It’s been just over 48 hours since the Chicago Bears lost to the Cleveland Browns in week 3 but debates continue among the Bears fanbase and the NFL community about who was really at fault for Chicago’s offensive woes: Head coach Matt Nagy or rookie quarterback Justin Fields.
Talk to Bears fans and they’ll tell you Nagy was at fault. Listen to some in the national media, and two groups will emerge: Team Nagy and team Fields. Then there’s a third group that is willing to blame both, citing Nagy’s poor game planning coupled with Fields’ inability to get the ball out quickly as a reason for the Bears debacle on Saturday.
The answer is simple: Nagy. Three full seasons and three games into year four as head coach, Nagy has cycled through five starting quarterbacks and has yet to put together a consistent offensive. The Bears have struggled on offense and limped to the finish line each of the last two seasons, which has led to questions about Nagy’s ability to be a head coach.
From Fields’ perspective, there isn’t much that could’ve changed Sunday’s outcome. As a rookie, mistakes are expected, especially from the quarterback position. Smart coaches are able to minimize those mistakes by putting young quarterbacks in a position to succeed. Whether or not you believe that Fields was fully prepared to start, Nagy failed to put Fields in a position to succeed by not game planning around Fields’ strengths.
Considering Nagy was a catalyst behind the Bears’ decision to move up and draft Fields back in April, the fourth-year head coach needs to take the most blame for Fields’ failures. Fields arrival in the Windy City sparked newfound hope throughout the Bears fanbase, as many felt that Fields was as close to a franchise quarterback as the Bears franchise had seen in its 102-year history.
Negative narratives will continue to surround Nagy until the much-lambasted head coach can design and flawlessly execute an offense that fits Fields’ skillset. Nagy’s seat may not be hot but back-to-back losses could make his seat lukewarm, beginning the end of the Nagy era in Chicago.