Yes, the Bears continue to struggle on offense and were soundly defeated by the Rams Monday night in Los Angeles.
But the sky isn't falling, at least not in Matt Nagy's world. The Bears coach isn't trudging around Halas Hall with his head down and morale low—not with his team in the thick of the NFC playoff race with a 5-2 record.
"We don't stay with the negative," Nagy said Thursday. "There's a positive vibe in the building amongst our coaches and players. We are 5-2; we are not 2-5, and I think that's very, very important for all of us to understand. I would be a terrible head coach if I was walking around this building right now acting like we are 2-5. How crazy would that be if I did that? So I'm going to make sure that the positivity stays.
"These are learning lessons. What are we going to do? Are we going to stick together or are we going to be negative and talk about the what ifs and the coulda, shoulda, wouldas and everything? No, we stay positive. We become better teachers, we become players, we stick together. We fight when we hit adversity. That's what you do. That's what more people should do in this world, in my opinion."
Of course, just because Nagy isn't scowling and shouting obscenities like a driver who got cut off in traffic doesn't mean he's avoiding reality. The Bears coach understands the need to improve an offense that has produced just five touchdowns in its last four games. But he also knows that it isn't any easier to find answers if he's shouting the questions.
"The entire offense, everybody, we just keep rolling, we keep plugging away," Nagy said. "We believe in one another and we worry about the solutions and just play hard. That's the biggest thing. And then I think as well as doing all that, sometimes, whatever sport it is, when things aren't going like you want, what you've got to do is kind of get back to some of the basics and sometimes the simplicity, even in practice.
"When you're out here at practice, we talk about, 'let your personality show, and just have a little fun,' because a lot of times people can tense up and you start playing a little bit different, and it just keeps getting worse and worse. There's a little bit of that involved as well. So it's just focus and having fun and cutting it loose and getting back to what we've done ever since we've played this game or coached this game."
“We fight when we hit adversity. That’s what you do. That’s what more people should do in this world, in my opinion.” Bears coach Matt Nagy
Nagy said earlier this week that he has considered relinquishing play-calling duties but ultimately decided "right now, where we're at, that's not where we think it's at." On Thursday, he was basically asked by a reporter how poorly the offense would have to play to change his mind.
"To me, that feels like somewhat of a negative thought I would have in my head," Nagy said. "Like, 'when are things going to go so bad that I'm going to give up play-calling and when are things going to go so bad that we're going to do this or that?' I know that's kind of where this world is at today. There's a lot of negativity and people feed off of that, and we love all of that stuff right now—negative, negative.
"That's just not where we're at or where I'm at. We try to focus on the positives. We feel strong about that. I feel strong about it. I understand the question, but I really try hard not to go there. Winning is important to us. Winning is important to this city. Winning is important to our organization. And that's what we want to focus on right now is winning more than anything."
The Bears have shown resiliency throughout Nagy's three seasons as coach; they are 8-4 following losses, including 5-0 on short weeks either following a Monday night game or playing a Thursday night contest. They followed their first loss this season to the Colts with an impressive Thursday night win over Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
"I definitely think that anytime you have a loss like we did last week, you want to see how your team responds," Nagy said. "At the same time, I know who our guys are and I have a good feeling of how they're going to respond—but I can't make any predictions."
On Sunday, the Bears will look to avoid back-to-back defeats for the first time this season when they host the Saints at Soldier Field. Last year they followed a four-game losing streak by winning four of their next five games.
"A win is always going to mean a lot to us," Nagy said. "That would make us 6-2, so we would love to be 6-2. You can start some momentum. When you stick together as a team and don't point fingers, usually you pull out of these. We went into one of these last year where we lost four in a row and we pulled out of it. We've been through it. We've been calloused, and a win is always going to help. We want to do everything we can to win the football game so we can go 6-2."