Bears head coach Matt Nagy comes from the Andy Reid coaching tree.
Everyone knows that.
It’s also well known that Reid’s aggressive style of play calling has influenced some of his former pupils: most notably in Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and – at times – Nagy.
So far, though, in Nagy’s young career as a play caller, when the time in the game demanded for him to be aggressive, the coach may have been physically on the sidelines but that mentality was nowhere to be found.
This notion was validated in the second half against the Packers in Week 1, a game all Bears fans want to forget, and also in the 31-28 overtime loss to the Dolphins. On the Bears’ second possession in OT against the Dolphins, the play calling resembled something former Bears head coach John Fox would have been proud of.
After Jordan Howard sprung free for back-to-back 19-and-15-yard runs, the offense hit a wall. On first down from the Miami 41, Howard ran the ball for a 2-yard gain, which wasn’t an issue considering how Howard ran the ball the previous two times.
But, everything that followed was highly questionable.
Arguably Nagy’s worst decision as a head coach came on second-and-8 with 2:54 remaining in OT. On the field for the crucial play was the starting offensive line, with rookie James Daniels, Mitch Trubisky, Dion Sims, Ben Braunecker, Trey Burton, Benny Cunningham and Josh Bellamy.
If that doesn’t scream conservative and not wanting to at least attempt to get a first down, I don’t know what will. Cunningham’s last appearance in the game other than special teams was right before halftime, which was a meaningless play.
That personnel group in the closing seconds of the game demonstrated Nagy was more concerned with losing yards rather than gaining them. The first-year head coach should have gone back to his roots by staying aggressive with putting the best personnel on the field for the offense to be successful.
Instead, Nagy did the exact opposite.
On third-and-4, the Bears put Howard back in the game and some actual receivers; Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller were at least lined up to give the illusion that the Bears might pass. Except Gabriel didn’t move after the snap and instead watched Howard fail to pick up a yard.
Cody Parkey then missed his 50-yard field goal attempt, which is no chip shot, but considering he signed a four-year, $15 million contract in the offseason, it is a field goal that needs to be made.
Nagy was brought to Chicago to revolutionize the offense, and despite the small sample size, he seems to have the Bears ascending in that direction. But if the Bears are going to win close games, they will need Nagy to be aggressive in the closing moments of the game.
Luckily, this week’s matchup against the Patriots could provide another opportunity for Nagy to correct his most recent mistake.