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Has The Bears Offense Finally Found It's Idenity?


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Bears offense starting to find rhythm after Nagy gives up play calling

By Cole Van Wey 8 hours ago
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(Photo: Jonathan Daniel, Getty)

In year four of the Matt Nagy tenure, it finally sounds like the coach is finding his role. In many press conferences, Nagy has coined the phrase “Need to find our offensive identity”. That identity seems to be found but it is fair to say that Nagy has found his own identity as a head coach. Any play-caller giving up play-calling duties is going to struggle with the transition, Nagy has fought the transition since criticism rang out in 2020 but sounds like the former NFL coach of the year likes how things are shaping up on game days.

 

“I’m able to really interact with those guys on defense and special teams," Nagy said. "Sometimes I’m running down to find out what the play call is on that first play of the drive because I’m still celebrating with the defense or talking to them. It feels good. I like that. I think as a result you’re seeing what we’re doing offensively, defensively, everything, and if I can be the best head coach by doing that, I’m going to do it”.

 

It is a fair assumption that the warming of the seat has forced Nagy into this new game day routine but it was clearly necessary. The identity that has been sought after year after year has been established through not only David Montgomery but the entire run game as a whole. Bill Lazor knows what he wants to do, understands what he wants to accomplish, and has delivered in back-to-back weeks. Nagy put his pride aside and is finally appreciating how well Lazor has operated the offense.

 

 

 

“I just think that Bill Lazor has done a phenomenal job of being able to come in here and get guys in a rhythm and be able to feel who’s hot and where we’re at," Nagy said. "The other coaches on staff being able to help out, it’s a group deal. Everybody included is what makes this special”.

 

With a newfound trust in the depth at the running back position, it does not appear that that is a group that will be slowing down anytime soon. 331 rush yards in the past two weeks makes Nagy happy that they have that identity but not sold that it will be the lone saving grace the rest of the season.

 

 

 

“It feels good. It feels good to have that. And now what we’ve got to do is as we go through this identity and figure out where we’re at, is now be able to grow with that, right? Because teams start to see who you are and they’re going to have counter ways to come back and counter you and counterattack you and I think that for us we’ve got to counter that. We always talk about you’ve got to keep them chasing the cat’s tail. So I think that’s important”.

 

The Chicago Bears head into Packer week with a lot of momentum. The division is up for grabs which is all you can ask for in any week of the season.

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Just now, soulman said:

“I’m able to really interact with those guys on defense and special teams," Nagy said. "Sometimes I’m running down to find out what the play call is on that first play of the drive because I’m still celebrating with the defense or talking to them. It feels good. I like that. I think as a result you’re seeing what we’re doing offensively, defensively, everything, and if I can be the best head coach by doing that, I’m going to do it”.

Jeezus Matt.  We've only been trying to tell you this for three years and only now are you finally willing to admit we were right all along?

Who says fans don't know as much or more about what constitutes "good coaching" as the guy who are doing it?

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It really is amazing sometimes how little the game has changed in 100 years.  Ask any coach...at any level, if you play good defense and run the ball, you have a good chance to win.  100 years.  A passing game explosion, and it's still very much true.

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I've said it for years, IDGAF if we pass more than Leach would ever dream of or if we mirror the Navy Triple Option offense - points matter more than style and to me that is where your identity comes from. We have rushed for more yards than we have passed for the last few weeks straight. If we were putting up points I couldn't care less, but that isn't because we have a dominating run game. It is because we have an incompetent passing game. A competent passing game would actually help the run game.

 

I hope scoring under 17 PPG isn't indicative of the identity for the offense. Even with the last two games being our "average" we are still about a bottom 10 scoring team - against bad to mediocre defenses. If this is all the identity Nagy and Lazor can offer (of course they will get more time) then there is zero reason to keep them.

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On one hand yes, we have an identity again.... which is ironically the same exact offense Lovie Smith and John Fox ran where we basically run all day.

On the other hand, our passing game right now is atrocious and way below par, and our goal line running is laughable.   I'm not sure if it's a lack of WR talent for the passing game, or both Nagy and Lazor being meh schematically, but we should basically be expecting double or triple the passing game production than we're getting before we can call ourselves a good offense and the elite level qbs can do that more often than not.

That being said, there's also the factor that Fields is a rookie, and rookies are gonna rookie, so our current gameplan is (hopefully) just a factor of making things easier on the developing QB, which I'm 100% OK with...... That said, by Week 15-18 or so I'm expecting this offense to look more like a real offense than a "game manager/protect your rookie qb" offense, and that will involve being able to get the passing game going way more than it currently is.

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I still just can't get over the fact that the identity we are establishing is the exact opposite to what Nagy believes in...Lazor has done a good job of cobbling together enough offensive plays to take advantage of the skill sets we have but long term that won't be enough...we need a head coach who will be fully committed to that identity and Nagy has history of reverting to type...say we lose the next two games and barely put up points...do anyone actually believe he won't take back some more control? We need someone committed to running the WCO because that is what this team do well. 

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I think what we are doing is meshing together two different offenses based on how defenses want to play us. You still have the Nagy quick game, RPOs, and traditional deep shots. However, with a kid QB and shoddy pass protection, you are seeing more of an emphasis on the run (inside/outside zone) and play-action shots off that. 

What I've found most intriguing is if you watch out opponent the week prior, we are stealing run and pass concepts that the previous opponent used successfully. 

That I-formation fake screen draw? The Chargers beat the Raiders up with that play. It's interesting, it's almost as if we are building on the fly and trying to take what has worked in the past. 

I'm okay with it but this early in the season and developmentally, we will not have a lot of reps with said plays. 

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Quite a few of the media types are now discussing the same thing.

It's like OK, the Bears were able to beat two teams with relatively weak run defenses by running the ball effectively and limiting their passing game to benefit Fields transition to #1.  But what happens in the coming weeks when we play teams who can stop the run AND hang lots of points on the board as well?  It's highly unlikely the same game plans and play calling will work against GB and TB.

In order to win games against that level of competition Fields needs to be allowed to do more.  We'll need to challenge downfield with speed and the middle with a TE or defenses will load the box against the run and set up a picket line in the secondary against shorter passes.  The "Baby Steps" we've taken do far need to be lengthened and the offense needs to become more aggressive.

The likelihood of us limiting both GB and TB to 20 points or less isn't good.  We need a 30 point per game offense and we don't have one yet.

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This identity fits the personnel better.

We do not have the OL to shotgun pass the ball 50 times a game. We do not have the weapons to generate a ton of YAC yards. We don't have a QB who's strength is short passes... he is a deep passer.

I am beyond interested to see if Nagy can leave his "system" and lean into this. Would be a major ego check.

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^^^^ Those two said it best, but combine those posts and you've got what the Bears can do against poor to average defenses. I actually like the protection the Bears have been running, but wish they would be a little less predictable about playcalling on down and distances.  Love when they look like run and instead send a guy deep plus an easy checkdown, that's great for Fields right now. 

GB defense isn't anything special, but I'd be stunned if this wasn't a higher scoring game than the last two and the Bears need to keep up.

As to Nagy,  he may be able to be a good HC if he lets this happen, but lets say we win a bunch of games, sneak into the playoffs, but still not great offensively, do you keep him then? My number one priority for this season is that Fields develops and more importantly doesn't get destroyed. If he doesn't protect himself, and ends up playing behind patchwork OL, he's going to have a real short career. I've been saying I'm worried about him being a Lamar Jackson type QB who takes a lot of hits, but he takes WORSE hits while running a lot less. It's really concerning and my heart rate goes up every time he spins around back there.  Throw it away, go to the ground, whatever!

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1 hour ago, RunningVaccs said:

As to Nagy,  he may be able to be a good HC if he lets this happen, but lets say we win a bunch of games, sneak into the playoffs, but still not great offensively, do you keep him then?

It hasn't happened yet and there's a very good chance it won't.

In another season where our strength of schedule was a little weaker the road to 10 wins and the playoffs might have been more probable but Fields is getting his baptism under fire against a pretty tough schedule all while Nagy and his crew try to come up with a scheme and game plans that suit Fields skills, not Daltons.

They should have been doing it ever since he arrived but they didn't so now they have to play catch up.

One of two things can happen. 1) Fields is so good all around and just unpredictable enough that we win some games we should probably have lost.  Or 2) Too many games look like the Cleveland game where they can't come up with anything to protect him and give him an honest shot at winning a game. So he loses more than he wins.

In either event I believe Nagy should be replaced but if I'm a betting man I'll lay money he doesn't.  GMcC is the type who seems more than willing to kick the can down the road and stick with him and his staff to see how much better Fields can be.  I don't believe the front office is thinking ahead to how much better the team could be with better coaching.

This has been a terminal problem under McCaskey ownership.  They've always been too willing to accept mediocrity and not make a major move until forced to.  They haven't forgotten how badly they got stung by that Emery/Trestman fiasco and then thinking John Fox would actually be good for this team.  They'll see 8-9 as OK as long as Fields and the offense have improved.

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6 hours ago, RunningVaccs said:

As to Nagy,  he may be able to be a good HC if he lets this happen, but lets say we win a bunch of games, sneak into the playoffs, but still not great offensively, do you keep him then

I'll respond to this with your own quote:

6 hours ago, RunningVaccs said:

My number one priority for this season is that Fields develops

It's really going to depend on what it all looks like by weeks 15-18 (and/or beyond if we sneak into playoffs)..... The passing offense needs to basically AT LEAST double its production by then in my mind, for me to want to keep Nagy.

As for who the next HC would be, again that would depend on what the team looks like by week 15-18.... If the defense builds on what it's been doing early on pass rushing wise, and gets the blown coverage stuff on the back end figured out, Desai might actually be my top HC candidate now, just so he doesn't get poached and we have stability on at least that side of the ball. That said, we're quite a ways from being able to elevate him just yet, especially considering the coverage lapses, and need to see growth from him/the defense much in the same way we need to see growth from Nagy/Lazor/Fields/Passing game.

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Right here is the problem with keeping Nagy if we want to get the best out of Fields...

Week 3

Designed runs called 29%

Play action 27%

Under centre 7%

Week 4+5

Designed runs called 64%

Play action 34%

Under centre 56%

Nagy's entire ethos as a coach is completely different to what Lazor has working for us...I find it really hard to believe any offence can have a true identity when that identity is the exact opposite of the head coach.

 

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