(670 The Score) It should be said, first and foremost, that Bears coach Matt Nagy knows more about his football team than I do. For instance, when he said that he doesn’t regret going 0-for-4 on fourth-down conversions in a 34-14 loss to the Rams on Sunday night, I tend to not only believe him but agree.
Could he be 10% more forthcoming with inconsequential team information? He could. Could he work on a stubborn streak that’s come to define his time in Chicago? You bet. There are plenty of concerns about Nagy’s ability as a head coach, and most of them hold weight, but I’m not sure anyone can sit in the Halas Hall media room or on their couch or in an Arlington Heights bar and say that they know the Bears better than their head coach does. And that’s exactly the problem.
I don’t even really have an articulate way of putting this, but what are we doing here? I’m trying to think of one good reason why rookie Justin Fields shouldn’t be the Bears’ starting quarterback and have settled somewhere between “because they called Andy Dalton QB1 back in March” and just “because.” What’s everyone waiting for here? Are we supposed to believe that Nagy truly believes the Dalton-led, 20-point loss in the opener was still a better outcome than whatever would have happened with Fields? The entire point of Dalton being on the roster was predicated on the notion that the Bears would be giving up 15-17 points a game and therefore really only needed to match that on offense. But if an offense that quite literally didn't throw farther than 10 yards at a time Sunday has to get close to 30 points every week, the Bears are going to win three games.
The Bears aren’t a mystery. We know what Nagy can and can’t do, just like we know what Dalton can and can’t do. If there’s an ounce of Nagy’s initial paradigm-changing reputation still clinging on for dear life, it’s not going to flourish with 10 more games of 206 yards with three sacks and an interception. That’s the frustrating part about the Bears, as currently constructed, right now: Not only did they purposefully lower their own ceiling, but it only took them three poorly played quarters to hit it.
Or maybe the most frustrating part is that it didn’t take Nagy’s level of football intellect to see this coming. Or maybe the frustrating part is that there’s absolutely no recent precedent for this type of blind loyalty. Was it not a business decision when the Bears cut cornerback Kyle Fuller after refusing to take a significant pay cut? Or putting the franchise tag on receiver Allen Robinson after sitting on their hands and watching the market change around them? Not only are certain positions enjoying luxuries that others don’t, but to prioritize The Sturdy Handshake From One Quarterback To Another isn't only bad business, but bad politics. The former might be the general manager’s problem, but the latter certainly isn’t.
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When asked Monday whether using Fields more would help stretch the field in ways that Dalton can’t, Nagy responded, “I don’t know,” which is, obviously, a lie. He also said that Fields’ performance didn’t affect the timeline for when they’ll make the switch, which is, unfortunately, probably not yet. Get ready to hear all the different reasons why it just doesn’t make sense yet. Dalton’s got history with the Bengals! Going into a tough Cleveland environment, against that front seven, just doesn’t make sense for a rookie quarterback. No time to experiment at home against the Lions when you need crucial division wins! Maybe they’ll send Fields to Triple-A Iowa so he can work on his defense in center field.
Whatever the reason is, the Bears seem perfectly content to continue this waiting game and move forward with the largest self-inflicted wound since one very specific episode of the "Today Show." Nagy may pretend to not know if Fields can add a spark to the offense, but what’s the point in not finding out? So again, I ask: What are we waiting for?
Cam Ellis is a writer for 670 The Score and Audacy Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KingsleyEllis.