For the Chicago Bears, being the last to know that this current experiment isn’t working has led to a rather uncommon (and often uncomfortable) past two weeks. Head coach Matt Nagy has gone from being booed at Soldier Field to having “fire Nagy” chants ringing out at the United Center even as the Chicago Bulls were getting blown out.
The climax was the student section of Lake Forest High School breaking out the chant during a game in which the coach’s son was playing.
The Chicago Bears are the last to recognize their failures under Matt Nagy
Whether or not that is appropriate is another topic altogether. The fact is that it is indicative of just how toxic the situation has become. And ‘toxic’ is truly the right word if we are to believe the recent comments from players like Allen Robinson. He said he would speak for himself if he didn’t like Nagy, and safety Tashaun Gipson who went a step further.
“I think everybody in the locker room love playing for Nagy,” and that “This is not that,” in reference to previous teams he had been on falling apart amid adversity. “Nowhere near that. I think guys are still focused on winning football games.”
That’s all well and good, but with reports last week that there were players who wanted him gone and a report on Tuesday that said his firing was imminent following the game against the Lions on Thanksgiving, the writing is on the wall. The former cited “an overwhelming number of players” feeling change was necessary.
It was what wasn’t said about the latter story that raised eyebrows further, however.
While Nagy did refute that he had been informed of his firing, he declined to speak in terms beyond this week and was, reportedly, less than reassuring when addressing players following a meeting with his bosses.
No disrespect towards Gipson, but his opinion should not change the math on Nagy. Neither should be long for this town.
But on Wednesday, George McCaskey came out and said plainly there was no truth to the report. This is the definition of tone-deaf. Instead of getting out in front of this and putting out any fires created, they let it fester and take on a life of its own. They only addressed it after the idea has built on its popularity.
The Lions’ Share
For Bears fans, the measuring stick for futility has always been the Detroit Lions. For the most part, even in the worst seasons, they could always count on the Lions being worse. That may still be the case on paper. But one team has certainly shown more fight more consistently than the other and it isn’t the Bears.
They have yet to win a game. They’ve had a game end in a tie first. The Lions will also be without starting quarterback Jared Goff.
Nagy has beaten the Lions in six of the seven meetings since he’s been at the helm of the Bears. The first loss came late last season in what was Detroit’s last time in the win column.
That means nearly 20 percent of his 31 career wins as a head coach came versus the bottom-feeder of not only the NFC North but of the NFL at large. That’s nothing to write home about when added to his record coming off of a bye or against good teams. It also doesn’t account for losing to a team with a backup quarterback making his first start.
Now, this team has to worry about their kneecaps being bitten off by a feisty Lions team. This while having the rug pulled from underneath them with the reports from Tuesday and Wednesday.
They’re also dealing with a slew of injuries. Justin Fields and Akiem Hicks are among the inactive. Allen Robinson is doubtful and in danger of missing his second straight game.
As far as Thanksgiving Day games go, this won’t rank among the best. A battle between Andy Dalton and Tim Boyle isn’t what anyone had in mind. The latter made his first start last week. It will be interesting, should the Bears somehow drop this game, to see what ownership does after painting themselves into a corner for now.
It might be even more interesting to hear the rhetoric coming out of Halas Hall if they win, as they should, come Thursday.
Bears Last to Know
It’s been apartment since at least last season that this regime was likely on its way out. When ownership got up to the microphones to defend their decision to bring both Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace back, it was with the idea that all of the “other things” that were “all there” would no longer be satisfactory. That report from Mark Konkol is the closest they have come to living out that truth. They’ve already done their best to combat the message.
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