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Chiefs coach Andy Reid backs Bears’ Matt Nagy: ‘Probably smart on his part’

Bears head coach Matt Nagy talks to Chiefs head coach Andy Reid after the Bears' 27-20 victory in a preseason game at Soldier Field. | Nam Y. Huh/AP photo

Bears coach Matt Nagy looked like an odd, wayward branch on the Andy Reid tree Saturday. While Nagy the protege sat second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky and most of his starters in what normally is the most important game of the preseason, Reid the mentor played his starters, including second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes, into the third quarter.

Maybe that’s why Reid disciples — such as the Panthers’ Ron Rivera, the Ravens’ John Harbaugh and the Eagles’ Doug Pederson — have found success in the NFL, while other coaching trees have shriveled. They learn lessons from one of the most successful coaches in the NFL but also learn to think outside of the box.

“Probably smart on his part,” Reid said after the Bears beat the Chiefs 27-20 at Soldier Field. “I didn’t really care about that. I just wanted to make sure we came out and had more reps and got a chance to play together.”

Reid said Nagy called him Friday morning to let him know his team would be facing mostly second- and third-team players. And while Reid acknowledged it was an unorthodox move, he had no quarrel with Nagy’s gambit.

“He knows his team. He has a good feel for that,” Reid said. “He knows this is their fourth preseason game, and I know [the Bears starters] didn’t play much in the first one, but still, they’ve been practicing for quite awhile. He had that extra week [because of the Hall of Fame Game]. It makes for a long preseason. And he had some injuries last week.”

Even coaches so closely aligned do things differently. Reid, for his part, values the need for development over the risk of injury in the preseason with a first-time starter in his second NFL season.

“I use it as a time to sharpen up and get more reps, especially for a young quarterback. Those are the guys who probably are affected by it the most if you don’t have the preseason,” Reid said. “Every rep that Patrick gets is a positive rep, so he was able to come out with a [112.5] quarterback rating [against the Bears], had some great plays and had a chance to make a few others. And he got better than he was the week before. Those are all positive things from our standpoint.”

Mahomes, who completed 18 of 24 passes for 196 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, learned a lot of Reid’s offense from Nagy as a rookie last year, when Nagy was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator.

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“Just how well he related to me as a young quarterback and how well he could explain the offense was something that helped me a ton last year,” Mahomes said.

Reid, after opening his post-game remarks with an injury report — “we came out pretty clean.” — tipped his cap to Nagy.

“I thought Matt did a nice job with his football team on both sides of the ball,” Reid said. “He’s got a great future here. The city of Chicago is lucky to have him.”