INDIANAPOLIS – Life is good in Matt Nagy’s house these days, which may be why the Bears’ coach seems to have that big smile perpetually splashed across his face.
Or maybe he’s just a really good guy.
The early returns suggest it could be a little or a whole lot of both.
What we know is that the NFL’s reigning Coach of the Year is very near the peak of his profession – with little left to prove.
But that little can be an awful lot when you realize how huge the leap is from playoff team to playoff winner and Super Bowl champ, and those appear to be the last two boxes left to check on Nagy’s resumé.
What might the coach be thinking when that ear-to-ear grin isn’t splashed across his face? It could be how to avoid becoming complacent, causing his players and coaches to take a step back in 2019.
“It’s my job, my responsibility to make sure it doesn’t happen” Nagy said Wednesday as he met the media on Day 1 of the scouting combine.
“I think that’s one of the fun parts in my position, is being able to be creative and find ways of how do you do it. You’ve got to be motivational, but you can’t be monotonous with it.
“Now, [the players and coaching staff] know me and I know them for the most part, so they’re going to understand. We also have a young group of guys that I’ll continue to go back to. They truly believed in where we were last year at the end of the year in the playoffs, and they were ready to win the Super Bowl.
“But they also understand how tough it is, and every play matters.
“Now we’re going to go back to every practice matters and every week matters and every month.”
Although Nagy will be handing the reins of his defense from Vic Fangio to Chuck Pagano, it was the No. 1 unit in the NFL last year, so he will be continuing to keep most of his focus on the offense.
“I think we need to understand the process, No. 1. Once you understand the process, then it makes you aware of what your deficiencies are, what your strengths are, your weaknesses, we as coaches, the players. And then you work on them.
“We were kind of in the flight simulator [last offseason], and we were throwing everything at these guys on offense. Now we’re at a point where we kind of know a little bit of the direction of what we like and what we don’t like.”
One of the most interesting points Nagy made was that although there is so much focus on the run game, running back position and Jordan Howard in the media, it really isn’t his biggest concern.
“That’s gonna be, again, a point of emphasis of how do we get comfortable with everybody. And then you look at the passing game. We were actually better in the run game than the pass game, so we’ll put it all together. That’s the fun and the challenge as a coach.”
What couldn’t be more clear is that Nagy still is having fun, and he thinks his mentor, Andy Reid, prepared him well for jumping from Season 1 to Season 2.
“That’s a big change there. Drastic difference. But I think the biggest thing that he taught me was just for me to stay the course. Heading into Year 2 now ... what we’ve done is built that foundation. That was our goal in Year 1. Let’s get everybody to believe and trust what we’re talking about. It’s easy to talk about it. But you have to back it up.
“So now that I feel like we’ve got that full trust from the players and the people within the building, now we have to maintain it. And I think now it’s hard to stay where we’re at. Being 12-4. We’re 0-0 now. So that’s going to be my biggest challenge as the head coach is to make sure that there’s no complacency and our guys realize that we’re now the hunted.”