Trubisky and Nagy are officially on the hot seat. What about Pace?

How much longer can Nagy and Trubisky coexist?

Matthew Rago, Editor-in-Chief

Update: In their Week 8 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, the Bears surpassed 300 yards of offense for the first time this season. Despite David Montgomery’s 135 yard effort, the Bears only managed 16 points.

Coming off a bye week that came on the heels of an embarrassing Week 5 loss to the Oakland Raiders, the Bears were expected to respond with a renewed vigor. Instead, the team came out flat and had each of their flaws exposed on national television The offensive woes continued, head coach Matt Nagy seemed incapable of constructing a balanced game plan and Mitch Trubisky looked like an amateur quarterback masquerading as a professional. 

This offense is irreparably broken in multiple areas. Matt Nagy has been revealed as a trick play specialist whose marriage to the pass game telegraphs his intentions. Against the New Orleans Saints, the Bears only ran the football seven times. Bears’ running backs–they have three in their rotation–accounted for 16 yards over five rushing attempts. Yes, five. This season, Tarik Cohen, Mike Davis and rookie David Montgomery have rushed for an aggregate 300 yards. For comparison’s sake, Minnesota Vikings’ running back Dalvin Cook has accounted for 725 rushing yards alone. 

Nagy’s abandonment of the run game has combined with ineffective play from the running back position to manifest a vicious cycle of ineptitude underscored by predictability and rust. Nagy’s aversion to offering a consistent run game has plagued this offense. When he does give the ball to a running back, a seemingly foreign concept in itself in Chicago, they usually get stuffed at the line of scrimmage. Running backs need to get into the flow of the game to consistently make plays. Sure, a player needs to perform when his number is called, but Nagy has placed his running backs in the most unenviable position possible. 

Trubisky echoed the thoughts of the entire football community when he said: “We have no identity. We’re just searching. We don’t have any rhythm. We’re not the offense we were last year.” While a lack of team identity and bottoming morale ultimately falls on the head coach, Trubisky cannot be insulated from blame.

Trubisky seems to be regressing game-to-game. Two years after the Bears offered the San Francisco 49ers a king’s ransom to move up one spot to draft him, Trubisky sits 32nd in the league with 5.2 yards per attempt, a figure that would look even worse had he not padded his stats in garbage time against the Saints. Under Nagy and Trubisky, the Bears have failed to gain 300 yards in a game through the first six games of the 2019-20 season. The Bears are now only the 37th team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to accomplish this feat and the first Bears team to do it since 1975. They are the only team this season yet to usurp the 300 yard threshold.

While watching Trubisky overthrow wide open receivers is discouraging, watching him repeat mental mistakes as a third-year starting quarterback in his age-25 season is even more frustrating. Trubisky chipped in a measly 84 yards by the time the Saints opened up a 29-10 lead. He apathetically led the Bears offense to five three-and-outs in the Bears’ first six possessions. Trubisky seems to have fallen into a pattern of insufficient quarterback play followed by grand gestures and empty promises about an elusive improvement.

However, for all the issues on the field, many began with general manager Ryan Pace inability to evaluate offensive talent.  Pace has recklessly redistributed draft capital for marginal talent. The trade that allowed the Bears to move up and draft Trubisky is well-documented and widely criticized. However, the Bears also traded their 2018 No. 105 pick and a 2019 second round draft pick for Anthony Miller, who has caught 13 receptions for 144 yards in 2019. We packaged a third and fourth pick to move up 14 spots to draft Montgomery, only to let him waste away on the sidelines. 

Pace’s history of drafting offensive skill talent, particularly in the early rounds, is ugly. We can provide him a pass on Kevin White since no one can predict injuries. However, Pace’s belief in Jeremy Langford and Adam Sheehan was grossly misguided. Drafting Sheehan in the second round not only cost us a valuable pick, but also set the Bears tight end position back by years. 

Coach Nagy and Trubisky should be squirming on the hot seat right now. The offense is broken and, quite frankly, those two are the most suspect culprits. Pace constructing a defense worthy of carrying an inadequate offense to the playoffs a season ago likely operates as a security blanket for him during such a tough campaign. However, if Pace is unable to discover a creative, efficient way to fix this Bears roster, the audible boos that were directed at Nagy and Trubisky might find a new target in Pace.