Two years ago, Bears head coach Matt Nagy was being lauded as the next genius NFL coach plucked from Andy Reid's ripe coaching tree. Now it's fair to wonder if he, the man who did the plucking, and his most important field hand will be employed by the end of the season.
After another embarrassing offensive performance that led to a fourth straight disheartening loss, this one by the score of 19-13 against the Vikings where the Bears' only touchdown was a kickoff return by Cordarelle Patterson, Chicago faces the prospect of a total rebuild that starts up top in the general manager's office and travels all the way down to the sideline and on-field level.
Bears GM Ryan Pace has been exposed as a poor evaluator of talent at the quarterback position and could be fired at the end of the year. Nagy has been exposed as an overmatched in-game tactician who can't build a successful offense without Reid and could be fired at the end of the year. Former No. 2 pick Mitch Trubisky, well, he's been exposed for a long time as, at best, a middling quarterback and likely won't play for the Bears again after this season with his rookie contract up.
That's the three most important elements of a football franchise with at least one foot out of the door in Chicago.
So far this year, the 5-5 Bears rank 31st in offensive yards and points per game, 32nd in rushing yards and touchdowns, and 25th and 19th in passing yards and touchdowns. Nagy, an offensive coordinator with the Chiefs under Reid in 2017 and previously their quarterbacks coach, has to shoulder the lion's share of the blame for that. Not only has he failed to develop Trubisky into a competent quarterback, but the offense he installed and called plays for previous to this week has regressed each of the last three seasons.
Last year the Bears offense 29th in offensive yards and points, 27th and 28th in rushing yards and TDs, and 25th in passing yards and TDs. In 2018, when the Bears went 12-4 and Nagy was named NFL Coach of the Year, the numbers were better (21st and 9th in yards and scoring respectively ), but a lot of that can be attributed to their defensive dominance (ranked 1st in scoring, points and rushing yards allowed).
Part of the problem, of course, is the lackluster quarterback play. While Nagy's failure with Trubisky and inability to get the most out of Nick Foles this year stand out, Pace also needs to take a lot of blame. Not only did Pace trade away four draft picks to move up one spot to select Trubisky No. 2 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, he also traded away a fourth-round pick to acquire Foles this offseason despite the fact that the Jaguars were likely going to release Foles and Cam Newton was still available (not that Newton has been great, but at least the Patriots didn't give up anything and aren't paying him much). The only smart thing Pace has done evaluating the quarterback position was to decline Trubisky's fifth-year rookie option. Outside of that, Pace has made a series of bad decisions at the most important position in football.
Predictably, Trubuisky struggled after opening the year as the starter, (59.3 percent completions, 6 TDs, 3 INTs) and Foles hasn't fared much better since taking over (65 percent completions, 10 TDs, 8 INTs). It's fair to wonder if either will be there next year, but with Trubisky's contract up and his relationship with the Bears in turmoil, it's safe to assume he'll be gone.
That leaves Pace and Nagy. Perhaps Bears ownership gives them another year to clean up the mess they've created. How they play the final six games of this season will go a long way toward answering that question. But after three years together, and five years with Pace as the GM, it's clear they've done a bad job evaluating and developing the most important position in football and that might be their undoing.