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Nagy finds value having former head coaches on his staff


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Matt Nagy finds value having former head coaches on his staff

ByMatt Eurich 9 hours ago

Being the reigning NFL Coach of the Year does not keep Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy free from criticism.

Nagy did unbelievable things in his first year in Chicago. He helped change the culture of a losing franchise, he led the team to 12 wins and claimed an NFC North crown. His team was also filled with All-Pros and Pro Bowl players along the way. Despite all the positives, Nagy had a few speedbumps in his rookie season. With the way his coaching staff is loaded up for the 2019 season, he now has more resources than ever to fall back on when needed.

The coaching staff features two assistants who previously served as head coaches at the NFL level and one who led a major NCAA program as a head coach. The two former NFL head coaches include defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano and senior offensive assistant Brad Childress. Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich served as the head coach at Oregon before joining Nagy's staff last offseason.

Nagy has three coaches in those positions who he can lean on for advice in key situations throughout the year on either side of the football. The hiring of Childress came on May 1 and Nagy likes having former head coaches on his staff.

“He'll have some game day responsibilities," Nagy said about Childress at rookie minicamp. "Everybody here knows how well we get along and how much I look to him for advice, and not just on offense, but how to run things as a head coach. So having him and coach Pagano as a former head coach, it’s been great for me."

Having former head coaches on the staff could help Nagy make better in-game decisions, especially when it involves timeouts. A major gaffe that occurred last season came in early December in a loss against the New York Giants. The Bears had a lead in the second quarter with time running off the clock. His defense had slowed down the Giants offense on that final position and he called a timeout with 17 seconds remaining. The Giants picked up the third down and eventually made a field goal to end the first half. Momentum then appeared to fall in New York's favor heading into halftime.

The Bears went on to lose that game.

Nagy also has had some moments where he has gone away from what has worked for him offensively. In the playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in January, Nagy went away from one of his best weapons on offense in running back Tarik Cohen. The talented young back carried the ball just one time and caught three passes for 27 yards. Having someone like Childress on board could help Nagy operate better on game days.

The Bears have a coach in Childress who has been in the coaching world since 1978. He took over as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings in 2006 and held that position until he was fired in November of the 2010 season. He went 39-35 as a head coach and 1-2 in the postseason. He and Nagy previously worked together in Kansas City. Childress was also with the Bears for part of last offseason.

Pagano began coaching as a graduate assistant at Southern California in 1984 before climbing the ranks. He took over as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 and held that title until after the 2017 season. He went 54-43 during the regular season and ended his time there with a 3-3 record in the playoffs. He is yet another coach who gives Nagy someone he can lean on for advice during in-game situations.

Lastly, Helfrich gives Nagy another perspective as a former head coach. He ran the show at Oregon between 2013 and 2016 and went 37-16 during that time.

Nagy may have the hardware to prove he is among the top coaches in the entire NFL, but his decision to bring along more coaches to his staff who have previous head-coaching experience shows he wants to get better.

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