Storylines that Kept Bears vs. Chiefs in Prime Time
Even though the Bears have “nothing to play for,” there are still some obvious storylines the NFL wants to feed to fans.
Many people believed that the Bears/Chiefs game would have been flexed out of the Sunday night time slot if the Bears were out of playoff contention, but that isn’t the case. Even though the Bears have “nothing to play for,” there are still some obvious storylines the NFL wants to feed to fans. First, you have the sensei vs. grasshopper (Reid V.S. Nagy) storyline, and then you have the Mahomes and Trubisky storyline. Obviously their offensive schemes mirror each other, but the production hasn’t, and there are a few reasons why.
1. Travis Kelce
Kelce, a seven-year vet, has posted his fourth consecutive 1000-plus yard season. When Andy Reid was asked about the importance of a tight end in his system, he explained that tight ends are the “friendliest” player to a quarterback and that they were literally the closest pass-catcher to them. A lot of times, Kelce is the first read for Patrick Mahomes, and unfortunately Nagy hasn’t had a tight end that he can run the offense through. A healthy Trey Burton doesn’t compare to Kelce, but even still, we saw how much he opened up the offense in 2018. I firmly believe a lot of Matt Nagy’s and Mitchell Trubisky‘s struggles were magnified by the revolving door of tight ends this season.
Obviously, Andy Reid is a veteran play-caller and Matt Nagy is fairly new to it, but lets explore the not so obvious. When Andy Reid took over the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999, they had the worst passing offense in all of football and were ranked 17th in rushing. Now that’s not completely on Reid, he started the season with Doug Pederson as his quarterback and eventually Donovan McNabb took over, but either way it was a process. Reid didn’t have all the pieces put together, but he still had a damn good running back in Duce Staley. It was a different era, and this isn’t an Andy Reid history lesson, but you get the picture. Eventually, he found a way to groom McNabb and cater an offense to his skill set. With Mitchell Trubisky set to return next year, you have to hope Nagy can follow in his mentor’s footsteps.
3. Humbleness and Willingness to Adjust
Experience and success make it easy for a guy like Andy Reid to become a humble play-caller. In the past, Reid understood when he started showing tendencies, and defensive coordinators were on to him. Reid was humble enough to hand over the play-calling duties in times of need. This shows he was confident he groomed his offensive coordinators to become play-callers and also shows that he knew when he was struggling, as he was willing to ask for help. To me, it speaks volumes to his confidence and shows he doesn’t need to prove anything to himself. Right now, Nagy can’t say the same. I’m not saying that Nagy can’t grow into that humble, confident play-caller, but he’s shown that’s not where he is at this point in his career. We have all seen him white knuckle his way through this season as a play-caller. Again, Bears fans have to hope Nagy can follow in his mentor’s footsteps.
The next major storyline is Mahomes vs. Trubisky. As we all know, the Bears selected Mitchell Trubisky before Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 draft, and this is where I unfortunately have to “beat the dead horse.” Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes were put into two completely different situations, and Mahomes reaped the benefits. Mahomes has learned one offense compared to Trubisky having to learn two. Mahomes has a 20-year vet as a head coach/play-caller, and Trubisky was given a rookie. Mahomes learned behind Alex Smith for a year, and Trubisky took notes from Mike ‘long neck’ Glennon for four games. Mahomes jumped into a well-oiled machine with multiple All-Pros, and Trubisky has Allen Robinson. It’s funny because when the Chiefs made the decision to move Alex Smith to Washington, the national media didn’t approve. Then Mahomes exploded onto the scene and everyone started jock riding to the second power. None of this is an excuse for some of Trubisky’s shortcomings. I am just stating facts. It’s beyond annoying when fans just look at the numbers and say “we could have had Mahomes.” We have no idea what the results would be if the Bears decided to draft Patrick Mahomes. It’s over, forget about it and stop crying about it.
A lot of fans were surprised that the Bears and Chiefs weren’t flexed out of prime time this Sunday, but the storylines were too juicy for the NFL to resist. It would have been nice for both teams to have playoff implications, and that’s what the NFL expected when they made the schedule, but this is still a prime time-worthy game. You will hear Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth talking about Andy Reid, Matt Nagy, Patrick Mahomes, and Mitchell Trubisky all night long.
Featured Photo: NBC Sports