Matt Nagy is struggling with handling the Chicago Bears quarterback situation.
It has been a hot take for Chicago Bears fans. Matt Nagy doesn’t want Justin Fields to succeed. He does this by not allowing Fields the full playbook. So I watched today’s game against the Detroit Lions to see if he would give Andy Dalton the same treatment or is he handcuffing Fields.
Coming into the game Chicago was ranked sixth in the league in rushing yards per game, while the Lions were ranked almost dead last in the NFL at 31st yards allowed per game. With this knowledge, I assumed that Nagy would come out running the ball down Detroit’s throats. Regardless of the information available to take advantage of the running game, Nagy and his team came out passing and continued to pass the ball. They only had 7 designed run plays in the whole first half. The Bears had 33 offensive plays in the first half so that’s over 4 times as many pass plays.
Usage of Justin Fields.
Let’s take a look back at Justin’s last 4 full games, to see if this is how the offense looks with him under center as well. He had 29,27,32, and 27 attempts per game. Andy Dalton had 26 attempts in the first half against the Lions. Coming out of halftime the play-calling became a little more balanced, they ran 14 of 33 designed run offense plays. Although I think that was more of ‘I don’t wanna lose this game’, play calling.
So what’s my verdict on if Matt Nagy changes for Dalton? Well, it isn’t difficult to see when you only call 21 designed runs against the second-worst run defense in the league. Matt Nagy is trying to buy time, he doesn’t want to lose his job. If Fields hasn’t played his best yet at the end of the year, Nagy can say he needs more time to help him develop. This plan doesn’t work when you can see how talented Fields truly is, anyone who watches him play can see our coaches are not putting him in the best spots. All I can hope for is that our front office can see what Nagy is doing before we lose our chance at a franchise QB.
Nagy appears to be favoring Dalton.
Yesterday Andy Dalton was the first Bears QB to throw for 300 yards since Nick Foles accomplished the feat in Week Nine of the 2020 season. I believe this could be a weekly milestone every week for Fields. Yet, Nagy needs to give him the same treatment. I saw a whole different offense today, that I believe Fields would flourish in. Nagy called a lot of crossing routes to get the receivers downfield. Although, when Fields is in, we don’t see as many routes over the middle, it’s all fades and streaks.
Andy Dalton touchdown!— Cincinnati 💔 (@CincyProblems) November 25, 2021
Go Andy. pic.twitter.com/PsB4EzWU40
As for why Nagy decided to call a different game today it could be for a few different reasons. Maybe he thinks that Fields isn’t ready for the whole playbook. Maybe he is buying time. Or maybe the reports are true that the McCaskeys told him he is fighting for his job the rest of the season. Chicago fans will have to just wait to see if this is how the team will continue to roll going forward when number one trots back out on the field.