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Nagy: 'Nothing really changes' in last two games


With his team officially eliminated from playoff contention, coach Matt Nagy didn't attempt to present silver linings or moral victories.

However, he made one thing very clear: the Bears will not be packing it in for the last two weeks of the season.

"Everything stays the same," said Nagy. "I realize that because of can't make the playoffs thing, I get that from the outsiders. But for us, nothing really changes."

Nagy dismissed the idea that there would be any significant tweaks to the offense against the Kansas City Chiefs or Minnesota Vikings. The team will not hold players out. The end of the roller coaster season will be a proving ground for his players and assistants. 

The team will spend the next two weeks looking at the "whys," breaking down the game against the Green Bay Packers and seeking to address some of the areas of the game that have been inconsistent this season.

"The bigger picture right now for us is we can't control anything about the playoffs," said Nagy. "That's done. That's out. We can't do it. But what we can do is continue to fight our tails off and coach our tails off, and that's what we're looking for. That's what I'm looking for: how our guys respond to this situation." 

While 20 players on the active roster played on the 2017 team that went 5-11, Nagy hasn't missed the playoffs since 2014, when he was the quarterbacks coach for the Chiefs. Even then, his team was able to win two out of the last three games to finish with a 9-7 record.

Despite taking on more losses than expected this season, Nagy's 19-11 record is the best two-season start by a Bears coach since Luke Johnsos and Hunk Anderson served as co-head coaches while George Halas served in World War II. 

"This is the first time that we're in this situation in the year and a half or two years that I'm here," said Nagy. "I know how our guys will respond. I know how our coaches will respond, so our main objective now is to treat this game no different than literally what it would've been if we'd won yesterday."

Nagy said there would be a discussion of what will happen with injured players like receiver Taylor Gabriel and linebacker Danny Trevathan. Several younger players, such as tight end Jesper Horsted, linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski and cornerback Kevin Toliver II have been able to take advantage of increased playing time in the past few weeks, a trend that is likely to continue.

However, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks is unlikely to be shut down for the season after returning from injured reserve last week. Nagy called Hicks' performance against the Packers "lights-out" and something that the team had been missing.

"We want to continue to just keep going forward with him like we've been," said Nagy. "I don't look at this as changing anything with that. Now we've gotta talk through all that, and I think that's the biggest thing is making sure that we're all on the same page, but I know Akiem's going to want to be out there and playing and helping out our defense as much as he can."