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Matt Nagy: ‘Everything starts with me’ as Bears regroup after bye

The most important regular-season week of Matt Nagy’s young head-coaching career is actually two.

Chicago Bears v Denver Broncos
Coach Matt Nagy spent the bye week trying to fix the Bears’ offense.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The most important regular-season week of Matt Nagy’s young head-coaching career is actually two.

He spent the bye week trying to fix the Bears’ offense by examining his own tendencies and scheming ways to better run the football. Only three teams — the Dolphins, Bengals and Jets, with a combined record of 1-15 — average fewer than the Bears’ 3.5 yards per carry.

This week, Nagy’s preparing for the 5-1 Saints. And trying to sort through whether injured quarterback Mitch Trubisky can start.

Along with general manager Ryan Pace, Nagy helped maneuver through a sensitive situation, deciding to put guard Kyle Long on injured reserve with a hip injury, all but ending his Bears tenure Monday. They’re still deciding on whether to put defensive lineman Akiem Hicks on IR, another difficult decision in a season full of them.

“It’s a situation where, for me as the leader, everything starts with me,” Nagy said. “So with these players, with the coaches, it all begins there. I want to make sure that my personality and who I am never gets affected and never changes.

“We talked about it — there are a lot of things that have gone on this year in the first five weeks of the season that didn’t really necessarily happen last year in the first season.”

Nagy has faced more adversity this season than he did all of last year, from injuries to linebacker Roquan Smith’s personal issue to the Bears’ offense — his baby — ranking third-to-last in yards per game.

Nagy spent the bye week self-scouting his own plays and tendencies.

“I got to step back and look at the 30,000-foot view for me as to where I’m at right now and how can I help [do] my part to make us better,” Nagy said. “Whatever that part is, whether that’s X’s and O’s, whether that’s leadership skills, communication, whatever that is, I feel like I have a good grip on that. So we’ll see where that goes. That, to me, is where it starts.

“And then as far as the decision-making goes, there’s a bunch of us that make decisions, but those come and go. There are going to be tough decisions. That’s why I’m in this role right now.”

There’s no questioning the leadership acumen of the reigning NFL coach of the year. His play-calling, though, hasn’t kept up pace.

“Especially on offense with some of the struggles that we’ve had, you get caught up in that and consume yourself with it,” he said. “There’s a right way and a wrong way with it, and I feel like the last several days, really all of last week, I’ve had a good balance of being able to reflect, kinda reload on where we are.

“And I feel good with the stuff that we’ve done as a staff, that we’ve discussed where we’re at and then looking for solutions.”

The players got last week off, a strategy employed by Andy Reid, Nagy’s mentor, who is 17-3 after byes. The coaching staff did not. Frustrated by the loss to the Raiders, they met last Tuesday and Wednesday at Halas Hall before Nagy sent them home for the rest of the week. They all continued to work.

“When my kids are at home and they’re around, I’m a dad, and that’s what they get,” he said. “When they’re not around, then my mind is staying put on football.”

It remains there this week, as Nagy tries to prove he can revive his offense — and a season that, thus far, has proved disappointing.

“For us, five games into it, we could be in a lot different scenario — and we’re not,” Nagy said. “And I promise you that what we’re going to get from here on out with us as a team is guys that come to work every day, coaches that come to work every day that are positive, energetic, having fun and just worrying about today.”