Outside of Mitch Trubisky, the talk of this week for the Chicago Bears has been how they plan to handle the Los Angeles Rams defense this Sunday night. They’re led by the likely Defensive Player of the Year in Aaron Donald who has 16.5 sacks with four games still left in the season. Throw in the fact that Wade Phillips is running the show, it’s hard not to feel a little intimidated. Well, don’t count Matt Nagy among them.
He praised the longtime coordinator as one of the best in the game. Somebody who thrives at simplifying things for his players, allowing them to play fast and be themselves. It’s hard to argue with the success. He’s had at least one top 10 defense for every team he’s ever coached for. His 2015 Denver Broncos unit was one of the best in NFL history.
Nagy should know. His Kansas City Chiefs teams played that group twice. He has extensive knowledge of what Phillips likes to do and even went head-to-head with him as coordinators when Nagy got promoted in 2016. Did Phillips make an impression at that time? Not exactly. If anything, it was the other way around.
Matt Nagy has had success against Phillips before
Keep in mind that Broncos defense is better than the one Phillips currently coaches in Los Angeles. They had Pro Bowl talent from front to back with Von Miller, Chris Harris Jr., a younger Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, and Darian Stewart. They were the #4 defense in the NFL in 2016. Nagy’s offense got the better of them not once but twice.
Bears head coach Matt Nagy on match ups against the Rams,"We'll always respect you, but we're never going to back down."
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) December 5, 2018
The first meeting was tough sledding. The Chiefs scored two touchdowns and failed to crack 300 total yards. However, they didn’t turn the ball over and put up 23 points. A few weeks later on Christmas, there was no longer any doubt. Kansas City rolled up 484 yards of offense including 234 on the ground, scoring 33 points. Most impressive of all? Alex Smith wasn’t sacked after being dropped six times in the previous meeting.
That was a surefire sign that Nagy had gotten the measure of what Phillips liked to do on defense and crafted the perfect game plan on how to attack him. That gives one plenty of hope that the Bears will be well-prepared for what the Rams try to do at Soldier Field on Sunday night. Trubisky is back. Everybody else is healthy. If they can keep Donald from running wild, they have every chance to win that game.