The Chicago Bears have a new leader in Matt Nagy, and the more I step away from the official announcement, the more I like it.
All things equal, the Bears hired a hot head-coaching candidate (to be clear, that’s not a hot-head coaching candidate) while he was on the rise, and before he was scheduled to meet with the Indianapolis Colts for their opening. They didn’t slow-play their search, only to watch their guy get poached by a more aggressive team. They replaced old and desperate with young and hungry, and I love what this says about the new Bears.
It will be easy for some to default to “same old Bears” while reading about Nagy’s hire, but it’s anything but based on everything we’ve experienced as Bears fans. This organization has trusted a young general manager and an up-and-coming head coach with a background of developing quarterbacks under a well-respected, long-tenured offensive mind to nurture the growth of Mitch Trubisky – who was the highest chosen quarterback in franchise history. None of this is same old Bears.
When John Fox was hired to replace Marc Trestman in 2015, Pace explained how he shared a vision for the future with his first head-coaching hire. “Strong defensive play, physical offense, run the ball, which we’re going to have to do in Chicago; build through the draft,” Pace said, via the Daily Herald. “Those are some similar philosophies.”
Three years later, the Bears have a defense that ranked 10th in yards and ninth in points to go along with a running game led by Jordan Howard, who trails only Ezekiel Elliott and Le’Veon Bell for most rushing yards since the start of the 2016 season. Nagy will be the beneficiary of the foundation as visualized by Pace and Fox, but he’ll be tasked with the toughest challenge in sports, and that’s developing a young quarterback with upside into a franchise leader.
When you’re the Bears and have struggled as much as they have in the last few decades, you’re basically in a position where you’re banking on nabbing the next up-and-coming coach because that established candidate isn’t walking into Halas Hall to save the franchise – Bill Belichick wasn’t walking through those doors.
We don’t know yet if Nagy will end up being the right hire, but we do know that the process was sound and appropriately aggressive. The Bears interviewed six candidates, all of whom were highly regarded when things started, targeted their guy, and then actually made it happen.
The “same old Bears” would have never gotten it done.