INDIANAPOLIS – Bears coach Matt Nagy spoke to the media for about 15 minutes Tuesday morning at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Here are four things we learned from that session:
(1) Nagy plans to continue calling plays in 2020, but he will consult with his assistant coaches, some of whom have called plays in the past.
New additions to Nagy's offensive staff this year include coordinator Bill Lazor, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, line coach Juan Castillo and tight ends coach Clancy Barone. Lazor and DeFilippo both have previously called plays as NFL offensive coordinators.
"I'll be calling the plays," Nagy said. "We do have a lot of guys that have called plays. A lot of times we'll talk through, 'Why would you make this call or that call?' And that's growth in myself, too, as a play-caller. I learned a lot last year in so many different ways, on and off the field, as a head coach. I learned a lot as a play-caller, with players how they work, with scheme, with coaches.
"I'm at a point right now after two years in this role where I'm just so fired up and excited. I feel rejuvenated. And I'm refreshed in a lot of different ways."
(2) Nagy may change the offensive scheme to better take advantage of what his players do well and put them in position to succeed.
Asked Tuesday whether he would consider changing the scheme, Nagy said: "Absolutely, yeah. Whatever we need to do, you want to do that.
"Now that I've had two years with this personnel and kind of building it and knowing who we are, it's so much easier to watch scheme eval and know what this guy does well, his weaknesses and his strengths. And so now with that, it's not fair to force them into something that I do. Now, if you can get some of it that you do well, let's keep it going. But this is a clean slate and we want to make sure that we give everybody the best opportunity."
(3) Fixing the offense after it regressed in 2019 starts with establishing an identity, especially in terms of the running game.
"As we go through this offseason right now, we need to figure out offensively what is our identity," Nagy said. "I think more specifically, too, in the run game, we struggled there. So we've got to figure out what our identity is and that's going to be an objective for us. Last year you heard me say sometimes it takes five or six weeks. I feel like personally that's always the case, but I think there's a sense of urgency for us going into this year. It needs to happen sooner."
(4) One solution to an improved running game may be to increase starting running back David Montgomery's workload.
Selected by the Bears in the third round of last year's draft out of Iowa State, Montgomery rushed for 889 yards and six touchdowns on 242 carries as a rookie. The Bears were 6-1 when he had 16 or more attempts in a game and 2-7 when he had 15 or fewer carries.
"Well, I think like most players, the more touches you get—and you saw some of that last year—the more comfortable they get," Nagy said. "It's like a shooter [in basketball]. The more they shoot, the more rhythm they get into.
"He's a very talented kid. I love his hunger. We talked last year about how much he learned each week in practice of what this long season was about. He can do a lot of different things, and we know what his strengths are and what his weaknesses are. Could we have helped him last year by getting him the ball more? Yes, absolutely. It's a part of the identity.
"What we're going to do is focus in No. 1 as a staff, schematically how can we get better? And if we start with that, then we can worry about the players. I know that right now I feel very good with the players we have, and everybody—starting with me—needs to be a lot better."