Football

Week 10 – Lions vs. Bears Matchup Spotlight: COACH

You are what you eat, they say. If the old adage rings true for NFL coaches, you are what your team is. In that case, Matt Nagy is a colossal letdown. I’m sure he’s a great guy, but his team has forgotten where Club Dub is and Matt is the Lyft driver whose phone just died. He’s spent the last few weeks pretty much just defending Mitch, so it feels like the other areas of the team is suffering due to neglect. The Eagles game was atrocious. The Bears were penalized nine times for 70 yards which doesn’t sound too bad but a handful of those penalties were pre-snap. Nagy, as is Bears coach tradition, has also forgotten how to properly utilize his timeouts, his challenge record is spotty at best, and his clock management has been terrible this year.

Multiple games have seen Nagy attempt a hurry up offense at the end of the half with minimal timeouts remaining and the resulting quick three-and-out and punt has put opposing teams in a spot where they can try to get points instead. During the Packers game when the Bears went for it on fourth down early in the 4th while in field goal range, with a defense that was playing excellently, it dawned on me: Matt Nagy is a 17-year-old playing Madden. Sure, he’s old enough to know better than to do it, but when his system isn’t working he tries to make it work instead of playing to the situation. Running a four-vertical play against a defense that had been getting to the QB with just a three- or four-man rush is totally something your idiot teenager cousin would do right before he takes a sack and turns off the Playstation.

It’s hard to know exactly what level of control Nagy has over the defensive play-calling, but that’s also been suspect. The Bears have stopped blitzing frequently, relying on the front-4 to bring pressure. Offenses have this team figured out, and the defense hasn’t adjusted from a philosophical standpoint. Matt Stafford can pick this team apart if given time, but he can also make mistakes if he is pressured. Let’s hope the Nagy/Pagano brain-trust picks that one up and doesn’t rely on Aaron Lynch to beat a left tackle in under five seconds.

The edge in this match-up has to go to Matt Patricia, right? The Lions are by no means a playoff team, but they’re a competent football team with less talent than they need to be serious contenders. The Lions don’t look great, but Matt Nagy is also not putting his team in a position to be successful. Too many of the routes being run were five-man curls or short routes that ended with a Mitch sack because an effectively run short zone defense wipes out 95% of the Bears offensive plays. When the Bears were moving the ball, it was because they were down by multiple scores and because it seemed like the first time in weeks that Nagy played to the team and Mitch’s strengths.

Even so, this offense has become so predictable that it’s hard to see how they can be successful at anything. If Matt Patricia wants to win this game by out-coaching Matt Nagy, all he needs to do is watch the tape, where the Bears offense has successfully telegraphed themselves into obsolescence.

Tell me more about the previously indicted for sexual assault head coach of the Lions, won’t you Wes?

Matt Nagy is pretty damn STINKY this year, which you’ve laid out nicely. But I’m not sure that Matt Patricia takes the edge based solely on how crappy Nagy has been in year two. 

Patricia, also in his sophomore season as head coach, is failing Detroit in ways that everyone thought he’d succeed – his defense. Detroit currently ranks 31st on defense, giving up a staggering 424 yards a game on average. This is after the team spent pretty heavily on the defensive side this offseason, bringing in former Patricia players from New England in Trey Flowers and Justin Coleman. The results on those two and the defense as a whole are clearly pretty poor, and whatever the plan was in terms of a system or tweaking said system isn’t working. 
Detroit chose to move on from the statue that is Jim Caldwell in early 2018 in favor of Patricia even though Caldwell had winning seasons in three of his four years in Detroit, albeit with some poor playoff performances. If the plan was to bring in a Belichick disciple and have him elevate your team to that next level, Patricia’s short tenure can be generously described as a disappointment. He continues the long history of coaches leaving New England and subsequently failing, usually miserably. There’s time to turn it around, but the natives are getting pretty restless in Detroit and his players seems to be on the verge of mutiny as well. 
Sure sounds an awful lot like the Lions have the same kind of issues on defense as Nagy and the Bears have with the offense: A scheme that either isn’t being executed/grasped properly by the personnel, not having the right personnel or some combination of the two. Regardless, it ain’t working. Patricia claimed him and Darius Slay spoke about his post-Raiders loss comments and they’re now on the same page, that some of the comments were mischaracterized by the media, that he sees the plays and he needs to coach better but they’re working and they’re close….sound familiar? This is all after Detroit gave up 450 yards to Oakland, including a 75-yard drive late in the 4th to seal the game while also failing to force a punt for the first three quarters. (what sort of shitty team allows the Oakland Raiders to go almost the length of the field in the 4th quarter to give up a game losing touchdown? Terrible. -Tony)
We’ve had this conversation before, most recently ahead of the Chargers game; the Bears offense is dreadful and they’re about to face a defense that’s as equally, if not more, inept than they are. SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE, RIGHT??? We’re gonna find out if the Detroit defense is just the right medicine Trubisky, Nagy and the Bears need or if Patricia can use Nagy’s poor year to get his defense back on track. This is a pretty massive week for both of these teams, kicking off stretches of four games with three they each have to feel are winnable (DET/CHI play twice between now and turkey day, sandwiched around CHI @LAR/vsNYG and DET vsDAL/@WSH). Three wins in the next four would put each team at six wins on the year and in the hunt for the Wild Card, but anything less and you’re going to start hearing about whether or not either of these guys gets a crack at year three. 
Nagy has his fantastic first season to buoy him, IMO. And maybe with a different QB the Bears look A LOT better. I think the Bears have to have a total disaster of a 2nd half for Nagy to lose his job. Patricia on the other hand, is coming off 6-10 and another losing season after the investments made and the depressing defense (allegedly his strong suit) could see him and possibly most of the Detroit front office fired into the sun. Matt Stafford isn’t getting any younger and his offense is performing well enough to win games, and none of that sentence bodes well for the defense-focused first time Head Coach staying in charge without showing progress – and quickly. Here’s to hoping Nagy can help Patricia start finding a real estate agent sooner than later.

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