Bears coach connects with GM


Associated Press

LAKE FOREST, Ill.

As the interview unfolded, Matt Nagy could sense the Chicago Bears were a fit for him.

He saw a franchise poised to make a big jump, sensed a connection with general manager Ryan Pace.

“I’m here because of the organization and the direction,” Nagy, the Bears’ new coach, said. “I could feel that from the moment I was in that interview process.”

Getting to work with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is “a benefit.”

The Bears introduced Nagy on Tuesday, a day after he was hired as the team’s 16th head coach to replace the fired John Fox and help a charter NFL franchise emerge from one of its worst runs.

He takes over a team that missed the playoffs for the seventh straight season and hasn’t finished above .500 since Lovie Smith got fired after going 10-6 in 2012. The Bears are on their third head coach since then, with Nagy trying to do what Marc Trestman and Fox could not.

Both got fired with losing records, Fox’s 14-34 mark over three seasons giving him the second-worst winning percentage in team history. Chicago went 5-11 this past season on the way to its fourth straight last-place finish in the NFC North.

A day after his first season as the Chiefs’ sole offensive coordinator ended with a playoff collapse against Tennessee, Nagy spent 41/2 hours interviewing with Pace, president Ted Phillips and chairman George McCaskey at a hotel on Kansas City’s Plaza on Sunday morning. He and Pace, along with their wives, also had dinner that night.

In between, he met with the Colts and returned to the Chiefs’ practice facility for exit interviews.

“When I went into this interview in that room it felt... it’s a special feeling,” Nagy said.

“[Pace and I] walked out, we just had a conversation among the two of us and you just kind of knew that this could be really good. Again, I’m going to be right there by his hip.”

There are some big holes on offense, particularly at wide receiver.

But the Bears have two solid running backs in Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, not to mention a quarterback they drafted with the No. 2 overall pick after trading up a spot with San Francisco to grab him.

“This is about more than the quarterback,” Pace said. “Yes, that’s the most important position on our team, but this is about 53 players and it’s about leading a group of men and it’s about winning in all three phases.”

A former quarterback at Delaware who played in the Arena Football League, the 39-year-old Nagy spent the past 10 years working under Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Kansas City.

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