Maybe it's fitting that no one could hear the start of Matt Nagy's press conference. The coach's disastrous night continued straight through the Bears' 24-10 loss and into his postgame availability, when most of his opening statement was muted to all 40 or so media members on the Zoom call. But if you take Nagy at his word, you didn't miss much.
"This is a game today where there’s not a whole lot to say in that locker room other than, in these situations we’ve got to be able to show what type of resolve we have to bounce back from something like this," he said. "But this is a part of the NFL. This is a part of the league. How are we going to respond? What are we going to do? That’s our next challenge.”
That may be true, but I imagine another challenge Nagy might have is sleeping on the flight home. He coached poorly on Monday night, perhaps as poorly as ever. It takes 20 seconds to look at their 3rd down conversion rate (4-14) or the total net yardage (279) or the fact that they had six times as many penalties as offensive touchdowns (0) and get a pretty good sense of how things went. Take 20 more seconds to listen to what everyone said after the game and you get an even better sense of how things, on a larger level, are going.
"I mean if I had the answer right now in this moment, we probably wouldn’t be talking about it," Nick Foles said. "I think it’s just ya know, keeping it real, this is where you test your culture. This is where you test the people you work with. Whether it’s the coaches and players. Like who are we going to be?"
If that's what it takes, the Bears should be thrilled. If Nagy – who still has a healthy excess of job security, so calm down – can proudly claim any success over the first three years of his Bears' tenure, it's the culture he's helped create at Halas Hall. But culture doesn't leave timeouts on the board to end a half, just like culture hasn't stopped the Bears from continuing to make unforced errors coming out of timeouts. They've failed to score 21 points in over half of Nagy's games as a head coach, an alarming fact that, somehow, still feels under-discussed.
"This is hard. I’ve never been a part of this before," he said. "It’s a situation where, for all of us, it's very frustrating trying to figure out answers. The hard part is when you care so much, you’re trying so hard to figure out that identity and where we’re at – and the why part. That’s the part that stings – just trying to get that thing right. And it hasn’t happened."
He's not wrong. It's hard to be a good coach with a bad quarterback, and it's really hard to be a good coach with a bad quarterback playing behind an even worse offensive line. But Nagy traded for Foles because he knew the offense better than Mitch Trubisky, and then benched Trubisky 10 quarters after he beat Foles out for the starting job. The offense was always going to be a work in progress, they said, even after the switch. Four games later, we're still just seeing a lot of work without any progress.
"And It’s not clicking right now. It’s not," Nagy added. "As any competitor, and I’m as competitive a person as there is, that’s the part where I have to challenge myself to stay patient and challenge myself to not get frustrated as well, and continue to keep coaching to the best I can and look at everything."
There's no doubt that the Bears feel happy with Nagy as a competitor and a leader – those are great, and valuable, things to be. But right now, one of the NFL's worst offenses really needs a good coach.