The NFL offseason is a tricky business. Every team goes into it with a plan but it’s a virtual guarantee that plan will change once things get started. The Chicago Bears knew going into last March they wanted to make changes at quarterback. Everybody knows what happened. After a tense waiting period, the team traded for Nick Foles from Jacksonville. He would reunite with Matt Nagy who he’d worked with in Kansas City four years prior.
Most people have since become convinced that was the Bears’ plan all along. In reality, it was far different. Prior to making that deal for Foles, the team was heavily connected to former New Orleans Saints backup Teddy Bridgewater. He’d just become a free agent and was considered one of the top QBs available.
It seemed like they were serious about getting him too. However, the Carolina Panthers eventually won out. A big reason being the presence of offensive coordinator Joe Brady whom Bridgewater had worked with in New Orleans. After that, not much was heard about the Bears’ connection to him, leaving some to wonder if it was just a rumor.
That is until Nagy spoke up.
Fielding a question from a Panthers beat writer ahead of the matchup on Sunday, the coach was asked if Chicago was as involved in Bridgewater as the rumors claimed.
“We do a pretty good job of looking at a lot of different quarterbacks and other positions but that was one we looked at. Just from evaluating Teddy, I knew a good amount about him when he came out. First hand we got to see him last year with the Saints and what he did to us there.”
Matt Nagy hasn’t been shy in his praise of Bridgewater
His fascination with the Panthers quarterback began way back in 2014. Nagy was quarterbacks coach for the Kansas City Chiefs at the time. He met with Bridgewater multiple times and evaluated him extensively. It was clear he became a fan almost right away. So when the quarterback hung 34 points on the Bears defense last season at Soldier Field with the Saints?
That was all the evidence Nagy needed. They should try to sign that guy.
It didn’t work out. Bridgewater saw a better fit in Carolina and it’s hard to argue. He’s having the best start to any season in his career. If nothing else this is validation that Nagy and the Bears were right to pursue him in the first place. He would’ve been exactly what the Chiefs had in Alex Smith for years in Kansas City.
Smart, steady, and dependable.
Now they’ll have to try beating him on Sunday. One can imagine the Bears defense is eager for the challenge. They probably haven’t forgotten what Bridgewater did to them last year. It was easily the most humiliating afternoon of their 2019 season. Getting some revenge by smothering an offense that has played really well would be particularly sweet.
Matt Nagy hasn’t let them forget.
One thing they’ll have to do is stop Mike Davis on the ground. The former Bear has been on a roll the past few weeks filling in for the injured Christian McCaffrey. A big part of Bridgewater’s success has come off play action because of the threat Davis poses. Chicago has struggled to stop the run this season after losing Eddie Goldman to an opt-out.
They need to be in their gaps and tackle well to win this one.