With Matt Nagy now the head coach of the Chicago Bears his primary goal will be to implement his offense and help develop second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Nagy, an assistant to noted “quarterback whisperer” Andy Reid, played a big part in incorporating college-style run-pass options (RPO) into the Chiefs offense this past year.
These will presumably be a sizable part of the playbook Nagy brings with him which should help his primary goal of developing Trubisky into a top-tier quarterback as he ran similar plays in college.
Let’s take a look at how Nagy will be able to set-up Trubisky for success.
A successful running game is a quarterback and offensive line’s best friend. We all saw this against the Lions the first time they played and the Bengals, two of Trubisky’s better games this season.
Nonetheless, many of us know that the Bears used a lot of heavy-run formations last year to run the ball in 13 personnel (one running back, three tight ends) or 22 personnel (a running back, a fullback, and two tight ends) into a loaded box.
Look at this play in Week 17 against the Vikings for example:
Nagy does a much better job of spreading the field and moving defenders out of the box. As you can see on this Week 17 touchdown run, there are only six defenders in the box making Kareem Hunt’s job a lot easier:
One knock on Nagy’s mentor Andy Reid was that he gets too creative and pass happy at times, but that was not an issue with Nagy. Throughout his five-week play-calling stretch to end the season, the Chiefs averaged 27 carries per game for 132.8 yards
Nagy was also willing to use his quarterback in the run game through zone reads. We saw this some of this last year in Chicago, but not often enough especially in short yardage situations, so this is great for Trubisky.
Though this play was negated due to a questionable holding call it does show the potential plays Nagy could dial up for Trubisky:
Clearly, Trubisky has the wheels to run a zone read:
Prior to the draft, there were some comparisons made between Trubisky and Smith, and while I do not disagree, I think Trubisky has more arm strength and is slightly more athletic. However, Trubisky clearly has the accuracy to thrive in the quick passing West Coast offense that Nagy employs.
It is hard to tell from statistics due to the predictable nature of the Bears’ offense, but Trubisky was clearly more comfortable in the shotgun than under center. Unfortunately for the quarterback, the Bears did not tailor the offense to his strengths.
The splits below explain all you need to know.
In his first game calling plays, Nagy did a good job of mixing RPOs, quick-rhythm throws, and threw in quite a few deep shots as well. Trubisky did a good job of throwing the deep ball last season when given the opportunity, but the Bears offense was not balanced enough to give him time to sit in the pocket while the routes developed.
Nagy varies his play calling enough to give Trubisky time for shots like this one:
The Chiefs’ offense was predicated on quick throws that allowed receivers to gain yards after the catch.
Nagy wants to get the ball out of Smith’s hands quickly to the receivers:
Here is Trubisky making a very similar throw from his college days at UNC:
Here is another quick pass to Tyreek Hill off of play-action that results in a first down:
Trubisky hit Bug Howard on a similar route while at the University of North Carolina:
Another thing Nagy did a good job of was moving the pocket with Smith, and one of the first things we all saw with Trubisky was just how deadly accurate he can be on the move.
Despite the defensive end not biting hard on the fly action, Smith had a quick outlet and this play went for six yards:
These are all high percentage throws we know Trubisky can make.
In Nagy’s offense, getting open is more important than making contested catches. Look for Ryan Pace to add quick and agile receivers who are good route-runners to pair with Trubisky and Nagy.
While we do not know exactly what Nagy’s system will be as he was doing the play calling for Reid’s offense, it was obvious that Nagy likes getting the ball to playmakers in space.
It will be interesting to see what Nagy brings with him from Reid and what his identity as a play caller will be. It is not far-fetched to think that Nagy and Trubisky can be a match made in heaven.
Mike K says
I liked what I read a lot. Very good to hear that it looks to be a match made in heaven for Trubisky. Is there anything from the plays that Nagy drew up that gives you pause? For instance, weaknesses from Mitch that Nagy may struggle to cover up?
Chris Bocker says
Nagy really seems to like the quick out to the left side if defenders are playing off and as far as weaknesses for Trubisky, he did have trouble with throws outside the numbers to his left side this year because his hips tend to fly open when throwing to his left. Nagy being the quarterback technician that he is though I am hopeful that he will be able to fix that specific weakness.
Jake Hursh says
So do you think wide receivers like Jarvis Landry and Calvin Ridley fit the bill for quick and agile routerunners? Instead of contested ball receivers like a Courtland Sutton?
Chris Bocker says
Using the players you mentioned I think Calvin Ridley would be a great fit. Alabama used him on a lot of quick tunnel screens and bubble screens as well as the deep routes that Nagy likes to use (think sluggos and out-and-ups). He’s also versatile in the sense that he can line up in the slot or as a boundary receiver. I don’t think Landry is as much of a fit just because yards after catch isn’t necessarily his thing or his greatest attribute plus the price tag will be a big one. Even going back to college tape Mitch was never one to throw jump balls to his wide receivers so I don’t think of Sutton as a great fit either. One name I think will be mentioned a lot is Paul Richardson of the Seattle Seahawks. He’s really quick, can get separation, and I could see him thriving in this offense. He’s also a pretty great deep threat as well which would be nice for Nagy and our new offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.