Bears

Matt Nagy the offensive mind needs to match Matt Nagy the leader

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USA Today

Matt Nagy the offensive mind needs to match Matt Nagy the leader

The Bears’ decision to put Kyle Long on injured reserve was not arrived upon lightly. 

This was a former three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman who played for quite a few bad teams, only to have his body fail him once the Bears became playoff contenders. He’s now been on injured reserve in four consecutive seasons, and this time, it might end his career in Chicago. 

The conversation from management to player could not have been easy. But having Matt Nagy around to deliver it probably made things a little less difficult. 

“I feel like personally, that’s one of my strengths is dealing with these players and where they’re at and how they feel,” Nagy said. “There’s a connection there that you need to have. The part of it that makes it easier is when you run into these situations, you want to be able to have strong relationships with your players so when there are tough decision that have to be made, it’s natural and it doesn’t feel scripted — it doesn’t feel like this is the first time I’m talking to you in months.”

Nagy’s genuine ability to be the leader and tone-setter inside Halas Hall helps when such a tough decision has to be made. The same may go for the IR-or-no-IR decision awaiting the Bears with defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who suffered a significant elbow injury in London against the Oakland Raiders. 

But those leadership qualities extend well beyond dealing with injured players or setting next-man-up expectations. When the Bears re-convened in Lake Forest for practice on Monday, they did so with positive vibes — which aren’t necessarily a given for a team that’s encountered more issues than expected through the first five games of 2019. 

And those begin with Nagy. 

“We know this isn’t just some regular head coach that’s here just because he’s the head coach of an NFL football team,” outside linebacker Aaron Lynch said. “Like, he’s here, he’s got a purpose and he’s giving that message to us that we can buy into.

“… Because he’s genuine, we know everything he says comes from his heart. It’s so much easier to buy into something like that when you know what he’s saying, he means and he’s not just saying it because there’s cameras around.”

Nagy’s leadership abilities are unquestioned. But what about his ability to scheme and call an offense?

Those haven’t matched the success he’s had as a leader. Consider there to be two different versions of Nagy, the head coach: Nagy the leader, and Nagy the offensive mind. 

Nagy’s scheme hasn’t yielded the sort of fruits expected from a branch of Andy Reid’s Kansas City offense, with the sixth-lowest points per game average (17.7) in the NFL. His playcalling — be it a tepid commitment to the run, or being too predictable in certain situations — has come under scrutiny, and a larger observation has been he’s had fewer answers in Year 2, when the rest of the league has a full season of tape on his offense. 

Nagy needs the players within his offense to play better, but he also needs to coach better, as he admitted after the Bears’ Week 5 loss at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. So part of the time he spent during the Bears’ off week was on self-scouting himself, from play design to playcalling tendencies. 

“There’s some things that just aren’t going to change, but then there’s some that are pretty glaring,” Nagy said. “And I think those are the ones where you say, okay, how do I maybe break that just a little bit, so that the defenses can’t always just say every time they’re doing this or that, to help us.”

What’s clear is that the Bears will be competitive in every game they play because of Nagy’s leadership. But for this team to deliver on its sky-high preseason expectations, it needs Nagy the offensive mind to match Nagy the leader. 

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2020 NFL Draft: Where do the Bears pick entering Week 12?

2020 NFL Draft: Where do the Bears pick entering Week 12?

Now that the Bears' 2019 season is essentially over, it's time to start paying closer attention to the 2020 NFL draft order. Even without a first-round pick, the Bears hold two valuable selections in the second round.

Last year's Khalil Mack trade included the Raiders' second-round selection this April. After Chicago's loss to the Rams and Oakland's victory over the Bengals, those two second-rounders are currently the 46th and 51st picks overall. To put that in perspective, last year's 46th pick was cornerback Greedy Williams (Browns) and the 51st pick was wide receiver A.J. Brown (Titans). Both are promising players who will be starters in the NFL for a long time.

And let's not forget the Bears have some history with the 51st selection. They used it in 2018 to select wide receiver Anthony Miller, who despite not having the year many expected from him in 2019, still offers playmaking upside as a starter in Matt Nagy's offense moving forward.

Here is the current 2020 NFL draft order entering Week 12:

1. Bengals (0-10)
2. Redskins (1-9)
3. Giants (2-8)
4. Dolphins (2-8)
5. Jets (3-7)
6. Buccaneers (3-7)
7. Broncos (3-7)
8. Falcons (3-7)
9. Cardinals (3-7-1)
10. Lions (3-6-1)
11. Chargers (4-7)
12. Jaguars (4-6)
13. Browns (4-6)
14. Raiders (from Bears) (4-6)
15. Eagles (5-5)
16. Dolphins (from Steelers) (5-5)
17. Titans (5-5)
18. Panthers (5-5)
19. Raiders (6-4)
20. Jaguars (from Rams) (6-4)
21. Cowboys (6-4)
22. Colts (6-4)
23. Dolphins (from Texans) (6-4)
24. Vikings (8-3)
25. Chiefs (7-4)
26. Bills (7-3)
27. Packers (8-2)
28. Seahawks (8-2)
29. Ravens (8-2)
30. Saints (8-2)
31. Patriots (9-1)
32. 49ers (9-1) 

Power Rankings Roundup: Everyone's just as confused about the Mitch Trubisky injury as you are

Power Rankings Roundup: Everyone's just as confused about the Mitch Trubisky injury as you are

Even after scoring seven points in a loss that basically eliminated them from playoff contention, the Bears didn't see a lot of movement in the Power Rankings. People are just kind of confused. Was Mitch Trubisky injured? Was he benched? We he benched because he was injured? The Bears' losses have gotten weirder and weirder as the season's gone on. Here's what they're saying:

NFL.com – #23
Mitchell Trubisky exited Sunday night's loss to the Rams with a hip injury, but you can forgive the general public for wondering if Bears coach Matt Nagy was looking for a way out. 

ESPN – #20
All Kwiatkoski does is make plays when given the opportunity. The reserve linebacker has been pressed into action multiple times this season because of issues with Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan, and Kwiatkoski has responded each time.

Bleacher Report – #19
The Chicago Bears are toast. They aren't going to repeat as NFC North champions. Or make a second consecutive trip to the postseason.

Yahoo! Sports – #21
I think I believe the Bears when they say Mitchell Trubisky’s hip was hurting. It’s also hard to believe he would have come out of the game under better circumstances.

USA Today – #23
Khalil Mack was completely shut out of box score Sunday night despite going against Rams offense line that's been much maligned this year.

CBS Sports – #21
What's going on with Mitch Trubisky? Was he really hurt, leading to his benching? This thing has gone bad in a big way.

Sporting News – #20 
The Bears' defense is doing its best to hold up with the offense remaining anemic, save for a few random big plays. A bad break-up seems more imminent for Matt Nagy and Mitchell Trubisky in one way or another.