into something similar, and if the Nagy-Trubisky pair can follow the Pederson-Wentz blueprint, then that will mean a great hire by Pace.

But it's not just Pederson. Should the Eagles reach the Super Bowl this season — and they'd have to win two playoff games without Wentz and with Nick Foles to do so — it'll be the third time in the last six seasons that a former Reid assistant reaches the championship round.

John Harbaugh won the Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens to cap the 2012 season. Harbaugh has obviously had a great run in Maryland, going to six postseasons. Ron Rivera — the former Bears defensive coordinator who in some alternate reality became the head coach in Chicago — had his Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl just two seasons ago. He just made his third postseason appearance with the Panthers this past weekend.

Those are three pretty overwhelming success stories from former Reid assistants, and it shows a strong track record for Reid's guys.

Other former Reid assistants include current Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott, who just took the Bills to their first postseason in nearly two decades. Pat Shurmur, the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator and former Cleveland Browns head coach who Pace interviewed for the Bears' job, is also a former Reid assistant. So is Brad Childress, who Bears fans might remember as the five-year coach of the Vikings who took the division rivals to back-to-back playoff appearances in 2008 and 2009.

So there's plenty of precedent for a Reid disciple to do well as a head coach. Will Nagy be next?

Reid thinks so:

One day after Chiefs' playoff collapse, Bears interview KC offensive coordinator Matt Nagy for head-coaching job

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AP

One day after Chiefs' playoff collapse, Bears interview KC offensive coordinator Matt Nagy for head-coaching job

Ryan Pace is sitting down with another candidate for the Bears' head-coaching job.

The team announced Sunday morning that Pace is interviewing Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy in the ongoing search for John Fox's successor.

The timing of the interview isn't great, coming a day after the Chiefs blew an 18-point halftime lead and were eliminated from the playoffs by the Tennessee Titans. The Chiefs' offense struggled mightily after halftime, totaling just 61 yards and zero points in the second half. Quarterback Alex Smith completed just five passes in the second half for 33 yards.

There's reason, though, for the 39-year-old Nagy to be on Pace's list of candidates. The Chiefs ranked fifth in the NFL this season in total offense, averaging 375.4 yards per game. For comparison, the Bears ranked 30th out of 32 teams, averaging 287.4 yards a game. The Chiefs were the NFL's No. 7 passing team (256.5 pass yards a game) and the No. 6 scoring team (25.9 points a game).

2017 marked Nagy's second season as the Chiefs' offensive coordinator. He was the team's quarterbacks coach for the three seasons prior, from 2013 to 2015. He was a Philadelphia Eagles assistant from 2008 to 2012.

Nagy is the sixth coaching candidate to be interviewed by Pace, per the team's announcements. The team previously announced interviews with Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards and Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.