Bears tight end Jimmy Graham sat down for a Saturday morning Zoom session with Chicago media and, naturally, the first question to the 11-year veteran was about Matt Nagy’s decision to give up play-calling.
Graham's reaction: Huh?
He seemed genuinely surprised to learn the news.
"Um, I didn’t know that he’s doing that," Graham said, appearing to look up at a media relations staffer with a look of bewilderment. "I don’t really -- I had no idea he was doing that. I don’t really watch the news. That’s interesting. Yep. I got no comment on that. I didn’t know. I’ll have a better answer for you later."
Nagy said Friday he wasn’t going to make a big deal to his players about handing play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. He said he talked to a few players – presumably his quarterbacks, primarily – but wasn’t going to call a team-wide meeting to announce the change.
So Graham’s response – essentially “I didn’t know that” – fits with the approach Nagy described Friday.
“This is not something that I had a big team meeting and explain to everybody that this is what I’m doing,” Nagy said. “I have communicated it with some guys because really when it comes down to it, I think it’s important to understand that, no matter what, I want to make it loud and clear that these guys understand that when we’re calling plays, we want to make these plays work. There’s a part of that too where no matter what play you call, it’s the players job when you’re out there to be able to execute a play fast, play hard and make it work, but our guys, again, I think our players have ultimate trust in our coaches.”
Earlier in the week, wide receiver Allen Robinson brushed off a question about Nagy's willingness to give up play-calling by saying, basically, it doesn't matter to him.
“If that happens, that happens. I don’t even know how that would come about,” Robinson said. “I don’t think they would inform the team that that’s being changed or anything like that. That’s the last thing on my mind, the last of my concern. I just go out there and I run what’s called and play what’s called.”
Robinson’s attitude there – run whatever play is called – is exactly what Nagy wants his players to have, and is why he didn’t make a big deal about it to his team.
More players certainly will find out about Nagy’s decision in the coming hours leading up to Monday night’s kickoff against the Minnesota Vikings. But while it’s a huge deal for Bears fans – and for Nagy, personally – if Lazor’s play-calling goes as planned, it won’t be a big deal to nearly every player at Soldier Field Monday night.
"(Nagy's) got a winning mentality," Graham said. "All he wants to do is win. Simple as that. That’s all we talk about. That’s all we’ve been talking about, and that’s all we talk about in this building. He’s doing anything and everything he can to make sure that we get going and make sure that we get wins."