Andy Reid: Matt Nagy helped build ‘University of Quarterbacks’ with Chiefs

Before the Chiefs sprung Patrick Mahomes on the NFL — and the quarterback threw 50 touchdown passes to win the league MVP crown — they gave him a redshirt year.

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Kansas City Chiefs v Chicago Bears

Bears coach Matt Nagy and Chiefs coach Andyr Reid talk before a 2018 preseason game.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Before the Chiefs sprung Patrick Mahomes on the NFL — and the quarterback threw 50 touchdown passes to win league MVP — they gave him a redshirt year.

Matt Nagy, Kansas City’s offensive coordinator in 2017, was Mahomes’ tutor in the quarterbacks room. Mahomes didn’t throw a regular-season pass as a rookie until Week 17, when the Chiefs’ playoff fate already had been sealed.

“That was a great room to grow up in,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Wednesday. “Matt Nagy is your coach; [quality-control coach] Mike Kafka, who played, he was in there. And then [starter] Alex Smith.

“I mean, come on. That was like the University of Quarterbacks for ya, right there.”

Culture was the key — a dicey proposition when the room had a veteran starter and a rookie drafted to eventually replace him.

Nagy said Mahomes would “be the first to tell you that that year he spent redshirting under Alex Smith is probably gonna go down as a very significant year to him to grow.”

They all learned to trust each other.

“No. 1,” Nagy said, “they’ve all got to have each other’s back.”

While Reid said Nagy “has kinda done the same thing” in Chicago, signing Chase Daniel to be the veteran voice, the magic hasn’t quite followed.

If the Chiefs quarterbacks attend a university, the Bears are more like a junior college.

That’s what makes Mahomes’ trip to Soldier Field particularly irksome for Bears fans. Not only did the Bears make a trade to draft Trubisky over Mahomes, they employ the man who helped Reid prepare the Chiefs quarterback for stardom.

The Chiefs interviewed Trubisky and Mahomes before the 2017 draft. The former came off the board second overall, though, and they eventually traded up to draft the latter 10th overall.

“He has those great instincts to go with everything there,” Reid said. “He loves playing. He loves playing the game. That’s a fun thing to be a part of.”

Reid has been a sounding board for Nagy during this not-so-fun season. He talks to Nagy more than any of his former pupils.

“He’s just a calming presence,” Nagy said. “He’s somebody that I trust as a friend, as a mentor. The amount of trust that I have for him and the experience — the life experiences and the coaching experiences that he’s been through and the experiences we’ve been through together for so many years — he’s taught me to be who I am as a coach. And taught me to be myself as a human being.

“And so when those times arise where you need a little bit of advice from somebody who has been through something, he’s the guy I go to.”

Reid is protective when talking about his friend — and the 7-7 record that followed his 12-4 Coach of the Year campaign. He cited injuries and luck as “things you can’t control” as biting the Bears.

“[Nagy] is so mentally tough,” Reid said. “He tries to get the best out of his guys. The guys know that. So he’ll be fine. . . .

“He’s not going to hang his head. You know how he is. I mean, he just keeps going. He’s going to try to fix the issues and go with it. And that’s how he rolls. That’s the sign, I think, of a good coach.”

Nagy, he said, is in the right place.

“Chicago is a tough place,” Reid said. “It’s a blue-collar place, and that’s what he is. He’s a central [Pennsylvania] guy; he’s got that toughness. I just think it’s a great fit.”

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