Rozner on the Bears: Is Matt Nagy afraid to criticize Mitch Trubisky?
Nothing is ever Mitch Trubisky's fault.
If you listen to Ryan Pace, Matt Nagy and Trubisky, you know this to be their posture on all things quarterback play.
Pace will go to the mat for the No. 2 pick in the draft, just as he will for all of his special selections, some of which were in witness protection again Sunday.
That's the reason you wind up in free agency and making trades, because draft picks disappear.
For Trubisky, it's just a bad look. When he blames his teammates, you know they hear about it and it can't play well in the locker room.
As for Nagy, is he truly unable to see it?
Is he afraid Trubisky will melt if he hears the coach criticize him, beyond saying his footwork needs to get better three years -- yes, three years -- into an NFL career?
Or are the Bears so heavily invested in Trubisky's rise to Hall of Famer, and managing public perception with fans watching the QBs taken after him, that the head coach can't poke the No. 2 pick in the draft for fear the GM might be offended?
When you remember how hard Bears ownership sold Pace, Nagy and Trubisky as the answer to their Super Bowl drought, and explained why they needed five years for a two-year rebuild, you can see why they continue to say that everything is fine.
What choice do they have? Doubling down has been the franchise motto for 30 years.
It's not a Bears sort of thing to admit they might not be perfect, even though your eyes tell you otherwise.
They talk like they're the Patriots -- they always have -- as if you don't remember the last Super Bowl win was more than three decades ago, and they believe you so willing to worship the beloved that you won't count the rings.
But you can't fix anything if you're not willing to admit something's broken.
It's like Nagy saying he wants to run the football when he clearly doesn't want to run the football.
"Early on, we were zero, 1 and 2 on our yards running the ball. It's really simple math," Nagy said of the first half Sunday. "As a play caller, when it's second-and-9 and second-and-10 and second-and-8 and you're moving the ball throwing it, you're getting first downs throwing it, that's what the objective is, to get first downs."
Except he's bad at math.
The Bears managed only 4 first downs in the first half and they weren't moving the ball. They collected 81 yards on 29 plays, only 5 of them run plays.
"I don't care if I have to throw the ball 60 times a game," Nagy said, "if that's what's going to help us win a game."
This is obviously what he'd like to do.
Of the 5 first-half runs Sunday, the first was a fake QB keep from a player with a dislocated shoulder and a handoff to Tarik Cohen that was stuffed.
The next was a Trubisky option where he pitched to Cohen, which also went nowhere, as if the Saints believed Trubisky was going to turn it upfield and risk a big hit.
The third run was David Montgomery on first down for 2 yards, and the fourth was an Anthony Miller end-around on second-and-6 for a single yard before he fumbled.
Not exactly a commitment to the run in the first quarter.
The only run of the second quarter was Cohen for 9 yards on first down. The Bears then dropped back 4 straight plays for a net loss of 1 yard and kicked a field goal.
The next three series were all three-and-outs, all on 3 passes.
You can commit to the run if you want, or don't, but the notion that a gain of 1 or 2 on first down precludes further attempts is nonsense, and to pretend you tried is laughable.
If you want to throw it 60 times, then just throw it 60 times.
Of course, the offense was only part of the problem against New Orleans as the Bears were unprepared in all three phases coming out of a bye week.
That's 100 percent on the supercool, young and hip head coach, the one who dances with his players and has the ingenious downfield offense.
But it's more than just Nagy or his QB or his GM. It's all of them, and Sunday's loss was just about rock bottom for a team that talked an awful lot about the Super Bowl as they giggled their way through the summer.
They face a terrible team Sunday in the Chargers at Soldier Field, but the Bears will need more than an air-raid siren and a public address announcer screaming for crowd noise like a high school kid when they take the field.
The Chargers have watched film, too. After seeing the Bears' effort Sunday, they have every right to think they're also playing a terrible team.
Terrible happens fast in the NFL and the Bears have precious few days to get it together.
Or they can say so long to 2019.