Matt Nagy’s Bears career was brought to its almost-certain end Sunday by the same franchise-crippling issue he was brought in to fix: the quarterback.
Andy Dalton’s 77.2 passer rating in a who-cares game wasn’t nearly as damning as the way Nagy handled two first-round draft picks: Mitch Trubisky and Justin Fields. The former was a Pro Bowl injury replacement in his first year under Nagy but regressed the next two seasons and is now the Bills’ backup. The latter, drafted No. 11 overall this year, played only 10 games, hampered by injury and illness and a coach who stubbornly insisted on giving Dalton all the training camp reps.
That only harmed Fields, whose teammates had to learn how to play with him in real time – starting in Week 3.
It amounted to coaching malpractice. The potential franchise quarterback was never given a chance to earn the starting job over Dalton. He was so removed from the competition that other starters had to adjust to him when Dalton hurt his knee in Week 2. In between, Nagy wanted to use him as a gadget player.
In a strange bit of revisionist history, Nagy expressed optimism about Fields on Sunday, calling him “a really good franchise quarterback,” after making it clear at the start of the season that he’d rather play the veteran.
The result was an offense that was perennially disappointing and a rookie quarterback who was never able to get his footing. After his encouraging fourth quarter in Pittsburgh on Nov. 8, Fields started and finished only two games.