Bears' Matt Nagy first NFL coach fired odds: Andy Dalton over Justin Fields Week 1 quarterback decision could doom Nagy
The last head coach of the Chicago Bears to last at least five seasons in the job was Lovie Smith. Whether Matt Nagy returns for Year 5 in 2022 could largely depend on his somewhat controversial decision to open this season with Andy Dalton as his starting quarterback over Justin Fields even though the Chicago offense looked light years better in the preseason with the rookie Fields under center. Nagy is a co-second favorite via SportsLine oddsmakers to be the first NFL coach fired/leave his position this season.
Nagy was the toast of the Windy City in 2018 when he led the Bears to a 12-4 record and the NFC North title – the team's first division crown since 2010 – and named NFL Coach of the Year. However, Chicago blew its wild-card game at home against the Philadelphia Eagles (double-doink!) and really things have gone downhill since for Nagy. The Bears have finished 8-8 each of the past two years.
Losing defensive coordinator Vic Fangio after that 2018 campaign to the Denver Broncos has also played a major role, but largely it has been Chicago's offensive ineptitude under Nagy as to why he's on a major hot seat. The Bears have been 22nd and 29th the last two years in scoring offense and Nagy, a supposed offensive guru, failed to develop former No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback. Trubisky is now with Buffalo (and torched the Bears this preseason). The Nick Foles experiment in 2020 was an utter disaster. Nagy eventually ceded the play-calling to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, but Nagy will take it back this year.
If the Bears get off to a slow start under Dalton, and 1-2 looks very likely with expected losses Week 1 at the Rams and Week 3 at the Browns (Chicago should win Week 2 at home vs. the Bengals), Nagy will be forced to go to Fields perhaps earlier than he wants to. If Fields isn't good immediately, the Bears fan base will turn on Nagy – if it hasn't already. Fields will run the scout team in practices for now.
We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has been linked to the Bears job previously. Bears minority owner and billionaire Pat Ryan is a Northwestern grad, big-time booster and a Fitzgerald fan. Ryan also holds the right-of-first-refusal as "primary investor" if any of the McCaskey family stock comes up for sale and there are rumors that may happen sooner rather than later. Michigan's Jim Harbaugh, a former Bears QB, also has been speculated as a potential coaching target.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Who will be first NFL coach fired/leave job this season?
- Vic Fangio +600
- Zac Taylor +700
- Matt Nagy +700
- Mike Zimmer +800
- Mike McCarthy +900
- Kliff Kingsbury +1000
- Jon Gruden +1200
- David Culley +1400
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