Jan 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) against the Denver Broncos during a game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

MVP-level Patrick Mahomes driving Chiefs’ Super mission

Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo knows Super Bowl chemistry when he sees it.

Spagnuolo’s Chiefs defense had 55.0 sacks in 2022 but flies under the radar alongside the three-tent show led by MVP frontrunner Patrick Mahomes and fellow All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce.

Spagnuolo has the challenge of slowing down the Jacksonville Jaguars this week, a break from the practice prep and trying to contain Mahomes.

“What always amazes me about our whole offensive group is how well they know each other,” Spagnuolo said. “Travis knows exactly, exactly what Patrick is going to do when he scrambles to his right or his left. Obviously Travis is the one that’s been with him the most. But even Jerick (McKinnon), it just feels like he knows what Patrick is going to do.

“Patrick’s a typical elite player — he makes the other 10 guys around him better. You see that all the time in practice.”

The Chiefs led the NFL in scoring at 29.2 points per game and ranked first in total offense (413.6), passing yards (297.8) and first downs (24 per game).

Mahomes was named first-team All-Pro at quarterback by the same panel that will submit votes for 2022 Most Valuable Player. Mahomes received 49 of 50 votes for All-Pro quarterback.

He had four TD passes in the regular-season matchup with the Jaguars, and the Chiefs converted seven of their 10 third-down opportunities.

But offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said Mahomes and the offense have an understanding of why every moment matters, part of keeping the team’s focus forward.

“We fear absolutely nothing. It’s all about embracing the challenge,” Beiniemy said. “At the end of the day, it’s not about what they do. It’s about what we do in going out to execute our plan.”

Spagnuolo said Mahomes’ approach — constantly seeking to learn and evolve — drives him and other coaches on the Chiefs’ staff to do the same.

Quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy said there’s a different look about Mahomes this week as the playoffs begin.

“The focus he has I think is special. For him to be able to reset helps that mindset, where he’s at mentally. He’s just so locked in right now and it really has not changed since OTAs, training camp. He is very, very focused on the opponent and our system, doing what he does best,” said Nagy. “That’s one of his greatest strengths that we don’t talk about enough.”

Nagy said his focus with Mahomes is knowing the difference between “reckless and ruthless.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy during the first quarter against the New York Giants at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs bring back Matt Nagy as senior assistant, QB coach

Fired by the Chicago Bears in January, Matt Nagy rejoined the Kansas City Chiefs as a senior assistant and quarterbacks coach.

Nagy was the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs before he spent four seasons as head coach of the Bears.

Mike Kafka, the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach last season, was named offensive coordinator of the New York Giants.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes said when Nagy left Kansas City that he was influential in helping him “play fast, be myself” in the NFL.

The Chiefs signed current offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to a one-year contract this week.

Nagy joined the Chiefs under head coach Andy Reid in 2013 as quarterbacks coach and was elevated to co-offensive coordinator in 2016. He was offensive coordinator in Kansas City in 2017, but Reid remained the primary play-caller.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy stands on the sideline during the second quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Bears clean house, fire GM, head coach Matt Nagy

General manager Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy were fired by the Chicago Bears on Monday.

The anticipated move is the latest reset for the franchise and comes at the conclusion of a 6-11 season that ended with a 31-17 loss at Minnesota on Sunday.

“I’ve never been in this position before,” Nagy said after the loss to the Vikings. “Whatever is supposed to happen will happen.”

Nagy guided Chicago to the playoffs twice in four seasons. He posted a 34-31 record but went 0-2 in the playoffs and was 1-7 against the Green Bay Packers.

Pace, hired in 2015, is likely to be remembered for his aggressive maneuvering with draft picks. He traded first-round picks to acquire pass rusher Khalil Mack, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and quarterback Justin Fields. Pace previously worked in the personnel department for the Saints, another team that doesn’t mind parting with draft capital to acquire talent.

The next regime enters without a first-rounder, which goes to the New York Giants as part of the 2021 draft-day trade that helped the Bears move up for Fields.

Nagy came to Chicago after one season as offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs. But he was not the offensive play-caller in Kansas City — head coach Andy Reid had that responsibility — and was relatively untested.

After going 12-4 and winning the North division in 2018, Nagy was 8-8 in 2019 and 2020.

–Field Level Media

Jul 29, 2021; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai gestures while walking on the field during a Chicago Bears training camp session at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Bears to get DC Sean Desai back for ‘MNF’

The Chicago Bears have at least one of their three coordinators back at work Monday for the primetime game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Defensive coordinator Sean Desai has cleared COVID-19 protocols and will coach against the Vikings in their matchup on ‘Monday Night Football.”

Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor remain in the protocols as of Monday morning. If they are not cleared before kickoff, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo will coach the offense against the Vikings and special teams assistant Brian Ginn will coach that unit, head coach Matt Nagy said Monday.

All three coordinators were placed in protocols last Thursday.

Nagy himself missed Chicago’s Week 8 game against San Francisco after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Bears also have 14 players left in the protocol: Quarterback Andy Dalton, running back Ryan Nall, receivers Allen Robinson II and Isaiah Coulter, tight end Jesse James, tackle Larry Borom, defensive end Mario Edwards Jr., inside linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe, outside linebacker Sam Kamara, cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson and Artie Burns, safeties Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson Sr. and nickel back Duke Shelley.

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  A Chicago Bears fans shows his displeasure with the head coach Matt Nagy (not pictured) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Nagy still favored to be fired before Urban Meyer

Despite another turbulent week in Jacksonville, Urban Meyer is not the favorite to be the first NFL head coach fired this season.

That honor belongs to Matt Nagy after Chicago let a halftime lead slip away in a 15-point loss against Green Bay on Sunday night. That dropped the Bears to 4-9 on the season, and Nagy is being offered at -150 by SportsBetting.com to be the first coach fired.

Meyer strongly refuted reports over the weekend that he has “lost” the Jaguars’ locker room after run-ins with players and coaches. With the Jaguars 2-11 after a shutout loss to Tennessee on Sunday, Meyer is being offered at +175.

He also came under fire earlier this season after remaining in Ohio instead of flying home with the team following a Week 4 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Viral videos captured Meyer at a bar with a young woman dancing close to his lap.

Thus far, Jaguars owner Shad Khan has continued to stand by Meyer, who is in his first season as an NFL coach after successful college stints at Utah, Florida and Ohio State.

The next shortest odds belong to the New York Giants’ Joe Judge at +450 and the Carolina Panthers’ Matt Rhule at +600. The 4-9 Giants are in last place in the NFC East, while the 5-8 Panthers currently occupy the basement in the NFC South.

Jacksonville has officially been eliminated from playoff contention. So, too, have the 1-11-1 Detroit Lions, 2-11 Houston Texans and 3-10 New York Jets, who each have a first-year head coach as well.

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy voices his displeasure on a call in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 29-27. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Fired Matt Nagy? Bears coach denies he’s out

Bears head coach Matt Nagy denied the franchise informed him he would be fired this weekend.

A report early Tuesday cited high-level team sources and said Nagy would be fired after the Bears play the Detroit Lions (0-9-1) on Thanksgiving Day.

The Bears (3-7) have lost five consecutive games and will start backup Andy Dalton at Ford Field against the winless Lions.

“That is not accurate,” Nagy said Tuesday, adding that he hasn’t talked to anyone in the organization about his job status.

There is clamoring for Nagy’s job from fans, however. During a high school playoff game in the far North Chicago suburbs, fans in Cary Grove (Ill.) broke into a “Fire Nagy” chant just as the capacity crowd at the United Center did during the Chicago Bulls-Indiana Pacers game on Monday.

Ownership and general manager Ryan Pace didn’t comment on the report, nor did it release any denial of the report of Nagy’s imminent firing. Nagy said he wasn’t expecting any outward vote of confidence as the Bears focus on the business of winning the holiday game.

“We all have our own decisions as to how we do things, and I think this whole entire time, for me and for ownership, we’ve had great communication. Again, it’s focused on Detroit. That’s what it is,” Nagy said.

A podcast Monday featuring Jordan Schultz, a media member who partnered with Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson on a previous basketball podcast, also spent time detailing how the locker room was anti-Nagy. Robinson said the commentary that “a majority” of the locker room wanted Nagy gone didn’t come from him.

“I haven’t had any input with that,” Robinson said. “I mean, me and him did a basketball podcast. Everything that we have from a podcast standpoint, relationship standpoint had been based on covering basketball and based on talking about basketball.”

A former offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs, Nagy’s Bears have scored just 163 points this season. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans and Lions have scored fewer.

Nagy has two 8-8 seasons since going 12-4 and winning the NFC North in his first season as head coach in 2018.

“My focus is on these players and Detroit, and that’s it. That’s my job as a head coach and a leader, is to do that. These players have been amazing,” he said. “They’ve been great. You have this quick turnaround after a loss like (Sunday’s to the Ravens), and now here you go. The only thing we can do is focus on the now and do everything we can. Thursday is going to be here quickly.”

Following Thursday’s game, the Bears have 10 days to prepare to host the Arizona Cardinals (9-2) and then hit the road to play the Green Bay Packers (8-3) in Week 14.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton (14) stands on the sideline during the fourth quarter of their game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Bears’ Matt Nagy: Andy Dalton still QB1 when healthy

Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy said Monday that Andy Dalton remains his starting quarterback when healthy.

Rookie Justin Fields made his second straight start under center Sunday and earned his first NFL victory with a 24-14 defeat of the visiting Detroit Lions.

Dalton missed his second straight game with a knee injury and Nick Foles served as Fields’ backup on Sunday.

“When Andy’s healthy, he’s our starter. Justin’s the two. Nick’s the three,” Nagy confirmed Monday.

The Bears (2-2) visit the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 5.

Fields, the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, completed 11 of 17 passes for 209 yards with one interception against the Lions.

Fields, 22, has completed 48.1 percent of his passes for 347 yards, two picks and no touchdowns this season. He has rushed for 55 yards and one score.

Dalton, 34, has completed 73.5 percent of his throws for 262 yards with one TD and one pick.

–Field Level Media

Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws a pass in the first quarter of the NFL Week 2 game between the Chicago Bears and the Cincinnati Bengals at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. The Bears led 7-0 at halftime.

Cincinnati Bengals At Chicago Bears

Andy Dalton questionable; Bears to make QB decision on Sunday

Andy Dalton was listed as questionable due to his ailing knee on Friday, and Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy said a decision on a starting quarterback won’t be made until close to kickoff against the visiting Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Dalton was a limited practice participant and Nagy’s decision to not name a starter indicates a willingness to give Dalton time to recover. If Dalton can’t play Sunday, rookie Justin Fields will start.

“Andy is getting better each day and we’re going to see where he’s at on Sunday,” Bears coach Matt Nagy told reporters after practice.

Nagy said he doesn’t foresee any situation in which veteran Nick Foles starts Sunday.

Dalton sustained a bone bruise on his left knee during a Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals and missed last week’s 26-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Dalton said he is making progress but was short on details when it came to his practice workload on Friday.

“With the injury, you’re just trying to get back as soon as possible,” Dalton said. “I feel really good about where I’m at. …

“I did some things (in practice) and felt good about where I was and everything. I’m going to leave it at that.”

The 33-year-old Dalton is in first season with the Bears and has completed 73.5 percent of his throws for 262 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Fields, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2021 draft, started against the Browns and it didn’t go well. He completed 6 of 20 passes for 68 yards but gave 67 yards back on nine sacks. Chicago had 47 yards of total offense.

Overall, Fields is just 14-of-35 passing (40 percent) for 138 yards and one interception in three games.

“Last week wasn’t the performance we want to put out,” Fields said on Friday. “We talked about that and we expect to be better this week.”

Among other injuries, star outside linebacker Khalil Mack (foot) returned to practice on a limited basis after missing the previous two days. Mack is listed as questionable, along with cornerback Xavier Crawford (back) and receiver Darnell Mooney (groin).

Linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (hamstring) will miss the contest, as will safety Tashaun Gipson (hamstring).
–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy during the first half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Bears’ Matt Nagy not ready to name starter vs. Lions

Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy was confident in identifying his quarterback depth chart on Wednesday.

As for the identity of his starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the visiting Detroit Lions, that’s a cloudier picture.

“As far as a QB update, I’m going to hit on a few things here, we expect both Andy (Dalton) and Justin (Fields) out at practice in some capacity and we’ll update their status based on their participation,” Nagy said Wednesday.

“In regard to the depth chart … Andy’s the (No.) 1, Justin’s the 2 and Nick (Foles) as the 3. Starter will be sorted out once we have a clearer picture moving forward here. We’ll know more and we’ll clear that up.”

Dalton, 33, sustained a bone bruise in his knee on Sept. 19 during the Bears’ 20-17 win against one of his former teams, the Cincinnati Bengals. He sat out Chicago’s 26-6 setback to the Cleveland Browns last Sunday.

Fields, 22, suffered a right hand injury during his first career start last Sunday. The Bears recorded 47 total yards (46 rushing, one passing) in 42 plays and yielded nine sacks in the loss.

Foles, 32, has yet to play since joining the Bears (1-2).

–Field Level Media

Jun 9, 2021; Lake Forest, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterbacks Justin Fields (1) and Andy Dalton (14) look to pass footballs during organized team activities at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Bears coach Matt Nagy taking time on QB decision

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy plans to be deliberate when determining the pecking order at quarterback this week.

Rookie first-round pick Justin Fields made his first career start Sunday at Cleveland in a 26-6 loss, and the Browns helped the Bears produce disastrous results: 1 passing yard and 42 total yards in 47 plays. One first down in 11 third-down snaps. Nine sacks allowed.

Fields required X-rays on his right hand after the game and was pressured on 60 percent of his dropbacks. X-rays were negative.

Fields was elevated from the backup role due to a knee injury to starting quarterback Andy Dalton.

“Big picture, after watching the tape, it’s stating the obvious to say we obviously have to be a heck of a lot better offensively and get into a rhythm,” Nagy said Monday.

The Bears face the Detroit Lions on Sunday and Nagy said he will update the status of the team’s quarterbacks on Wednesday.

“It keeps you up at night, because you want to figure out why,” Nagy said. “I care about this situation immensely.

“That’s what we’re working through right now, so I can’t definitely say (who) is the starter. Everything is on the table.”

Nick Foles, the No. 3 quarterback is healthy.

“They’re all three under consideration right now,” Nagy said. “We know where Nick’s at health-wise, but we just want to keep an eye on Justin and Andy.”

–Field Level Media