Lombardi rips into Nagy for citing penalties as offense sputters: 'Don't know what he's talking about'


(RADIO.COM Sports) After the Bears' 26-23 overtime loss to the Saints on Nov. 1, coach Matt Nagy expressed his frustration regarding the team's lack of discipline. It was a deserved reprimand of his players too, considering one of those penalties shocked the NFL universe as receiver Javon Wims punched his way to an ejection that day.

As the team's leader, Nagy noted it was his job to take charge of reversing that trend.

"Until it gets changed," Nagy said, "I have to be able to accept responsibility for it and I have to be able to focus on the 'why' part and I have to hold myself and the coaching staff accountable, because we're the ones that basically are the conduits to the players on how they're acting on game day. Until it stops, I've gotta take full responsibility for it."

After the Bears' tough-to-watch loss to the Titans on Sunday, Nagy had more of the same to say about his team's struggles.

"There's going to be a play here or there where you're gonna get beat ... there will be a mistake that we make," Nagy said in the postgame press conference regarding how he will work to fix the offense. "Everybody, whether it's coaches and/or players.

"But the ones that bother me are the ones where you have the senseless ones with the penalties that set you back five yards and make it second-and-15. Or the drive killers ... and again, we're discussing that, we talk about that and they're continuing to happen. So that has to stop and you have to get in the rhythm."

While costly penalties have been a theme of the Bears' season, former NFL executive and RADIO.COM Sports football insider Michael Lombardi thought that it was a poor topic for Nagy to bring up based on what happened in Chicago's loss at Tennessee. Instead, Lombardi believes that Nagy needs to focus on fixing much more than penalties.

"He said something about penalties, right?" Lombardi said on the latest episode of the "GM Shuffle" podcast. "OK. First drive of the game — with his vaulted script (of) 'be you,' Matt, 'be you,' right? — he goes six plays, he gets 41 yards, they turn the ball over on downs."

The Bears committed no penalties on that drive. That and the team's six other drives in the first half looked like this:

Bears Drives Table
# Quarter Time Plays Length Net_yds Result
720:5430:54-2End of Half
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/9/2020.

Lombardi dissected each drive. Three plays, seven yards, no penalties. Three plays, four yards, no penalties. Three plays, two yards, no penalties.

"Then they come back out, they have a 7-play drive ... hold on man!" Lombardi said with false enthusiasm. "You're looking at that sheet a long time when you get seven plays there -- 23 yards, no penalties. Then they punt, they go four plays again, 15 yards, one first down, no penalties.

"They got nothing, and then at the end of the half they had their first penalty, and that was the end of the half. So I don't know what he's talking about! Basically, on three drives, he gained 23 yards. And with no penalties. So, like, I don't know what he's talking about. His offense is broken. He is not a good offensive designer. That's just a fact. That's just a fact, and it's getting worse and worse and worse and he doesn't have an answer for it."

Lombardi and co-host Adnan Virk sympathized with the Bears defense after its strong efforts again were without reward.

"We've got a head coach who's an offensive coach," Lombardi said. "They're looking at him like, 'Yo dude, you gonna fix this man?'

"Like, what are you doing? And Mitch (Trubisky) is sitting over there rehabbing his shoulder saying, 'See, it wasn't all my fault. See?' This is helping Mitch out."

Though the Bears started 5-1, they've lost their last three and are losing stream. In Lombardi's mind, it's Nagy who's to blame more than anyone else.

"You can sit there and blame penalties, you're the most penalized team in all of football," Lombardi said. "You're either coaching it or allowing it to happen. Like, it's pretty clear where Matt Nagy sits as a head coach. It's pretty clear."

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