Bears’ Matt Nagy: I could have done more to help Mitch TrubiskyPatrick Finleyon April 2, 2021 at 10:28 pm

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky and coach Matt Nagy link arms during the national anthem before the Saints game.
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky and coach Matt Nagy link arms during the national anthem. | Charles Rex Arbogast, AP Photos

Nagy, hired in 2018 to mold the second-year quarterback, was asked what went wrong the last three seasons. 

Those waiting for Ryan Pace to cap Mitch Trubisky’s Bears career with a long-awaited public mea culpa were left to thumb through their Latin dictionary for, well, whatever the opposite of that is.

Head coach Matt Nagy, though, acknowledged the Bears — and not just Trubisky — dropped the ball. It wasn’t a mea culpa, but a we-a culpa — as in, we didn’t do enough.

“When you look back at the relationship side, the communication side,” Nagy said Friday. “You always want to go back and say, ‘OK, could I have done more in a certain way of communicating? Maybe a different way of how you learn who he is …

“I’m always gonna start with myself and say, ‘OK, where could I have gotten better?’ I just feel like some of it there, is, me being able to … As I built this staff and we have different parts to the coaching staff and how they deal with the quarterback position — the coaching side, the on-the-field, the game-day, etc — I just feel like in general, that’s probably where I would have started.

“I learned through it. And I’m sure Mitch did, too. Again, there’s a lot of other teams that have been in similar situations throughout the years.”

Few teams have to carry the baggage, though, of trading four picks to move up spot and draft Trubisky instead of Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson. A split was probably best, both for the Bears and for the player with the outsized expectations.

The Bears never doubted Trubisky’s effort or attitude. But Trubisky’s landing place — as a Bills backup, for one year and $2.5 million — reflects how far he’d fallen in the eyes of the league.

Nailing a first-round pick at quarterback opens championship windows. Nagy acknowledged the tremendous financial advantage of being able to pay a rookie scale for the most expensive position in the sport: teams can spend at other spots.

The 2019 Chiefs won the Super Bowl with Mahomes on a rookie deal; the 2018 Rams went to the Super Bowl with Jared Goff on his first contract. Russell Wilson — trigger warning, Bears fans — won a Super Bowl and lost another before signing his first contract extension.

“The quarterback position has changed in this league in the last five to six years,” Nagy said. “And right now, there’s just so much instant gratification that’s wanted and needed. People want it right away, especially, too, when you can hit on a quarterback that’s cheap in their first four years.”

Nagy, hired in 2018 to mold the second-year quarterback, was asked what went wrong the last three seasons.

“You come here, different things happen,” he said. “But the kid worked so hard. He won a lot of football games for us. And when I say I’m indebted to him, there’s so many different conversations — and good conversations — that we had and things we worked through throughout those three years.

“For different reasons, it didn’t work out. But I certainly appreciate the way that he handled everything. And I’m sure he’s learned a lot. I know I’ve learned a lot.”

Pace, meanwhile, said merely that Trubisky “battled” and “sacrificed a lot for this team.” As for why the Bears didn’t bring him back, the general manager said “there’s a lot of factors and multiple people involved.” When asked why new starter Andy Dalton fit the scheme better than Trubisky did, Pace said he wanted to look forward.

He doesn’t get to dictate when the Trubisky discussions stop, through. And they won’t stop simply because he’s in Western New York — or because there’s finally finality to his Bears career.

“It’s hard to go through these processes,” Nagy said. “I care so much about him.

“It didn’t work out here.”

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