Bears aggressive in naming Nagy 16th head coach

Nagy (right) learned under long-time NFL coach Andy Reid.

Nagy (right) learned under long-time NFL coach Andy Reid.

The Chicago Bears acted aggressively, and somewhat surprisingly, in targeting and landing former Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Matt Nagy as the team’s new head coach. The 39 year-old Nagy comes with limited experience but has mentored under one of the NFL’s most-respected head coaches in Andy Reid. He’ll be formally introduced in a Tuesday press conference at Halas Hall.

Nagy’s meteoric rise up the coaching charts mirrors the Los Angeles Rams hiring of Sean McVay last season, a move that paid immediate dividends with a NFC West title. Whether the Bears can capture lightening in a bottle remains to be seen. Just ten years ago, Nagy was selling real estate in the Philadelphia area after a six-year playing career in the Arena Football League prior to accepting a coaching intern position under Reid with Philadelphia.  He progressed through the Eagles organization and accompanied Reid to Kansas City where he became the Chiefs QB coach and most recently served as the Offensive Coordinator the last two seasons.

Nagy began calling plays for the Chiefs offense during the 2017 season, and Kansas City had the fewest turnovers in the NFL while averaging more than 6.0 yards per play this past year. Rookie running back Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rushing during the regular season with 1,327 yards on the ground, while Smith threw a career-high 26 touchdowns. The 25.9 points per game the Chiefs averaged this season under Nagy’s coordination ranked sixth in the league.

Nagy will be the sixth current NFL head coach to have previously been an assistant under Reid, joining Baltimore’s John Harbaugh, Carolina’s Ron Rivera, the New York Jets’ Todd Bowles, Philadelphia’s Doug Pederson, and Buffalo’s Sean McDermott.

Bears General Manager Ryan Pace selected Nagy over other more well-known candidates including Minnesota OC Pat Shurmur and New England Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, among others. Pace has developed a reputation in his short tenure with the Bears as a risk-taker, something evidenced in a hire that will surely define his career in Chicago. High atop Pace’s wish list for a new head man is a belief that Bears Quarterback Mitch Trubisky can be developed into a franchise QB. Reportedly, Nagy coveted Trubisky during last year’s draft process and the two developed a good relationship on the scouting trail. Now, the Bears trio of Nagy, Pace, and Trubisky will be charged with leading the Bears out of the wilderness and back into relevancy.

Beyond Nagy’s arrival, the question remains as to whether Vic Fangio will stay as the Chicago Defensive Coordinator.  Fangio becomes a coaching free agent Tuesday and should have a number of interesting options. The Bears hope he remains, but Fangio may not be content in a subordinate role after getting passed over for the top gig.

Paw Prints: A 2001 graduate of the University of Delaware with a degree in health and physical education, Nagy played quarterback for the Blue Hens, where he set several school records, including career passing yards (8, 214) and touchdowns (58). As a senior, Nagy was named an All-American for his play….While setting records for the Georgia Force in the Arena Football League in 2005, Nagy played for former Bears Safety Doug Plank, the Force’s head coach. …As Nagy fills out his staff, two current assistants who are well-regarded by Bears brass are TE coach Frank Smith and QB coach Dave Ragone.

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