Column

Matt Nagy’s offense is broken and something needs to change

Column

When it comes to fixing the Bears’ offense, everything should be on the table.

Should the Bears sign or trade for another offensive lineman? Yes, definitely.

Should head coach Matt Nagy consider playing Mitchell Trubisky again? Maybe.

Should Nagy consider giving up play-calling duties? Again, everything should be on the table.

We already knew the Bears’ offense was broken. The Bears’ 24-10 loss to the Rams in Los Angeles Monday night just confirmed the obvious.

Same offense. Same approach. Same players. Same results.

“I’m not going to challenge any of our guys effort, but something is obviously off,” Nagy said after the game.

So what will the head coach do? Well, here’s what he can’t do: He can’t line his unit up against the New Orleans Saints Sunday at Soldier Field with the same players and the same approach. Because that’s exactly what happened against the Rams. The Bears’ offensive line issues have been glaring for weeks, yet there were no obvious adjustments or personnel changes. And the most damning moment of the game came in the fourth quarter when ESPN analyst Brian Griese said this:

“We were talking to Nick Foles yesterday and he said, ‘Sometimes play calls come in and I know that I don’t have time to execute that play call and I’m the one out here getting hit. Sometimes the guy calling the plays, Matt Nagy, he doesn’t know how much time there is back here.’ So that’s something that they have to get worked out.”

 

Yikes. On the surface, this appears to be Nagy’s hand-picked quarterback openly questioning the play-caller, which is significant. And it happened BEFORE Monday night’s disaster.

“We’ve never had that conversation,” Nagy said when NBC Sports Chicago’s JJ Stankevitz read Griese’s quote to the head coach. “Nick and I have a pretty good relationship and he hasn’t said that.”

Foles had a chance to see the clip before he spoke with reporters and he chalked it up to a miscommunication. He claimed he was telling Griese about the conversations he has with Nagy on the sidelines, in which he’ll let the head coach know that he doesn’t have enough time to run a certain play.

“In that situation with Brian, it was just a miscommunication because that's not what I was trying to bring across in that conversation,” Foles said.

Regardless of the fire drill that will certainly continue on sports talk radio and podcasts throughout the week, the reality is that Foles doesn’t have enough to time to execute many of the plays being called. I maintain that no play caller is going to have much success with an offensive line struggling this much, but the issues run deeper than just the plays that are being called. Remember the first two weeks of the season, when the Bears actually had some success running the football? Football Outsiders even had the Bears’ offensive line ranked as high as No. 6 in the NFL at one point.

What was the biggest difference? Well, the most glaring difference is that a different quarterback was playing. Nagy was running a noticeably different offense when Trubisky played earlier this season. It was somewhat simplified, with less shotgun and heavier run sets. It didn’t prevent Trubisky from getting benched, but it did help the offensive line play better. And it’s also likely that Trubisky helped the offensive line look better with his mobility and ability to scramble. It is probably not a coincidence that the issues up front became more noticeable when the quarterback switch happened.

“You gotta run the ball in this league. We’re trying to figure out ways to do it. Right now we gotta be better there. It starts with me,” Nagy said.

Switching back to Trubisky wouldn’t necessarily fix the broken offense, but the personnel changes available are limited. Such a move would have more to do with the style of offense the Bears are playing and less to do with the idea that Trubisky would play better than Foles. But on that topic, it’s not really a stretch to suggest that Trubisky would play better, because Foles hasn’t been that good.

Regardless, this is on Nagy to find solutions. He changed his offensive coordinator, offensive line coach, quarterbacks coach and quarterback and yet, the offense looks exactly the same: broken.

“This is hard. I’ve never been a part of this before,” Nagy said. “It’s a situation where for all of us, it’s very frustrating trying to figure out answers.”

 

But those answers need to be found. And everything should be on the table.

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