Bears

What's next for Matt Nagy after the Bears fired him?

Bears

Following a wild day of upsets in the NFL in Week 18, Matt Nagy joined the infamous list of fired coaches for the 2021 season on Black Monday. Alongside former Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, Nagy will be hanging up his headset for Chicago once and for all.

What do Bears chairman George McCaskey and team president Ted Phillips have up their sleeve?

With head coach Nagy out of the picture, the Bears will enter the 2022 draft in April with fresh eyes. The next coach will gain 2021 first-round pick Justin Fields at quarterback. But who will run the show?

Something even more questionable, but maybe not as pressing – what will Nagy do next?

 

What happened Sunday during the Bears-Vikings game?

The Bears had a good run last night against Minnesota in the first, second and third quarters. They scored 17 points before the Vikings hit 10. But in the fourth quarter, the Vikings took the reins and landed 21 points in the endzone. The end result left the Bears in yet another state of despair, losing twice in a row to Minnesota this season.

The Bears finished the season with a 6-11 record and they did not make the postseason. 

Why was Matt Nagy fired?

Despite leading Chicago to the playoffs twice and seeing no losing record in his first three years with the Bears, Nagy ultimately failed at his attempt to showcase Chicago as champions, or even slightly successful, for that matter.

Nagy, a former quarterback in the Arena Football League and offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, was hired in 2017 to replace John Fox.

Both head coach Nagy and GM Pace were notified before the 2021 season that their futures with the Bears relied on some sort of progress this season. Bears chairman George McCaskey and team president Ted Phillips allowed the two to return, but remained skeptical. 

And even though Chicago received Justin Fields, the very sought-after rookie quarterback, in the 2021 NFL Draft, the progress McCaskey and Phillips hoped for never translated.

Another reason why Nagy was criticized was his choice in announcing free agent quarterback Andy Dalton as a starter without giving rookie Fields a chance to land the position. And instead of a smooth transition, Fields ended up being thrown in the deep end head-first once Dalton sat out on a knee injury. 

 

“His lack of reps with the first-team in the preseason didn’t help as he went through his predictable rookie struggles,” said Adam Hoge, NBC Sports Chicago’s Bears Insider. 

How does Matt Nagy feel about the Bears’ season? 

In a press conference following Chicago’s 31-17 loss on Sunday night against Minnesota, Nagy spoke highly of both his team and the opposers.

“The game kind of got away a little bit,” Nagy said. “We just didn’t come out in the second half and finish them, so you have to give credit to them.”

Nagy spoke to the guys after the game, assuring them of what they accomplished, despite losing twice to the Vikings and ridding themselves of any shot at the postseason.

“This has been a long season but we all need to use these life experiences to make us better,” Nagy said. “These guys care. We care in that locker room. We care as coaches.

“This isn’t where we wanted to be or how we wanted to do it. As I say every year to the team: Every NFL team is different heading into the next year whether its players or coaches.” His pure words suggest that Nagy is supportive of his team and all of their efforts throughout the 2021-22 season, win or lose. His tone is hopeful and it is evident he was not prepared for the sudden absence that was requested on Monday morning.

“The big picture is understanding that it hasn't been what we wanted but always keeping the mentality of how do you use this to make yourself better. Even as a head coach, how do I make myself better?”

 

Did Nagy know he was going to get fired?

During Sunday’s postgame press conference, Nagy looked into the future.

 “I’ll have time when the season ends to reflect as always.” 

He obviously did not see what was coming next, or maybe he was just in denial.

“There’s a really bright future for our team,” Nagy said.

“I’ve never been in this position before and I continue to just go about business like normal. I’ve had conversations that nothing has changed. I know this: whatever is supposed to happen will happen. I am a positive person. But it’s about these players right now. They sacrifice their bodies every day. Everything else will take care of itself how it's supposed to.”

It does not seem like he was prepared for what McCaskey and Phillips were about to spring on him, but he is also very aware of what comes with taking this type of job.

When questioned by a reporter about what next steps will be for the coach, Nagy said he knew exactly what he signed up for: “On a year-to-year basis you’re always understanding what comes with your position.”

What’s next for Nagy?

Considering Nagy was only half prepared for this decision, his next steps are pretty ambiguous.

But what we do know is that Nagy will continue to support the Bears and stand up for what he believes in.

“The position that I’m in right now, I feel like it’s my job as a leader to continue to stay positive with these guys,” Nagy said. “Whatever has happened in my four years here, there’s a reason for all of it. Let this stuff refine you, not define you.”

 

In terms of the Bears, we know Nagy is finished. But will he still have a chance at coaching? Is his career over? 

I guess we will have to wait and see.