Happy Birthday, to us!
One year ago today, we launched the Ten-Yard Line and things are already a quite a bit different around here and Soldier Field.
The Bears have new faces at quarterback (the best among his rookie class, according to one site’s metrics) and head coach (the best head-coaching prospect Andy Reid has ever had), as well as a new-found sense of optimism based on the team’s direction under new leadership.
For those of you who were here from Day 1, I extend my sincerest gratitude. I’m thankful for your presence in the comments, on Facebook, and in our replies on Twitter. As for those of you who have joined along the way, you’re welcome here, too (I guess …), and I’m thankful for your arrival.
That we are building this community at the same time the Bears build their team from the ground up is exciting on so many levels. Thanks for being here and I hope we’re doing this for a long time and for some championship teams.
Now, let’s talk some ball …
- Matt Nagy might be an unorthodox hire by Bears standards and the timing might have been awkward to some after the Chiefs’ offense sputtered in the second half (which Nagy took full responsibility) of their soul-crushing playoff loss to the Titans. But the energetic vibes he produces seem to make him the kind of coach NFL teams are gravitating to right now. Talk about a perfect fit for what the Bears need after three years of John Fox:
“He’s young. He’s energetic. Everyone’s looking for that next wave. This is their guy.”
Why is Matt Nagy the right hire for the @ChicagoBears?
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 10, 2018
- Ryan Pace showed the same kind of conviction in hiring Matt Nagy he last showed when drafting quarterback Mitch Trubisky, writes John Mullin of NBC Sports Chicago. The Bears have never attacked the quarterback-coach combination in the way Pace has done in each of the last two seasons. In doing so, he has attached his future to that of a first-time head coach with minimal play calling experience and a quarterback with 25 starts under his belt since graduating high school. Perhaps it’s that kind out outside-the-box thinking that will move the Bears away from what they’ve been (bad).
- As we suspected, Trubisky was part of the reason Nagy accepted the job. Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com writes about the coach-quarterback dynamic, which actually started when Nagy was digging into Trubisky as a draft prospect. During Tuesday’s press conference, Pace mentioned how he and Nagy compared the draft notes they compiled on Trubisky. Clearly, there was something Pace liked about what Nagy saw. And there was definitely something Nagy sees in Trubisky that made Chicago the right place for him to take the next step as a head coach.
- The Bears needed someone who believed in Trubisky. In turn, they hired someone Trubisky could believe in. “A quarterback has to trust the quarterback coach,” Nagy said, via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago. “And the quarterback coach has to trust him. That goes for the system and the philosophy. Honesty. You have to be honest. The quarterback needs to know when he’s doing something wrong or how he can get better. The coach needs to understand when he’s not teaching something the right way or he sees something wrong, he’s got to be able to admit his mistakes.”
- Trubisky was honest this year in his self-assessment. He shouldered the blame for some costly mistakes along the way and turned them into teachable moments. You can’t say Trubisky made the same mistake twice as a rookie, which should be viewed as a clear sign of development. Then again, I’m not sure we could say the same for Fox – who infamously said Trubisky played his best after a three-interception game against the Detroit Lions.
- Of course, Trubisky wasn’t the only factor that led Nagy to Chicago:
Source tells me the Indianapolis Colts were all in on hiring Matt Nagy. Uncertainty on health of Andrew Luck vs Mitchell Trubisky + Nagy’s belief the Bears roster is much better made decision for him. “Pace landed him by convincing him sunny days are ahead for the Bears.”
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) January 9, 2018
- Nagy will lean on his background as a leader to help push the Bears forward under his watchful eye, writes Greg Gabriel. Nagy has been a lead dog from the start, someone who has pushed forward at every opportunity. For Trubisky to take that next step in his development, he would be wise to mimic Nagy’s aggressive style and adopt his leadership traits. Nagy comes from a strong developmental line with Andy Reid and Brad Childress showing him the ropes. That Nagy successfully implemented run-pass options to Reid’s West Coast Offense says a lot about how Reid thought of his pupil.
- Arthur Arkush of Pro Football Weekly digs into the Andy Reid Coaching Tree and dissects what Nagy could have learned in his years working for one of the NFL’s winningest coaches. Nagy became the seventh assistant to work for Reid to jump into a head coaching position and he made it clear how much of an influence Reid been since 2008.
- Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that Nagy sees a little bit of himself in Trubisky. This is an interesting perspective from Nagy via Finley, but it also got me to thinking about how Nagy should remind Pace of himself. Altogether, the Bears have a young trio of offensive-minded go-getters at the three most important spots in the organization.
- As for the Chiefs, it didn’t take long for them to find Nagy’s replacement. Ian Rapoport reports the Chiefs are expected to promote from within and insert Running Backs Coach Eric Bieniemy as the new OC. Based on the history of coaches who serve under Reid in that role, it won’t surprise me if Bieniemy is a head coach candidate sooner, rather than later.
- While baseball’s hot stove is frigid (has anyone tried blowing in the cartridge yet?) the Bears made a minor move in signing cornerback Jonathon Mincy to a reserve/future contract. Mincy played for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, which unfortunately brought us Marc Trestman. Mincy is just 25 and the Bears should be bringing in as many defensive backs as humanly possible considering the free agents who could leave the team in the offseason.