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Matt Nagy? Is that pronounced Naggy? Are we sure on that? Not Naygee or Noggee? Maybe if Bears fans had heard more about him in the run-up to his hiring as head coach, they’d know for sure.
Guess they can just call him Coach Matt for now. There’s plenty of time between now and the first opportunity to second-guess him to get that worked out.
The 39-year-old Nagy was hired Monday as the Bears’ new wholesale nfl jerseys coach, the 16th in team history, replacing John Fox. Born in Plainfield, N.J., Nagy grew up in Lancaster, Pa., and quarterbacked his Manheim Central High School team to back-to-back state finals in the mid-1990s. He went on to become a record-setting quarterback at the University of Delaware and played six years in the Arena Football League. Most recently, he was an assistant under highly regarded coach Andy Reid with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Chicagoans love nothing more than to rally around a Bears coach. If, unlike his crotchety predecessor, he has a reasonably engaging public persona, comes across as candid and genuine and, of course, wins more often than not, Coach Matt will be a household name soon enough.
It’s not as though Nagy is a complete unknown or was ignored in coverage of coach casting. Nagy was reported to be in the mix to potentially replace Fox as far back as a month ago, when many in the media still hedged on the inevitability of Fox’s dismissal.
NFL Network reported Tuesday that the Bears had requested the Chiefs’ permission to talk with him, which they did over the weekend. Nagy’s run as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator ended when the defense failed to hold a 21-3 halftime lead Saturday against the Titans to get bounced from the playoffs.
Given the sheer volume of reporting, analysis and commentary devoted to how the Bears would fill their coaching vacancy, however, fans shouldn’t have been as surprised by his hiring as they seemed to be.
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Nagy seemed just another name as the Patriots’ Josh McDaniels, the Vikings’ Pat Shurmur and the Eagles’ John DeFilippo, along with Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, dominated chatter.
Nagy’s credentials were solid, and his story — that of a guy who eight years ago gave up a secure job in real estate for a chance to remain in football — had its own pull. But he wasn’t cast as a consensus front-runner by any means.
Even Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, whom no one actually expected to entertain the Bears opening, probably had his name come up more often, if only because people enjoyed the fantasy.
As so often happens in coverage from Halas Hall, where the franchise has become better known for being opaque than its T formation, it was hard to know what exactly the brain trust was thinking and harder still to know what it would do.
That fuzziness has only been compounded by the fact Bears general manager Ryan Pace is still establishing a predictive track record. He remains hard to chart.
It’s the same dilemma that had most analysts as blindsided as newly signed quarterback Mike Glennon last April when the Bears drafted quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
The need to help Trubisky develop and for the Bears to tailor their game plan to him correctly pointed observers toward coaches with offensive backgrounds.
Trubisky, though, is far from the only thing Nagy needs to develop in his new job.
Nagy, who doesn’t have to be Mike Ditka but better not be Marc Trestman or John Fox, needs to help reinvigorate a fan base that still watches games on TV but eats pricey tickets rather than show up at Soldier Field.
These are die-hards who have grown weary of a head coach unwilling or unable to explain to fans what’s really going on.
Chicagoans no doubt would celebrate a confident, competent, personable Bears coach capable of making the winters a little more tolerable and the football seasons extend to February.
Some football smarts and energy, along with his background in sales, would give Coach Matt a pronounced edge in making a name for himself locally.
If he wins, of course.