Kansas City's playoff collapse was never the most important thing for Ryan Pace, Bears

Kansas City's playoff collapse was never the most important thing for Ryan Pace, Bears

The Kansas City Chiefs’ playoff collapse affected the Bears’ interest in offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, but not in a negative way: By virtue of the Chiefs blowing an 18-point second-half lead against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, the Bears were able to announce the 39-year-old Nagy as their next head coach on Monday. 

As we begin to digest the hiring of Nagy, it’s important to not place a ton of emphasis on how poor Nagy’s Kansas City offense looked for two quarters in one game. The more important factors here: 1) What will Nagy’s coaching staff look like? 2) What’s his plan for Mitchell Trubisky? 3) How will he command a locker room as a first-time head coach?

Nagy aced his interview with Pace, who felt enough conviction in his guy to hire him barely a week after the position came open. A few points to consider: 

1. Does this mean he’ll convince Vic Fangio to stay on as defensive coordinator? Hiring Nagy on Monday allows the Bears to aggressively work to keep Fangio, who will become a coaching free agent at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. He’s still under contract through Monday, but surely knows he’ll have plenty of opportunities — the Green Bay Packers have already been rumored to be interested in him — if he decides against re-upping with the Bears. 

2. Nagy reportedly came away from last year’s draft process a big fan of Mitchell Trubisky. The Chiefs traded up to take Patrick Mahomes with the 10th overall pick, but in searching for a quarterback to succeed Alex Smith, Nagy appeared to have put in plenty of time studying Trubisky, too:

Ryan Pace also interviewed Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Nagy’s pitch on how he’ll develop Trubisky, the most important player on this Bears team, looks like it could’ve been the best of the bunch. 

3. Nagy comes highly recommended by Andy Reid:

Nagy has worked for Reid his entire coaching career, beginning as an intern in 2008 with the Philadelphia Eagles. Since then, Nagy has been a coaches’ assistant (2010), an offensive quality control coach (2011-2012), a quarterbacks coach (2013-2015), a co-offensive coordinator (2016) and an offensive coordinator (2017). 

While Nagy only called plays for the Chiefs’ final five games in 2017, that Reid — who’s been a head coach in the NFL since 1999 — was willing to hand over those duties to him speaks to an impressive level of trust. 

4. We’ll finish with a final thought on the Chiefs’ collapse. What team heads into the 2018 offseason with more positive buzz than anyone else? The San Francisco 49ers. Their coach is Kyle Shanahan, who was the offensive coordinator when the Atlanta Falcons blew a 28-3 lead in last year’s Super Bowl. Two quarters of football does not make a coach. It didn’t for Shanahan, and it didn’t for Nagy. 

Under Center Podcast: What should we make of Kevin White?


Under Center Podcast: What should we make of Kevin White?

Kevin White had a, well, interesting media session on Wednesday, but was he wrong for how he approached it? Plus, Moon and JJ look at Mike Furrey’s approach to White and how Mitch Trubisky is quickly growing into being a leader barely over a year after being drafted. 

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Pro Football Focus: Bears could be surprise playoff team in 2018

Pro Football Focus: Bears could be surprise playoff team in 2018

There's a lot of optimism about the Chicago Bears in 2018 largely because of the incredible offseason had by GM Ryan Pace. It started in free agency with several big-name additions on offense and continued in the NFL Draft with the selection of Roquan Smith, arguably the top all-around defender in the class.

Pace now finds himself in unfamiliar territory. He's entering a season with actual expectations. While those expectations vary, one thing is consistent: Improvement is expected.

According to Pro Football Focus, Chicago should end up challenging for a playoff spot.

No less than five additions on offense this offseason could make key impacts for the Bears, including wide receiver Allen Robinson who was one of the NFL’s best in 2015 before a down year in 2016 and essentially missing all of 2017 through injury. He’s joined at the position by Taylor Gabriel, who had three touchdowns on throws 20 yards or further downfield in 2016 and rookie Anthony Miller, who was tied for fourth among wide receivers in this draft class with 19 missed tackles forced on receptions. Add in tight end Trey Burton, who had three touchdowns from just 16 targets when lined up in the slot and rookie offensive lineman James Daniels from Iowa and it’s easy to see why this offense led by Mitchell Trubisky has the potential to trend upwards big time in 2018.

The Bears were one of five teams PFF listed as a surprise Wild Card candidate. The road to the post-season will be challenging, however. Not only do all of the new pieces have to gel, but they have to do it while playing in one of the toughest divisions in football.

The NFC North could have three teams -- not including the Bears --  playing in January. The Vikings may be the most talented club in the NFC and the Packers will always be a contender with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. The Lions have some vulnerability, but they've had more success than Chicago in recent seasons.

Still, Pace deserves credit for winning the offseason.