The 2020 offseason was unlike any other in NFL history. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meetings were done virtually, lockers were spread out to adhere to socially distant guidelines and the entire preseason was canceled. But just when we thought we had seen everything, 2021 brought something even weirder: players practicing in-person at Halas Hall, with Matt Nagy overseeing from home via an iPad being toted around the field.
“It was Kyle Childress, my assistant was out there, and he was walking around with the big iPad and was giving me that view from where I would normally stand,” Nagy said. “It’s definitely a little bit different. It wasn’t quite HD. It was a little blurry. But at the same time, I was able to tell whether it was a good play or not. So I’m anxious to get to the video and see what it looks like from a bird's eye view.”
Nagy had to miss the first day of rookie minicamp, and he’ll miss tomorrow’s practice as well, as he was deemed a close contact to a family member who tested positive for COVID-19.
“I do appreciate our head trainer Andre Tucker, our nurses, testing nurses and our team doctors for taking great care of my family during this time,” Nagy said. “I do think it’s a really good reminder to all of us that the virus is obviously still very real. And hopefully more and more of us will continue to go out and get our vaccines. I’m actually in the middle of mine right now. I’ve had my first shot and will be getting my second shot here in the near future.”
If all goes well, Nagy said he may be able to return to practice on Sunday, for the final day of camp. Until then, Nagy said he was able to communicate to coaches and players through the tablet. Thank goodness for technology, right?
“I was just letting them know just how this is a special day for these guys. All these guys worked so hard to be able to put on an NFL jersey and have their first practice and so, sometimes you gotta step back and remind yourself of that. But at the same point of time, we were just talking through with just how (Fields) is feeling mentally. He was coming over and asking what was going on and I was telling him just a little bit, not a lot, because I wanted them to be able to do their thing.”
Even with Nagy able to communicate remotely, he still had special teams coordinator Chris Tabor run the practice to ensure things moved smoothly.
“I just gotta make sure he wasn't turning this thing into like 80 percent special teams day and telling all the coaches they got Margarita Night tonight.”