There is a reason Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy is considered the favorite to be the next NFL coach fired.
While Nagy’s 33-30 regular-season record doesn’t look awful on paper, the Bears are not trending in the right direction.
Nagy won AP NFL Coach of the Year in 2018 and won 15 of his first 20 regular-season games, but has gone 18-25 since then.
The Bears have lost eight of their last 10 games, and are already eliminated from playoff contention.
With two games left in the 2021 season, the Bears’ offensive average of 308 yards per game ranks 26th in the NFL and their 17.7 points scored per game ranks 28th in the league.
Who will be the next coach fired?
Matt Nagy -250
Joe Judge +200
Matt Rhule +650
Mike Zimmer +1000
Vic Fangio +1600 pic.twitter.com/8fInY54YVP
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) December 18, 2021
As of Tuesday, NFL teams seeking a new head coach are allowed to start interviewing candidates who are coaching other teams.
However, a team’s permanent head coaching position must be open.
It means only the Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars are allowed to start interviewing candidates.
A coaching candidate the Bears might want to pursue could chose to sign with the Raiders and Jaguars instead.
There are limits to what NFL teams can do during this two-week interview window though.
Franchises without a permanent head coach must conduct virtual interviews with candidates already employed by other teams.
The Zoom interviews are also limited to two hours.
It’s hard to imagine the Raiders, Jaguars, or another team would make a hire under these limitations, but they are allowed to bring in candidates not employed by other clubs.
It means the Raiders or Jaguars could bring in former NFL coaches like Doug Pederson or Jim Caldwell because they are not currently employed by another team.
Plus, the Bears must decide whether to retain general manager Ryan Pace, who has worked for the team since 2015.
Will Pace have a say in picking the Bears new coach or will it be a new general manager?
What about the future of President Ted Phillips?
While rookie quarterback Justin Fields is on the roster, Bears management would need to sell the head coaching position to potential candidates.
Right now, it’s unclear who will be in the Bears front office.
Nagy said Monday he is operating under the assumption that he’ll coach the Bears in their final two games of the season: January 2 at home against the New York Giants and January 9 on the road against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Bears have never fired a coach during the season in the history of the 101-year franchise.
In November, Nagy denied a report that he was told he would be fired after the Thanksgiving Day game against the Detroit Lions.
Fields has started to develop in the second half of the season.
— abdul 🌎™️ (@AbdulJirreh) December 25, 2021
It’s worth noting John Fox — not Nagy — was the Bears head coach when the team drafted Mitchell Trubisky with the second overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Do the Bears want to leave Nagy in charge of Fields’ development?
Speaking of Fields’ development…
Justin Fields’ Starting Debut
Fields’ NFL starting debut on September 26 was brutal.
The 11th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft started due to a non-contact knee injury to starter Andy Dalton in the Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
It was the earliest a Bears started a rookie quarterback since Kyle Orton in the 2005 opener.
In Fields’ debut, the Bears lost to the Cleveland Browns by a final score of 26-6.
Fields completed 6 of 20 passes for 68 yards, he was sacked nine times, and he was hit 15 times.
Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett set a franchise record with 4.5 sacks.
— Bryan Perez (@BryanPerezNFL) September 28, 2021
During Garrett’s record-breaking performance, he consistently beat Bears left tackle Jason Peters, whom the Bears signed on August 16.
Peters, 39, is a future Hall of Famer, considering he is a nine-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion.
However, it was unrealistic to expect any kind of success by asking Peters to consistently block Garrett in one-on-one matchups.
— ᑭᖇO ᖴOOTᗷᗩᒪᒪ ᒍOᑌᖇᑎᗩᒪ 🏈 (@NFL_Journal) September 26, 2021
Jason Peters is a hall of fame tackle however Myles Garrett is praying for more pass plays against him right now
— Booger (@ESPNBooger) September 26, 2021
It’s an example of how Nagy — who has coached offense throughout his NFL coaching career — did not put his players in a position to succeed.
During the Bears’ loss to the Browns, cameras caught third-string quarterback Nick Foles telling Dalton the “offense just isn’t working.”
Nick Foles “offense just isn’t working” pic.twitter.com/do0Uj8HQco
— Cody B (@Cody_ChiBears) September 26, 2021
Months later, Foles even admitted fans’ lipreading of him was correct.
“The offense was not working that day,” Foles told media members on December 26. “I love this question because everyone was thinking it at the time.”
Nagy has made other questionable decisions this season like deciding to name Germain Ifedi one of the team captains and start him at right tackle over rookie Larry Borom on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
In advance of the Week 16 game, Nagy left open the possibility of letting Fields serve as the Bears’ backup even though he wasn’t healthy enough to start.
It’s likely the Bears’ recent acquisition of quarterback Ryan Willis motivated Nagy’s comments.
Willis was still learning the Bears’ playbook.
I don't get Matt Nagy saying Justin Fields is a game-time decision as backup.
No such thing as an "emergency" option for the Bears now. You can't have an actual emergency when the game doesn't matter. Draw straws to see who plays QB rather than risk anything with Fields' health.
— Jason Lieser (@JasonLieser) December 24, 2021
Matt Nagy on how Justin Fields, with an ankle injury preventing him from starting, could actually be QB2 Sunday: "We have to balance where we’re at with that vs. Ryan (Willis), with what Ryan could do just getting here recently. He’s literally learning this playbook."
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) December 24, 2021
Nagy has also flip-flopped between himself and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor on who is calling the Bears’ plays this season.
Regardless of who is calling plays, the Bears’ 185.3 passing yards per game ranks last in the NFL.
Matt Nagy acknowledged that Bill Lazor called the plays today.
Also emphasized: "Ultimately it goes through me."
Nagy finished his presser by saying he won't answer another question about who's calling plays this year.
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) October 3, 2021
It seems Nagy’s fate is already determined once the season ends, but now the Bears must determine what other changes to make in their front office and roster.