Nowhere to go but the exit for Bears coach Matt Nagy after 34-30 loss to Lions
The coach who proclaimed last year, “I’m not an idiot,” hasn’t supplied enough evidence. And his latest embarrassment is the final push out the door.
Bears coach Matt Nagy tried changing quarterbacks, handing off play-calling duties and absurdly pleading for ‘‘personal pride’’ from his players. None of it worked, and he is out of moves.
There’s nowhere left to go but the exit.
There might be a delay because the McCaskey family doesn’t fire coaches in-season, but Nagy’s future — or lack of one, rather — with the Bears was cemented with an epic collapse in a 34-30 loss Sunday to the Lions.
This was ugly enough to justify an exception to that policy and say goodbye to Nagy and defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano before sunrise Monday. In a season in which several weeks have felt as though they finally must be rock bottom, Nagy found a new, more torturous way to fail.
There are parts of this disaster of a season that aren’t his fault. That’s why general manager Ryan Pace must go. That move is a year overdue.
But there are also many parts of this that are very much Nagy’s fault. This isn’t something that has happened to him; he has contributed substantially to the mess. He has squandered all credibility he earned in his first season, and he, too, must go.
When asked why the Bears have collapsed in the two seasons since going 12-4 and winning the NFC North, Nagy had no legitimate answer, and that’s why he has to go.
‘‘I don’t know,’’ he replied. ‘‘All I know about is who our players are as people and how they handle this stuff. . . . It’s not because of lack of trying.’’
There is no more explaining, no more clinging to Nagy’s strong character and exemplary leadership traits, no more wait-and-see while he keeps promising the Bears are on the cusp of a breakthrough.
The coach who insisted a year ago, ‘‘I’m not an idiot,’’ hasn’t acquitted himself of that implied accusation. Nagy gave that line a day after the Bears set their 100-year low for rushes in a game, and, fittingly, his refusal to run the ball doomed him Sunday.
With a 30-27 lead and a mere two minutes standing between them and the end of a five-game losing streak, the Bears called a pass. Then they did it again, having quarterback Mitch Trubisky drop back to throw on third-and-four with 1:48 left. Regardless of whether those plays were called by Nagy or his deputy, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, the results were familiarly calamitous.
The hard truth about Trubisky blowing the game with a fumble at his own 7-yard line is that he did the Bears a favor. The loss eliminated any possible rationalization the organization could have for keeping this miserable team together.
Firing Nagy and Pace also would be merciful because the most helpful thing the Bears could do now is finish as close to 5-11 as possible and hopefully get a top-10 draft pick. Nagy and Pace would have no interest in steering them through that sludge, only to benefit their successors.
The bottom line for Nagy is that he was hired to do two things: develop Trubisky into a viable quarterback and pump life into the offense. Neither has happened.
It’s impossible for an alleged offensive mastermind to oversee such a dreadful offense and keep his job. At a time when scoring in the NFL never has been higher, Nagy’s team has scored 20 or fewer points in half its games. He is 25-19 as the Bears’ coach, but he would be sub-.500 if not for inheriting an elite defense. His cumulative offensive numbers in three seasons severely trail what the Bears did under Marc Trestman and, in some cases, are worse than they did with John Fox in charge.
‘‘Is this right now a difficult time? You’re damn right it is,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘It really is. It’s hard. It challenges you in a lot of different ways.’’
Nagy didn’t make any argument for the Bears to keep him, nor should he have. After this debacle, there isn’t one.