From Matt Nagy’s secret bunker, the real story of the Bears’ loss to the 49ers!
In which the head coach reveals what’s what about Chris Tabor, the guy who filled in for him Sunday.
This is Matt Nagy reporting to you from an undisclosed location. My Bears — my Bears, OK? — just lost 33-22 to the 49ers. Because of COVID-19 protocols, I was not allowed to coach the guys today. As many of you already know, I have chosen to keep my whereabouts a secret. The reason for my whereabouts being a secret is also a secret.
All I can do is promise you that the decision to go underground is “real’’ and that the “why’’ of it eventually will come out.
I might be somewhere far away — or am I? — but I hear what people are saying: The Bears’ offense sure looked better with special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor filling in as head coach! Allow me to let all you geniuses in on a little secret: You think Tabor invented the use of tight ends? You think Tabor had an epiphany to call set run plays for quarterback Justin Fields?
If I tell Tabor I need a cup of coffee, I don’t need to tell him about the cream and sugar. It’s his job to know. I’m up here on the organizational chart. He’s down there — I’m pointing to my knee, but you can’t see that. If you could, we’d have a security breach.
You people are forgetting that I helped design the game plan during the week, and you’re clearly dismissing the possibility that all the good plays were my doing, which, by the way, they were. And let me throw in a third thing: Ever heard of Harry Potter’s Cloak of Invisibility? Can you say with 100% certainty that an unseeable me wasn’t whispering in Tabor’s ear on the sidelines? No, you can’t.
The easiest thing in life is to take the most obvious route. It’s why in the first seven games of the season I didn’t take advantage of Fields’ amazing ability to run with the ball. In other words, I knew that opponents knew what I was going to do, so why would I do that, even if it were the most prudent path?
Sometimes I just shake my head and say to myself, “I love Being You, Matt!”
But I am willing to adapt. So that wild touchdown run by Fields in the fourth quarter today, that 22-yard, crazy-legged, defender-abusing thing of beauty on fourth-and-one?
All my idea.
That’s right. We had a team meeting earlier in the week, and even though I couldn’t take part in person because of COVID, I could tell via Zoom that the guys were getting even closer to each other than they were before, which I didn’t think was possible. Camaraderie was through the roof. Anyway, I distinctly remember saying, “Let’s run that play where Justin, under extreme pressure, somehow avoids everybody on the other team on his way to the end zone.’’ There was no response to my suggestion on the Zoom meeting, just lots of blank looks from players and coaches. I banged my headphones on the desk and yelled, “Are these things working?’’ Nothing.
But the proof is in the results, folks. Fields rushed for 103 yards and that touchdown today. He threw for another. The offense was 8-for-15 on third-down attempts. And we — yes, we — scored on five of our first six possessions.
Some of you are saying that this game was a referendum on my abilities as a coach and that a decent effort by the offense against an injury-riddled 49ers defense means I should be canned. OK, I’ll play your game. Tabor should be named head coach because Fields threw for a measly 175 yards? If he throws for 175 yards when I’m coaching, the city wants to run me out of town!
What’s that? Some of you think Tabor resembled a veteran head coach on the sidelines? Who do you think taught him to look so assertive while going for it on fourth down? That’s my firm jaw! That’s my steely stare! I’m 30,000 feet over Nebraska, holding the briefcase with the nuclear codes, and this bozo is stealing Matt Nagy!
“I was extremely comfortable,’’ Tabor said in his postgame news conference. “At the end of the day, we’re football coaches and leading men to do something and get something accomplished.’’
Yeah, you’re a little too comfortable, buddy. Start cleaning out your desk. It’s probably filled with kicking tees anyway.
Wide receiver Darnell Mooney said Tabor was “energizing’’ on the sidelines, and even though I’m taking his quote completely out of context, Mooney is gone, too!
Fields told reporters that a text I sent him before the game was “inspirational.’’ All that does is play into the perception of me as the cheerleader-in-chief. I ceded the play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor a few weeks ago, and no matter how much I try to tell people that the offense is mine, that I’m its creator, it seems to go in one helmet earhole and out the other.
It’s clear to me that I have a lot of work to do in the swaying of public opinion. I’m not who people think I am. Or where they think I am. Wherever that is.