Matt Nagy is 31-27 in four seasons as Bears head coach, and the team is 3-7 heading into its game against the Lions on Thursday. | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
There has been way too much embarrassment for the Bears lately. They need Nagy to rise above the tumult and lead them competently until his seemingly inevitable exit.
DETROIT — It has never seemed more inevitable that the Bears will fire coach Matt Nagy. They’ve given him time to turn the offense around, but their confidence has rightfully plummeted in the three dispiriting seasons since his terrific debut.
If anything, they’re late to act.
The only real uncertainty is whether Nagy will be dismissed in a matter of hours or months, depending on if the Bears prefer to move on after the game against the Lions on Thursday or let Nagy finish the season.
He will leave with memorable moments, ranging from the thrills of 2018 to the maddening missteps that at one point compelled him to infamously declare, “I’m not an idiot.” Regardless of when he exits, the low bar for the remainder of Nagy’s tenure is to avoid any additional nonsense.
He must prevent this situation from becoming even more of an embarrassment than it already is. It is a lost and wasted season either way, but for the sake of the Bears, the fans and his future job prospects, he can’t let this devolve into a total clown show during however many games he has left.
That’s pretty much what it was Sunday, when he heard Soldier Field chanting, “Fire Nagy,” and, “Nagy sucks,” as his team imploded in a 16-13 loss to the Ravens.
It was the clumsiest, ugliest scene of the Nagy era:
— The Ravens scratched former MVP Lamar Jackson and beat the Bears with a young, backup quarterback making his first career start.
— The defense got another flag for too many men on the field and had a backbreaking blown coverage in the final minute.
— Either Nagy or offensive coordinator Bill Lazor torpedoed the opening drive with a puzzling run play on third-and-five at the Ravens’ 16, and the Bears walked away with no points.
— Nagy bungled his timeouts in the second half, including one with two minutes left in which he obviously lost track of the score.
As bad as it was on the field, it was worse in the post-game press conference as he butchered his excuses. Bears fans are as eager for him to stop talking as they are for him to stop coaching.
Then the mess spilled into the next few days.
Nagy offered no defense of the failures that led to the Bears sitting 3-7, the farthest below .500 they’ve been since he started. He left his quarterback situation murky between Andy Dalton and Justin Fields, refusing to answer direct and simple questions about Fields’ health even while national media outlets reported details.
Then came the Patch.com report that the Bears had already informed him Monday he’d be fired after the Lions game. Nagy seemed genuine when he said that was incorrect, leading to a supposition that perhaps it was at least partially true: Bears chairman George McCaskey might’ve made that decision, but hadn’t told Nagy.
Nagy’s responses to a smattering of questions about being fired provided a snapshot of the day at Halas Hall. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor was miffed by similar inquiries an hour earlier, and players followed by doing their best to be diplomatic.
That chaos is beyond Nagy’s control. It’s squarely on McCaskey, president Ted Phillips and general manager Ryan Pace to put out that fire, and they’ve shown no inclination to do so. If he finishes the season, Nagy likely will face more days like that if his bosses remain silent.
All he can do, as he often says, is stay locked into the games. And as tiresome as it has been to hear that repeatedly, everyone would appreciate him running the team competently as he finishes his term.
The Bears don’t have to be great, and no one’s expecting them to make a wild run for the playoffs. They just need Nagy to guide them to the end of this without everyone laughing at them.