With the heat on, Bears coach Matt Nagy vows to right the ship
At a low point after back-to-back losses, Nagy has few answers but a lot of confidence the Bears can get up off the mat.
If you were looking for Bears coach Matt Nagy to crack Monday — to battle with the media, to throw quarterback Mitch Trubisky under the bus or just to throw up his hands and declare, in Mike Ditka-like frustration, ‘‘We may not win another game’’ — you were in for a big disappointment.
Nagy was his typical self after hitting a low point in the wake of the Bears’ discouraging 36-25 loss Sunday to the Saints at Soldier Field. He was enthusiastic, composed, resolute, optimistic, defiant, realistic and as candid as he could be.
He doesn’t know why the Bears ran the ball only seven times. And he acknowledged reality in a way few coaches do when he dismissed Trubisky’s two touchdowns in garbage time.
‘‘I could care less about those stats at the end of the game,’’ Nagy said.
Nagy turning down even a weak opportunity to prop up Trubisky? It was another small indication he is watching the same game we are.
While all eyes are on Trubisky, Nagy is facing the most scrutiny with the Bears 3-3 and looking as though they’re heading into the abyss. All the things Nagy was hired to do have failed: Develop Trubisky. Build an offense. Win the game-day battle against defensive coordinators.
Now his biggest strength as a coach — manager of people, leader of men — is under the microscope after fractures in the foundation seemed to show following the loss to the Saints. Running back Tarik Cohen and receiver Allen Robinson responded to critics on Twitter. The entire starting-linebacking corps blew off postgame interviews. Cornerback Prince Amukamara acknowledged the disappointment, if not the frustration, of the defense when he said: ‘‘I feel like we’re losing our identity.’’
If getting Trubisky and the offense going is Job 1 for Nagy, keeping his ship sailing straight ahead is Job 1A. When the offense is pulling the defense down, like this one is, there’s always a risk of division. It’s human nature.
‘‘I’m OK with frustration,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘I get frustrated. That’s natural. But what happens now is when we’re all in our building and we’re together, they all understand that we all have to have accountability. They have to make plays, but you can’t start trying to take each other apart or any of that stuff. That’s not what we’re going to do.’’
We’ll see about that. This isn’t the Marc Trestman team that imploded in 2014, but Nagy has to prove he can keep this team together and give it a chance to get up off the mat.
‘‘I have ultimate trust — I really do — in who our players are as people, how they handle this,’’ he said. ‘‘I know they’re going to lead each other. They’re allowed to have frustration after the game. If they don’t, it means they don’t care. So there’s frustration and there’s ways to help each other out.
‘‘I’m curious to see who are going to be the leaders that step up and take this thing over. I know it’ll happen, but I’ll be curious to see who those people are.’’