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A New Hope: Matt Nagy appointed HC of the Chicago Bears

Last week saw the Chicago Bears announce their new Head Coach, Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Matt Nagy. Nagy interviewed with Bears General Manager Ryan Pace immediately following the Chiefs playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans. Pace was keen to add a young, offensive-minded coach to partner with 2017 2nd overall draft pick QB Mitch Trubisky – and Matt Nagy fit that bill. A product of the Andy Reid coaching tree, the 39 year old has spent his entire coaching career under the tutelage of the Kansas City coach. Elevated to offensive coordinator in 2016, Nagy became a hot coaching candidate when he took over play calling duties midway through the 2017 season with the Chiefs suffering a season-threatening offensive slump. Nagy’s play-calling saw the Chiefs offense return to their early season form, and the new Bears HC has been credited with coaxing the best year of Alex Smith’s career and the aiding the development of Chiefs first-round pick QB Patrick Mahomes. Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, both in their second year and with offensive-minded coaches around them, have developed into top 12 options at the position and the Bears will be hoping that Trubisky, now partnered with Nagy, will follow a similar trajectory.

The 2017 Chicago Bears ranked 29th in points scored, 30th in yards gained, 32nd in passing yards, and 16th in rushing yards (all stats per game). The appointment of Nagy won’t mean an overnight fix, and Jared Goff-Rams like development might be overly optimistic for this Bears team, but there is certainly cause for optimism. Nagy’s 2017 ranks as Chiefs offensive coordinator: 5th in total offense, 6th points per game, 7th passing yards, and 9th rushing yards. Clearly there is cause for optimism as a Bears fan seeing these sorts of statistics, the Chiefs offense was extremely efficient and entertaining. The Chiefs’ offense is also more complete, and for the Bears, and more explicitly Trubisky, to make the leap in 2018 responsibility will fall in the hands of Pace. It’s no coincidence that Wentz and Goff made their sophomore leaps when surrounded by upgraded talent at the skill positions.

Approaching free agency and the 2018 draft, the immediate position in dire need of upgrade is wide receiver. The Bears do not possess a true wide receiver #1, neither a possession receiver such as Travis Kelce, nor a speed option like Tyreek Hill. With an estimated $40m in cap space the Bears could easily afford to make a play at Allen Robinson, an obvious agreement for both parties would be an Alshon Jeffrey-esque 1-year “prove-it” deal. A more affordable option in the market could be Albert Wilson; who will already be familiar Nagy’s offense given their time at the Chiefs together. I would like the Bears to address the wide receiver position through free agency rather than the draft, the organisation, and its fans, have not forgotten about the ultimately wasted draft pick on Kevin White (selected 7th overall in the 2015 draft). With their draft pick, addressing offensive line should be the priority – already a good unit, the addition of either Connor Williams (Tackle, Texas) or Quenton Nelson (Guard, Notre Dame), would help in making that unit great, and give added protection to your franchise quarterback.  If the Bears prioritise fixing the offensive side of the ball and upgrading the weapons around Trubisky, then the appointment of Nagy to Head Coach should give all Bears fans hope.

 This guest article was written by Josh Callander. Josh is a Chicago Bears fan and you can follow him on Twitter @JoshCallan23.

Photo copyright: USA Today.

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Liz has covered the NFL for five seasons and currently serves as Managing Editor for Ninety-Nine Yards (formerly NFLGirlUK). Since launching the website in 2014, she has made regular appearances on the TalkSport2 ‘All American Sports Show’ with Nat Coombs and in 2016 was ranked No.37 (of 400+) in the “Super Bowl: Top 50 UK Influencers” by marketing software producers Analytica for “igniting conversations” between fans.

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