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Hub Arkush: Like his QB, Bears rookie head coach Matt Nagy requires some patience

September 15, 2018

LAKE FOREST – When I have my Jimmy Olsen erstwhile reporter’s hat on, my mission is clear: I have to get the story right, and I have to have the facts to prove I did. Nothing else matters.

But when I go all Mike Royko, Red Smith or Jerry Magee on you — not that I could or ever will be worthy of walking in any of those giants’ shoes — and am delivering a column, the job is quite different.

Here my job is to be thought provoking. It is to offer you my opinion on a topic of current interest, based on as much inside information and analysis as possible, hopefully written in an entertaining collection of words with at least a few clever turns of phrases and intended to get you to form a strong opinion of your own.

So today I feel like we need to have a conversation about Bears rookie head coach Matt Nagy, much like our discussion the other day about the inexperienced Mitch Trubisky.

Did the Bears blow a 20-point lead over the Packers with less than 20 minutes to play because Nagy was as inexperienced as an NFL head coach can be, coaching his very first game?

No! But it certainly didn’t help.

I was struck by this thought Friday while visiting with Nagy and my media brethren when Nagy was asked what he leans on to get his team to bounce back after such a particularly bitter loss?

Nagy did not reply, “I don’t know because I’ve never had to do it before,” but he could have.

Instead he spoke about how he’s trying to get his team and coaching staff to grow together, “Just being me. Don’t change. I’m not going to change a thing, I’m not,” he said.

“It’s one game, and I understand the magnitude of it, but we also need to keep an idea here of where we’re at.

“We’re Week One, so as long as we look back at the end of the year and we somehow used this quote unquote failure or learning experience to the good of us down the road, I know we can’t see that right now and that’s my message to the team.”

Did Nagy make some bad play calls in the second half on third-and-short that very well might have changed the outcome of the game if they were converted?

He was the first one to say he did in his post-game press conference, and he said now that he’s been there, he’ll probably do things differently next time.

Nagy was also asked if there’s any way when he first got the job that he could have planned how he was going to respond when his team lost a game like it did last Sunday night.

“You can try to but I don’t think it’s as authentic as it is just after it happens.

“We’re building our own identity right now as a team, so if I try to predict who we are in the offseason, how I’m going to handle a loss to this team or that team, it’s hard.”

Actually, everything about the job is hard and Nagy was handed one of his most difficult challenges his first night at work.

The bottom line on where these Bears are at right now is this: Nagy was hired because of his outstanding offensive chops, credentials to develop a young quarterback and bring the Bears attack into the 21st century.

But his mere 10 years as a coach before getting a top job in the NFL make him almost as inexperienced in his field as Trubisky is in his.

I’m not saying give the man a pass, I’m saying let’s learn a second lesson from Aaron Rodgers this week and “R-E-L-A-X” at least just a bit.

The good news is the talent got here a little quicker than we expected, but this is still going to take some time before we fully know exactly who these Bears are.

If Nagy screwed up in Green Bay, it’s because he didn’t know any better, not necessarily because he can’t do any better.

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