DETROIT — It has never seemed more inevitable that the Bears will fire coach Matt Nagy. They’ve given him time to turn the offense around, but their confidence has rightfully plummeted in the three dispiriting seasons since his terrific debut.
If anything, they’re late to act.
The only uncertainty is whether Nagy will be dismissed in the coming days or in January. Considering chairman George McCaskey told the players Wednesday a report of the team planning to fire Nagy after the game against the Lions on Thursday was false, sources said, perhaps he’s willing to let Nagy finish the season.
He’ll leave with memorable moments, from the thrills of 2018 to the maddening missteps that at one point compelled him to infamously declare, “I’m not an idiot.” Regardless of when he exits, the low bar for the remainder of Nagy’s tenure is to avoid any additional nonsense.
He must prevent this situation from becoming even more embarrassing than it already is. This is a lost and wasted season either way, but for the sake of the Bears, the fans and his future job prospects, he can’t let this devolve into a total clown show during however many games he has left.
That’s pretty much what it was Sunday, when he heard fans at Soldier Field chanting, “Fire Nagy,” and “Nagy sucks,” as his team imploded in a 16-13 loss to the Ravens.
It was the clumsiest scene of the Nagy era:
• The Ravens scratched former MVP Lamar Jackson and beat the Bears with a young, backup quarterback making his first career start.
• The defense got another flag for too many men on the field and had a backbreaking blown coverage in the final minute.
• Either Nagy or offensive coordinator Bill Lazor torpedoed the opening drive with a puzzling run play on third-and-five at the Ravens’ 16, and the Bears walked away with no points.
• Nagy bungled his timeouts in the second half, including one with two minutes left in which he obviously lost track of the score.
As bad as the game was, the postgame news conference was worse as he butchered his excuses. Bears fans are as eager for him to stop talking as they are for him to stop coaching.
Then the mess spilled into the next few days.
Nagy offered no defense of how he steered the Bears to a 3-7 record, the farthest below .500 they’ve been since he started. He left his quarterback situation murky between Andy Dalton and Justin Fields, refusing to answer direct and simple questions about Fields’ health, even while national media outlets reported details.
Then came the Patch.com report that the Bears had already informed him Monday that he would be fired after the Lions game.
Nagy’s responses to a smattering of questions about being fired provided a snapshot of the day at Halas Hall. Special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor was miffed by similar inquiries an hour earlier, and players followed by doing their best to be diplomatic.
That chaos is beyond Nagy’s control. It’s squarely on McCaskey, president Ted Phillips and general manager Ryan Pace to put out that fire, and they’ve shown no inclination to do so. If he finishes the season, Nagy likely will face more days like that if his bosses remain silent.
All he can do, as he often says, is stay locked into the games. And as tiresome as it has been to hear that repeatedly, everyone would appreciate him running the team competently as he finishes his term.
The Bears don’t have to be great, and no one’s expecting them to make a wild run for the playoffs. They just need Nagy to guide them to the end of this without everyone laughing at them.