Why The Matt Nagy Offense Should Take a Big Step Forward


The Matt Nagy offense didn’t disappoint in 2018. Despite loads of new moving parts, it showcased plenty of instances of how good it could be. The complex formations. The creative playcalling. A mix of old school and new wave. The Chicago Bears head coach demonstrated a taste of things to come. People are left wondering what he might have in store for Year 2.

There’s plenty of optimism around Halas Hall. The belief is the added experience of a full season combined with a deeper and more versatile depth chart means big things for this offense in 2019. Remember this is a group that finished 21st in total yards and 9th in scoring. There is plenty of room for improvement. Will it happen though?

There are no such things as guarantees in the NFL, but history can often paint a clear picture on subjects like this. So it was time to dig into the research to see if there’s any correlation with the situation Nagy faces and those who’ve been through it before.

Matt Nagy offense has history on its side going into 2019

I decided to look back over history at previous offensive head coaches. The idea was to find those who fit two criteria. They had to call their own plays and they had to have consistency at the quarterback position. Then it was a matter of determining whether there was any significant spike in offensive production, be it in total yards or scoring. The results were fairly consistent.

  • Sean McVay in 2017: #10 (yards)
  • Sean McVay in 2018: #2 (yards)
  • Doug Pederson in 2016: #22 (yards)
  • Doug Pederson in 2017: #7 (yards)
  • Jay Gruden in 2014: #26 (scoring)
  • Jay Gruden in 2015: #10 (scoring)
  • Mike McCarthy in 2006: #22 (scoring)
  • Mike McCarthy in 2007: #4 (scoring)
  • Jon Gruden in 2002: #18 (yards)
  • Jon Gruden in 2003: #10 (yards)
  • Mike Shanahan in 1995: #9 (scoring)
  • Mike Shanahan in 1996: #4 (scoring)

There were some exceptions, mind you. Sean Payton went from #1 to #4 in scoring from 2006 to 2007. Andy Reid went from #6 to #16 in scoring from 2013 to 2014 in Kansas City. However, it’s worth noting he went from #25 to #12 in Philadelphia back in 1999 and 2000. So he offers some confirmation to the theory as well.

This is strong evidence that Nagy should be able to improve substantially on what he accomplished last season. The key of course will be good health at quarterback. Other offensive head coaches who didn’t make the list saw their second seasons ruined by injuries at that position. Something to keep in mind.