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Dear Leslie Frazier. We Bills' fans respect you, so think twice before taking the Bears job....

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How the Bears organization screws up the new coach, even before he starts on Day 1

By Adam Jahns and Kevin Fishbain

The Bears were 2-0, but Matt Nagy wasn’t happy.

The team was watching film following its 17-13 win over the Giants in Week 2 of the 2020 season. The offense went scoreless in the second half, but it was a 12-yard completion before halftime that had Nagy frustrated with quarterback Mitch Trubisky.


Trubisky had looked left, then right and then completed a pass to Cole Kmet over the middle. The second-and-7 completion was the fifth play of an 11-play scoring drive that ended with a Trubisky touchdown pass to Darnell Mooney.

But Trubisky’s pass to Kmet was meant to go elsewhere. Nagy had called for a three-route concept to Trubisky’s left: Mooney ran a fade, Allen Robinson ran an out and Tarik Cohen ran a swing route. Trubisky’s reads were supposed to take him from fade to out to swing, and the Giants defender covering Robinson slipped, leaving him wide open. Instead, Trubisky went over the middle to his tight end, which Nagy pointed out.

“He ripped Mitch in front of the whole team,” a source said.
“Nagy proceeded to chastise Mitch for being uncoachable and not throwing it to the proper guy in front of the whole team,” a second source said.
Nagy, like many coaches, often called out players. It was one of his tactics for maintaining accountability and challenging his team. In the Week 5 loss to the Raiders in London in 2019, the offensive line felt the brunt of his wrath. Defensive players, including star outside linebacker Khalil Mack, were singled out, too. It bothered some of them, especially when the defense did its part while Nagy’s offense sputtered.

But the rebuke of Trubisky struck a different chord in the locker room. “It did bum Mitch out, but it also bummed out his teammates,” another source said. “Mitch was really liked by his teammates.” Backup quarterback Nick Foles, the former Super Bowl MVP, waited in the wings. And a week later, after Trubisky threw an ugly interception in the second half against the Falcons, Nagy benched him.

The demotion reverberated throughout Halas Hall, and the franchise turned the page on its quarterback of the future.


Since George McCaskey took over as chairman of the Bears in 2011, the three most important people in his franchise — the GM, head coach and quarterback — have seldom aligned. Bad decisions compounded previous bad decisions.

“Nobody gets a clean slate; nobody gets to build their own program,” said former long snapper Patrick Mannelly, the longest-tenured player in Bears franchise history. “It feels like everybody kind of has had one handcuff on whenever they got hired.”

“It’s an endless cycle of inheriting the previous regime’s trash,” a former team employee said.
And it’s about to happen again.

The Athletic talked to more than a dozen sources close to the team about the moments over the past decade when the organization didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be — or how to fix itself. The sources were granted anonymity in exchange for candor.

For the fourth time since Lovie Smith was fired, the Bears will be introducing a new head coach, and for the second time in five years, that coach will be paired with a first-round pick at quarterback who didn’t show enough as a rookie to be the definitive answer. For the third time since Angelo was fired, there will be a new GM.

The Bears’ inability to get the quarterback, coach and GM combination right can be traced to the top, where McCaskey and Phillips have overseen the franchise’s most important decisions, choices that have led to this endless cycle.

Build the OLine...

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