Matt Nagy presumes he’ll coach Bears’ final two games

Matt Nagy coaches against the Vikings last week. | Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

“We’re continuing to move forward this week and prepare for the Giants,” he said.

Sometimes Matt Nagy has a speech prepared for the Bears’ Saturday night meeting at the team hotel. Other times he speaks off the cuff.

Saturday night was the latter. The head coach walked to the front of the ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Seattle and told a story about his son Tate, a freshman at Lake Forest High School. The two were sharing a ride home from Soldier Field after the Bears’ loss to the Vikings when Tate talked about what he was beginning to learn as a young athlete. One of the phrases Tate shared stuck out to Nagy: “Empty your cup.”

So that’s what Nagy told his players to do Saturday night.

“Whatever you do, win lose or draw, if you just empty your cup — you got a full cup, you got a half cup, and you empty it, and we all empty our cups, we’ll have a damn good chance to win the football game,” he said moments after the Bears’ 25-24 win in Seattle on Sunday. “If you just pour your cup and you don’t empty it, then you’re not giving it all you got.”

Monday, it became clear the Bears will let Nagy empty his cup. Nagy said that Monday that he’s operating under the assumption he’ll coach the Bears’ final two games of the season.

“We’re continuing to move forward this week and prepare for the Giants,” he said.

Nagy referenced a quote from Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo: “When you focus on the past, that’s your ego. I kind of try to focus on the moment, in the present. That’s humility.” Back in July, Nagy said he was putting that quote up in all four sons’ rooms. He shared it with his team, too.

“We’re in the present right now,” Nagy said. “I, and we, all owe that to each other for today and this week with the Giants, and finishing out this week on a high note and trying to get a win. And then doing it again in the final game of the season.”

That’s not a surprise, given that the Bears have never fired a coach during the season. But it’s nonetheless significant, given the timing of this week. Starting Tuesday at 8 a.m., teams that have either fired their head coach or informed them they would be fired can begin interviewing opposing assistant coaches for that job.

The Jaguars and Raiders, who fired their coaches midseason, qualify. The Bears do not.

The new NFL rule might sounds better than it is. The interviews are granted only with the permission of an assistant’s current team and are limited to two hours on Zoom.

Were the Bears to have taken that route, it might have raised even more questions: namely, who’s doing the interviewing? Is it general manager Ryan Pace, whose job status is perilous — although not as much as his head coach? Chairman George McCaskey and president/CEO Ted Phillips, who have both said for years they don’t make football decisions?

In January, McCaskey and Phillips made it clear that Pace and Nagy were tied at the hip. That will be the case — at least for two more weeks.

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