Matt Nagy is a COVID scratch against San Francisco on Sunday, and the timing may be fateful. The Bears are 3-4, and finding criticism of Nagy is pretty easy. I mean really easy. Like finding a Squid Game Halloween costume easy.
When you consider the expectations heaped on rookie QB Justin Fields, Nagy’s alleged offensive guru-ness and how underwhelming both have looked on the field and on the sidelines, you can see why Nagy was one of the favorites for first coach fired until Jon Gruden came in like a racist Kool-Aid Man. The Bears’ most notable moment this season was Aaron Rodgers screaming, “I own you!” in Soldier Field, and Bears fans agreeing.
He’s not the first coach to miss a game due to COVID, but he’s definitely the worst coach. And when you’re under fire, giving your critics grenades is ill-advised. There is no narrative that comes out pro-Nagy.
If they win, it’ll be addition by subtraction; if they lose, he’ll get blamed for negligence; and if Fields looks remotely-to-drastically more comfortable, he’ll get himself Mike Martz-ed.
Getting fired while on leave for health reasons would be an apt way for the Nagy era to end, with people so sick of you they’re just like, “Nah, we’re good.” I think we’ve all had that boss who goes on vacation and the office runs markedly smoother.
Chicago would be .500 and in the mix for the last playoff spot with a win, and no one would blame management if they used this as an out on Nagy rather than let him return and potentially stave off termination.
I also don’t see how a loss would improve his standing either. The offense has been abysmal and can’t look much worse, and he’ll get no credit for anything the defense does. Who is going to write “Nagy missed in Bears loss”?
Fields is the determining factor in all this, and it’s concerning Nagy didn’t seem to know that until recently. The development of a QB may not be as important as the QB, but when you have someone with the tools to be the guy, who is developing him is vital. Nagy couldn’t even be bothered with game-planning around his rookie until after Fields took over, and now he literally can not do his job.
The 49ers haven’t looked as advertised so a Bears win isn’t inconceivable, as is the case against Pittsburgh the following Monday. After that is their bye week, and if they’re sitting at 5-4, maybe they can turn things around as far as Bears fans and Fields not being depressed as a collective.
That said, we can play what if games all day — an occupational hazard — but Bear’s fans seem to have their opinions firmly set on Nagy, and a COVID absence at a turning point in the season only serves to concretize those stances.