Column: As a report of Matt Nagy’s imminent firing swirls, the Chicago Bears leave their coach to fend for himself. Whether it’s after Thursday’s game or before Week 17, the end seems near.

According to popular lore, when the American humorist Mark Twain was asked about rumors that he was gravely ill, he replied, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

The quote itself is somewhat exaggerated, but the gist remains the same.

Matt Nagy didn’t go quite that far Tuesday afternoon, but he did use the word “inaccurate” to describe a report that the Chicago Bears have informed him they will fire him after Thursday’s game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

The fact the Bears let the report by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Konkol sit out in the open all morning meant no one felt compelled to rally to Nagy’s defense, whether the report is true or they don’t want to get into the business of commenting on every report that comes along.

It was a weird day at Halas Hall, but that’s the way it goes sometimes when a team is mired in a five-game losing streak that includes blown leads in the final minute of the last two games. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor — who filled in as acting head coach for the Week 8 loss to the San Francisco 49ers while Nagy was out with COVID-19 — wound up being the first team employee to answer questions about Nagy’s tenuous future during his weekly session with reporters.

Tabor backed his boss, and then an hour or so later, Nagy came straight from the practice field — where the Bears held two walk-throughs in preparation for the winless Lions (0-9-1) — and addressed the swirling rumors.

“I have great communication with ownership, with (Chairman) George (McCaskey) and (President) Ted (Phillips) and (general manager) Ryan (Pace), but I have not had any discussions,” Nagy said.

That’s not surprising given the quick turnaround before the Thanksgiving Day game.

“My focus right now is on these players and on Detroit,” Nagy said. “That’s it, and I think that’s my job as a head coach and a leader is to do that. These guys, these players have been amazing. They’ve been great.”

In 1999, the Bears announced the hiring of Dave McGinnis as head coach to replace Dave Wannstedt. The problem was they didn’t have a contract finalized with McGinnis, and he wound up walking away after the fiasco.

Yet even by Bears standards, informing Nagy he has four more days and one more game to coach before firing him would be bizarre.

The Bears (3-7) rank near the bottom of the league in most key offensive categories that do not involve running the ball, and the offense has been stagnant since the second half of 2018, when the Bears won the NFC North with a 12-4 record and Nagy was named NFL Coach of the Year in his first season. The team has lost 15 of its last 21 games, including the playoff exit in January in New Orleans, and it’s becoming impossible for Nagy to say he has shown “progress” — to use the word McCaskey uttered nearly a year ago.

With …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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