Every week during the regular season we get an opportunity to talk with the opposing head coach via conference call. This week it was Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy. I also scanned the Chicago media websites and the Bears website to see what else Bears players and coaches are saying about this week’s matchup with the Lions.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. Stay positive. That was the message from Bears offensive coordinator Harry Hiestand this week during film review of Sunday’s 22-14 loss in Philadelphia, a game that saw Chicago have just nine yards of offense in the first half and go three and out on their first five possessions.
“Man, just stay positive,” right tackle Bobby Massie told The Chicago Tribune when asked what Hiestand said in the meeting room. “Keep chopping. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, you know, if we just keep doing our job.”
2. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky did not play well Sunday (10-of-21 passing for 125 yards and a 66.6 passer rating). He hasn’t played well most of the season (five touchdown passes all year), but Nagy said the problems on offense don’t fall on the quarterback’s shoulders alone.
“Offensively, there’s a lot more than just one person,” he told chicagobears.com. “That’s the part that’s frustrating, is Mitch knows and I know and we all know that (most of the criticism) goes to him. He gets it. But there are a lot of people involved here that we really believe in that it didn’t happen (Sunday). That’s the part that’s really frustrating.”
Nagy said in the conference call with Detroit reporters Wednesday it will only get better on offense when everyone realizes it’s not on just one player and everyone has to elevate their game.
3. Left tackle Charles Leno told the Tribune that players need to be more mentally tough moving forward to not allow bad plays to be contagious and snowball. Chicago’s on a four-game losing streak. Leno said bad plays are going to happen, but players need to do a better job of moving on to the next play.
4. Nagy compared the problems the Bears are having on offense to what’s going on with Detroit’s defense right now. Both units are bottom five in the NFL. Nagy said he likes the players he has on offense, just like Detroit probably likes their personnel on defense, but for a lot of reasons it’s not clicking for either unit right now.
5. Winning made a lot of things easier for Nagy and the Bears players in his first season in Chicago last year. Chicago won the division with a 12-4 record and was a missed field goal away from advancing in the playoffs. This year has been more of a struggle. Chicago’s on a four-game losing streak, off to a 3-5 start and currently in last place in the NFC North.
“To me the challenge when you really get tested is when you end up getting into a little bit of a valley – your character gets tested, your building, everything that you do is under a microscope,” Nagy said. “There are a lot of people that fold under that and they don’t do well in those situations, and we’re just not built that way.”
Detroit is off to a 3-4-1 start after high optimism heading into its season, so they’re feeling the same pressures Nagy’s referring to.
“You have to be able to handle when things don’t go well,” Nagy said. “Look it straight in the face and say, ‘Let’s try to fix it.’”
Meet this week's opponents, the Chicago Bears.
6. Nagy has a ton of respect for Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, calling some of the throws he’s made over his career “ridiculous.”
He said the real cause for concern for his defense heading into Sunday is how aggressive Stafford is in the passing game under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, and all the deep shots he’s taking down the field.