Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy – Media Availability – September 12, 2021

Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy – Media Availability – September 12, 2021


(Opening Statement)

“To start off in regards to the game, obviously we’re disappointed in the loss. We gave up some explosive plays and then we did not execute in the redzone a few of those times to start the game in particular. To have the interception there and to have the third-and-one and have the false start. I thought big picture that, offensively, we were able to move the ball and do some things. We knew kind of what their game plan and their strategy was going to be. Then to get it to 13-7, to come out in the third quarter and give up that touchdown and then for us to come back and have a 16-play drive almost 10 minutes and get (Bears’ QB) Justin (Fields) in the end zone, I thought that was good. But then, just at the end there, being able to not stop them and then not score offensively, that’s where it got away. When you become one dimensional against this team, look out because they’re pretty good at what they do and that’s where they tee off on you. So, once we got behind and got one dimensional, that was a little bit more difficult. (We) have to get back to really checking out the tape. It’s Week 1, we know that we can improve so that’s what we’ll do. Our guys need to make sure that they evaluate themselves, are tough on themselves, and then we as coaches too.”


(On what went into how they used QB Justin Fields)

“It was hard to tell if we knew exactly how many snaps he was going to get, but again, once you get behind, like we did, and you get back a few scores, that’s when you get more into the two-minute mode. That’s probably why there was a little bit less. But who knows? I think that for him, the times that he got in there, that he did well, it being his first game. (Bears’ QB) Andy (Dalton) did a good job to help and extend some of those drives and us going through that whole deal of how it’s going to go. We’ll continue to keep growing with that stuff and see what we want to do with that. In the end, and again, I go back to that touchdown run, Justin did a great job and early in the game on the first throw, too. So, the film, going back and just watching the film in general, regardless of Justin or Andy, just in general and see where we were. I thought we got the run game going pretty good, which was good, but we got to use this to grow and we got to stay positive.”


(On going for multiple fourth-down attempts at the end of the game and if he felt like he needed to do that to keep up)

“Not necessarily. Maybe a little bit once you get a flow of seeing where things are. Early on, it was more so where we were on the field. We felt comfortable. We felt good with the plays that we called in those scenarios. I think we were 0-4 on fourth down. We got to be better there and produce so that we can keep the chains going. So we’ll do that. But at the same point in time, there was nothing too specific, other than I think maybe a coincidence that we want to just be a little bit more aggressive in those areas.”


(On the dangers of going for it on fourth-and-fifteen)

“Some of it’s just the feel of where you’re at end. There were things, offensively, that one play when (Rams’ DL) Aaron (Donald) had that sack, we had a double move out there. It was a little pump play and he made a play. That’s what he does. Sometimes there’s a risk-reward when you take a shot. That can happen at times. And if that doesn’t happen, then maybe we have a guy and we hit it down the sideline, but that’s what you’re dealing with when you play this team. That’s kind of what I was getting to the other day with Aaron (Donald). You can contain him, but then at a crucial point, because I still felt like we were moving the ball and getting into the big redzone, but then he made that play and it made it second-and-forever and then third-and-forever and then trying to go for (it) on four.”


(On if playing Fields in spurts can be good for his development)

“Well, it being the five plays, I think that it’s when and how you do it. You got to have a little feel to it and see, but again, you got to have a why as to how you do it. I think we didn’t really know the exact amount of plays that it would be. Could have been more, could have been less. But once we got behind a couple of scores there in the fourth quarter, we knew it was going to probably limit a few of his stuff.”


(On how he accounts for the explosive plays that his team gave up)

“That’s what we got to do. I got to get with (Bears’ Defensive Coordinator) Sean (Desai) and watch the tape and see the why, see who it was because they had had too many. You can’t give those big plays up for touchdowns. They got a good quarterback back there. It’s going to make plays. And he had that one-third down, he loves dagger routes, and he had that one big third down across the middle. I think it was third-and-10. Early on in the game, they ran that double move on the post route. Again, I got to get to the tape and see the why. We got to get that fixed. But I have a lot of belief in our guys. I really do. Our guys, they know that we can play better. It’s not about, for us, not about overreacting. We got to stick together, just stay together, get better. That’s a good (football team). You have to give a lot of credit to (Rams’ Head Coach) Sean McVay and that team. They got good players, they’re well coached and I have nothing but respect for them.”


(On losing four left tackles in Week 1)

“(Bears’ LT) Larry (Borom) has an ankle and (Bears’ LT) Jason (Peters) has a quad, so we’ll see where that’s at. When you have that happen – I thought Elijah (Wilkinson)came in, I got to see how he played, but we do have a little bit of depth there for those situations , but certainly against this defense, that’s not really what you want. Not with Elijah (Wilkenson), but just losing two tackles.”


(On if the safety was supposed to pick up Rams’ WR Cooper Kupp on the deep pass into the endzone)

“I don’t know. Until I see that tape, I don’t know. But that’s something we can’t have happen.”


(On what did QB Andy Dalton say to him about the interception in the endzone and how he felt being substituted with Fields)

“No because they knew and we knew when we practiced it. They know the progression of those plays. So, I don’t think that had anything to do with that. The kid tipped the ball and then made a great catch too. But the big picture for us is, ‘Okay, we have a big run to start the game. You have a 41-yard run, you get down there, the tempo’s going and you’re good to go. It’s third-and-one, and then boom penalty.’ Now all of a sudden, you look up and you don’t even get three points, they get the ball. So that’s where I think we got to grow. It helps momentum wise. It helps you when you come out with nothing. We also talked about this was going to be a slug fest early on in the first quarter. We talked about there’s going to be some punches thrown and how do you react to it. Coming in at halftime 13-7, the way the first half went, we were okay with that. We wanted to come out now and finish the third and fourth. That’s what we didn’t do. So, we’ve got to get better there.”


(On downsides of QBs going in and out)

“That’s something that we got to keep an eye on because you want to make sure that when you’re doing it, like going into this game, we know that we’re going to do that with Justin (Fields) so that he feels comfortable and knows exactly what plays he’s going in for, and then situationally know how we’re going to use him. I don’t think that’s a bad question at all. I think that’s real. I think that when you go through these situations or these experiences, you have to look at all of that stuff because you want to make sure that you’re taking care of both guys the right way.”


(On being set on using Justin in isolated plays or gauging as he went)

“No, we had a plan and we stuck to our plan. We knew where and when we were going to use them and we stuck to that. We’ll see where that goes and how we do it. But, I think, we all understand that, for us, strategically we’ll see where we go with that without giving anything away.”


(On two veteran safeties not touch a guy on the ground)

“That’s definitely a learning lesson to make sure you touch him when he’s down. That’s what we were looking at and what they were looking at. It’s not for lack of effort with those guys. It’s really not. I think these guys, they care. What they’ll do is that he’ll get out there and he’ll make sure and see why that happened, number one, and then number two, we have to finish, you know, everything we do is we finish. Now, as our challenge, after one week, we got to go back. That was real football now for everybody, right? On all three phases, that was real football. There are some positives, there are some negatives, and that’s for really all 32 teams right now. So we have to make sure we stick together, which we will, and create a plan, and get ready for next week.”


(On if it’s disheartening to see the defense play the way they did)

“Well, they would tell you that because, for them, they have higher standards. They understand too, the turnover thing, the takeaway, we talked about that all training camp, right? Let’s get turnovers, let’s get takeaways. Sometimes schematically teams aren’t going to let you get after them with the ball out real quick. I think Stafford was getting the ball out pretty quick today. But then when you do have opportunities to make plays, you want to be able to do that. So, we have to go back to the drawing board and it’ll be, you know, Sean’s first time going through this, so we’ll go ahead and see where he would have maybe called something the same or different and get with them. Sean was great on the headset. Very calm. Understands that he’s going to challenge these guys. This is not going to be good enough for him, or us, or the players. They know that. The complimentary football thing where you’re getting stopped. I thought the one time that we did it was when we punted the ball, we got them backed up, right. We got the sack, we got the football, we went down and scored. That’s what we need more of, being able to work together, complimentary. And then again, you say, where didn’t you do it to start to the game? We had a big kickoff return. We get the ball, we’re moving it, big run down there, and then don’t finish it. So, we have to be better there.”


(On the situation when they were at the 4th and 15 and the play selection)

“Yeah, at that point in time, again, more of just probably a gut feeling of we felt good about the play. We knew we were going to have to be protecting right there. That’s the one thing when you get into those long down in distances, we know that stuff can happen. You could probably look at it a couple of different ways, but we felt good about it right there.”


(On what stood out about what Fields was able to do out there)

“When you go back to the very first play when he went out there, right, and was able to make a throw. That was an RPO. He made a decision to throw the ball off of a look that we had. So right there to start the game, I thought that was great. And then he was involved on the sideline. And then when we got down into the red zone, at times, we had a couple of things in for him that worked and some that didn’t work. But when he got down in the redzone, again, he did some great things there too. So, we just have to keep having him grow and keep staying positive, but he’s certainly a weapon.”