Bears

Numbers grow in Bears coaching search, but 'target' difficult to ID

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Numbers grow in Bears coaching search, but 'target' difficult to ID

General manager Phil Emery promised that his search for the next Bears head coach would be thorough. If quantity is any indication, Emerys search already is close to qualifying as such.But while the number of candidates continues to grow almost daily, and it says that Emery was sincere when he said last week that no one is excluded, it is reasonable to wonder whether the Bears were certain they could do better when they fired Lovie Smith.The lineup of more than a dozen candidates suggests that a change was set in motion without a short list already developed. The search continues to be more shotgun than rifle, not necessarily a bad thing or even surprising for someone (Emery) going through the process for the first time.By contrast, when the Bears fired Mike Ditka after 1992, the consensus hot candidate was then-Dallas defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt. Bears President Michael McCaskey had a short list but the clear target was Wannstedt and McCaskey simply out-hustled the New York Giants for him.The 2013 market is different and the Bears are in play with several of the current hot candidates: Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman.Besides current Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub, former colleague Dan Pompei over at the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday that Mike Singletary is also on the guest list for Halas Hall, along with Mike Priefer, special teams coach for the Minnesota Vikings. Singletary, also an assistant head coachlinebackers with the Vikings under coach Leslie Frazier, was sought as an assistant by Dick Jauron but was nixed by then-general manager Jerry Angelo.Singletary subsequently went on to coach the San Francisco 49ers for a couple of seasons, leaving with an 18-22 record that included the 2008 season with Mike Martz as his offensive coordinator.
Critiquing candidatesPhil Emery made it abundantly clear that his new coach will be someone who comes in with an ability to work with what he has, in addition to working with Emery on personnel additions. Some of the candidates pose interesting issues in the work-with area.Bruce Arians would bring a superb quarterback development portfolio, but whether he brings a system workable with the Bears talent base is what his interview would address.Andrew Luck was sacked 41 times last season and hit a multiple of that, according to one NFL source. The sack total was the most of a Colts rookie quarterback. Peyton Manning was sacked 22 times as a rookie and never more than 29 times with Indianapolis.Arians is aggressive and throws downfield even with shaky protection, which has a distant ring of Mike Martz. Luck is extremely mobile and physically strong, and is a timing passer. Whether Jay Cutler adapts to Arians system, or vice versa, is a franchise-level question.I discussed Houston offensive coordinator Rick Dennison previously and a question in his meeting with Emery will undoubtedly be whether the Bears can run a zone-blocking scheme in the run game. Right now the Bears are significantly bigger than the Texans line that runs this mobile system, and Emery and Dennison will need to be clear on what Dennison wants to run, what Emery has for him to run it, and what the Bears will do this offseason and beyond to facilitate that.

Former GM says Matt Nagy will lose his job if Bears don't trade for QB

Former GM says Matt Nagy will lose his job if Bears don't trade for QB

There have been some strong takes on Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky over the last 24 hours, but none have been stronger than former NFL general manager Mike Lombardi's.

Lombardi, who now contributes to The Athletic, has always been a harsh critic of Trubisky. He's never believed in the former North Carolina product's ability to become a franchise quarterback and has taken often taken shots at the Bears' signal-caller.

And while Lombardi's never-ending lamenting of Trubisky sometimes comes across as agenda-driven, it's hard to dismiss his negativity at this point. Trubisky hasn't given Bears fans much ammunition to defend him. Now, with the offense hitting rock bottom against the Saints in Week 7, Lombardi is at it again.

This time, he has coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace in his crosshairs.

"If the Bears don’t make a trade for a quarterback, Nagy will lose his job within a year, and the team will never reach its full potential," Lombardi wrote on Monday. "That is not a mere guess, but a statement that has been backed up by NFL history and the experience of being in the NFL for so long.

"Making a trade might be hard internally because General Manager Ryan Pace has put his career on the line by making the move to bring Trubisky to Chicago. He traded assets to move up one spot in the draft, and it will be hard for him to admit that Trubisky cannot play. But he cannot let his ego get in the way of doing what is right. Teams cannot solve a problem if they don’t admit they have one, and Pace needs to stop lying to himself and others about his evaluation of Trubisky. The time has come." 

Suggesting that the Bears should make a trade for a quarterback before the deadline isn't the worst idea, especially because Chicago's defense is good enough to lead the team to the playoffs if there's a halfway competent quarterback under center. But it's a massive and ridiculous leap to suggest Nagy and Pace's jobs will be lost if they don't make a trade this season. Remember: Nagy was the NFL's Coach of the Year in 2018; he isn't on the hot seat. And while Pace certainly will have egg on his face for missing on Trubisky if the third-year quarterback doesn't develop (quickly), there's no reason to assume he won't get another offseason or two to get it right.

The more likely scenario, if Trubisky does, in fact, bottom out, is that Pace and the Bears will sign one of the veteran free-agent quarterbacks who will hit the open market next offseason. Players like Andy Dalton, Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota, while not world-beaters, would represent an upgrade at the position. Nagy just needs a guy who can be his Alex Smith; a game-manager who can score enough points to assist the defense. Any one of those three fit that description.

Perhaps the Bears missed on Trubisky. Maybe he'll turn it around. But to suggest Nagy and Pace won't get another swing at the position, together, is nothing more than a fiery hot take.

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With running game, Nagy makes plea for patience: "I know we need to run the ball more. I’m not an idiot"

With running game, Nagy makes plea for patience: "I know we need to run the ball more. I’m not an idiot"

Matt Nagy brought a whoooole bunch of positive energy to his Monday morning press conference at Halas Hall. 

"First of all, you will never pull me down," he said. "That's number one. Never. You won't do it. Second of all, you'll never pull our team down. It doesn't matter what we're going through. It'll never happen. Not under my watch. That's just not how we roll."

The coach's trademark brand of endless, enthusiastic optimism took a hit after Sunday's humiliating loss to New Orleans. The Bears were outclassed by a short-handed team, at home, coming off the bye week. They set the record for fewest run attempts in Bears' history. After the game Nagy said they were going to "sit in it" that night, and from the sound of his answers on Monday morning, that hadn't ended yet. 

"I know we need to run the ball more. I’m not an idiot," he said. "I realize that. Seven rushes and the minimum amount of times, I totally understand that."

"You need to do it. I never go into a game saying I want to throw the ball 54 times. I would love to go into a game and say I want to run the ball 54 times. But that hasn’t happened. This is what I have to answer to.”

You've read it all already; things are bleak. They're the 30th ranked team in every rushing category except for the ones they're ranked 29th in. Against the Saints, the Bears handed the ball off to wide recievers the same amount of times (2) they gave it to David Montgomery. No one got more rushes than Tarik Cohen (3), who said after the game that he doesn't really even consider himself a running back – and is often scouted as a reciever by opposing coaches, according to Nagy. 

"... nine catches for 19 yards, you know, that’s not where we want to be," he said. "And it’s unacceptable for all of us. We’re definitely searching right now. There’s no doubt about it. But as I said, so last night you deal with the emotions, you watch the tape last night, you see where you’re at and now for us we can’t hang on to what just happened.  We’ve got to fix it and we’ve got to understand and be aware that offensively we’ve had some bad performances now." 

Nagy knows he and the Bears are out of excuses, and having to say the same thing every Monday morning for the last month is clearly eating at him. And while there may be some more reliance on Trubisky or Mike Davis' legs (from the sounds of it, mainly the former), there's probably still an element of patience involved. (I know, I'm sorry. Please lower your voice.) 

"Right now we’re not having productive plays in the run game any way you look at it," Nagy said. "But I want positive plays. I want plays — and part of the patience is that as well. There’s no doubt about it, there’s gotta be more patience.

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