When it comes to grooming future head coaches in the NFL, few have been better over the past two decades than Andy Reid. Hopefully he’ll win a Super Bowl sooner or later, but if that can’t be his legacy then this should. His cast of former underlings has already done great things in the NFL. Doug Pederson just won the Super Bowl in Philadelphia. John Harbaugh did that six years ago in Baltimore. Ron Rivera went to one in 2015.
If that’s not enough reason to be excited about the arrival of Matt Nagy in Chicago, what else could be? Reid even went so far as to say Nagy was one of his favorites when the Bears made the hire, getting a little choked up. The two had been together since 2008. That year Reid, then coach of the Eagles gave Nagy a shot an assistant coach.
It was a godsend for the young man. Nagy had just retired as a quarterback in the Arena League, failing to crack the NFL. He was about to go into the business of real estate. In fact he had a job all lined up and was about to begin when a longtime friend working under Reid arrived with the opportunity.
The rest is history as they say.
Andy Reid got a chance to expand on his Nagy comments
With the minicamps all but over, there’s a long period of inactivity before training camp. This gave Andy Reid a chance to talk further about Nagy both as a coach and a person. He appeared on Monday for the McNeil & Parkins Show on 670 The Score. He offered a bit of humor at first but insisted that if Bears fans give Nagy time the payoff will be huge.
“He’s going to go undefeated this year. No, I’m joking. Listen, just be patient and I know good things will happen. We’re not in a 100-yard dash here. Give him time and you’re going to have a good football team for a long time. He’s tremendous. Listen, if it happens this year, it happens. But I guarantee you it will happen.”
It’s a fair point. Reid didn’t get off to a fast start in his first opportunity as a head coach. The Eagles improved by just a couple games, 3-13 to 5-11 with only modest improvements on offense. The next year? Philadelphia went 11-5 and made the playoffs. They would go on to make the playoffs six times in seven years including a Super Bowl berth in 2004.
The real source of Nagy’s success will be his leadership and offensive mind
Reid lauded Nagy as a leader from the outset back in January. What he didn’t have a chance to talk up was just how good an offensive mind the 39-year old is. Reid explained that he does not hand over control of his offense willingly. He has to trust the person has a complete understanding of the system before even considering it.
He didn’t hold back in his praise for the job Nagy did in Kansas City, nor the job he expects him to do in Chicago.
“Matt’s as good of an offensive mind as there is. He’s got a real good feel for it. Listen, it takes a lot for me to just turn things over like that. There’s got to be a foundation built there before I do that, and I was able to do that with (Eagles coach Doug Pederson) and Matt. I think what the fans there are going to get is a potentially explosive offense.”
Nagy took over playcalling during the 2017 season for the Chiefs. They responded with the 5th ranked offense in the NFL. Their highest ranking by far of the Reid era. Alex Smith averaged 269.5 passing yards per game, by far his career-high. Nagy kept things balanced but early on it became clear he was always looking for the big play. Kansas City tied for second in the league last year for plays of 25 yards or more at 39.
For context, the Bears were second-to-last with 13. Fans might think it will be different this year, but Reid is insisting they have no idea yet how different. They should sit back and enjoy the fireworks. The winning part? That will come, sooner or later.