So, what exactly was it that you were expecting from Justin Fields and the Bears in the rookie’s first NFL start?
Answering that question might help put your feelings about the Bears’ 26-6 loss to the Browns in better perspective.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s no way to sugarcoat an absolute disaster of a game. Rolling a turd in powdered sugar doesn’t make it a chocolate doughnut.
If you were expecting Fields to struggle on the road in a hostile environment against a good defense, then you were only moderately surprised by the beating he took, and the lack of offensive production.
If, however, you were one of those Bears fans who felt his presence was like the second coming of Christ, then you’re likely out on the ledge of a steep cliff somewhere looking for a good place to jump.
Or, you’re just bitter and angry at Matt Nagy and blaming all of the team’s woes on him this morning.
Let’s analyze a few things. Before I go down a rabbit hole defending Nagy to the point you think I’m related to the guy, I will acknowledge that he has made plenty of mistakes in his game plans and his game day play calling. After all, Nagy himself told the media he didn’t do a good job getting the offense ready to play against the Browns.
But with all that said, it is utter foolishness to say that all the problems from yesterday’s game were his fault.
And I commend running back David Montgomery who, after the game while speaking with FOX, defended his coach.
“It wasn’t his fault,” Montgomery said of Nagy. “He’s not out there playing. It’s on us. We’re the ones out there playing. How are we going to blame it on somebody else not out there playing?
“…the play don’t make the play. The players do.”
He’s ultimately right. Whether or not Nagy calls plays that meet the approval of the fan base is irrelevant. How the players execute those plays is what counts. The best play callers in the NFL can’t succeed without an offensive line. Don’t believe me? See last year’s Super Bowl when the Kansas City Chiefs — one of the best offenses in football — tripped over themselves against a tough Buccaneers defense because the Chiefs’ offensive line play was horrendous.
And, Bears fans: the Chiefs have way better skill position players than the Bears do, and a better play caller in Andy Reid. If they can’t succeed without good offensive line play, can the Bears?
What kills me most of all is the insistence of all the amateur play callers out there who think they have the magic formula to make the Bears a successful offense. A quick perusal through the Twittersphere shows all the master game plans laid out throughout Sunday’s disaster.
Similarly, it slays me to see those who want Nagy to give up play calling and hand over the reins to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. As if he knows where to find the “super secret plays” in Nagy’s voluminous playbook that will make this engine purr.
The fact of the matter is that general manager Ryan Pace should be receiving the majority of criticism today, not Nagy. Because it is Pace’s offensive pieces that have failed. Maybe Nagy isn’t an offensive genius, but it’s ridiculous to label him a bust while he’s been handicapped with square pegs since Day 1 in Chicago.
So, where do the Bears go from here? As of Monday afternoon, the Bears don’t have a starting quarterback. At least, not one whom Nagy is prepared to announce. Andy Dalton is hurt. Justin Fields is hurt and not ready for the full-time gig yet. So, third-stringer Nick Foles suddenly enters the conversation.
The Bears have a very winnable game at home next week against the Detroit Lions. For as bad as they are, though, the Lions have played three very competitive games up to this point. They just missed out on their first victory of the season after Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker kicked an NFL-record 66-yard field goal to win the game on Sunday.
In short, the Lions are not just going to come into Chicago, roll over and play dead. Their meatball coach, Dan Campbell, and his contingent of fiery assistants will have their guys ready to compete.
The big question this week for the Bears is: will Nagy have his offense much more prepared than he did against the Browns?