LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears excluded Mitchell Trubisky from their interview with Matt Nagy because general manager Ryan Pace felt that Nagy, introduced as the Bears new head coach on Tuesday, already had knowledge of the young quarterback from the time they spent together prior to the 2017 NFL draft.
“We talked about it and at the end of the day we didn’t include him in the interview process,” Pace said on Tuesday. “I did think it helped that Kansas City was aggressive with their research [of Trubisky prior to the draft] as well. So, Matt knew a lot about Mitch and he said he had him in his facility all day long during that process. I know Mitch took a lot from Matt in that experience. But I felt like they already knew each other without having Mitch involved in the interview.”
Nagy’s success in Chicago hinges on the development of Trubisky, who started 12 games as a rookie. The second overall pick of last year’s draft, Trubisky passed for 2,193 yards and had seven touchdowns and seven interceptions for a Bears team that finished 5-11.
“In Kansas City last year we were looking for a quarterback,” Nagy said. “We went through the process just like the other teams that needed quarterbacks were going through at the combine, doing interviews and trying to talk to him as much as possible. But it’s just too hard to figure out who that player is, who that person is, in 15 minutes.
“I had an opinion of Mitch where he was kind of introverted and I felt scripted, which 95 percent of the guys are in that atmosphere. But we went ahead and took several quarterbacks that we were interested in and brought them in and basically had them for six or seven hours and let their personalities show, let them be who they are just in front of us. After six hours of being with Mitch, it was unbelievable. He did a wonderful job -- thought he’s a helluva person and thought he knew football inside and out. It was fun talking ball with him. So to see him get here just today, it was neat.”
The Chiefs did end up taking a quarterback, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes II, with the 10th overall pick.
Nagy believes the experience of working with a youngster like Mahomes will help him relate to Trubisky.
“It’s a different way to teach for me, but that was good,” Nagy said. “It kind of brought that out in me to understand, 'Listen, he doesn't know the concept of this play, the flanker draft Texas halfback wide, he doesn't understand that,' whereas [Chiefs veteran quarterback] Alex [Smith] can do it in his sleep. So it made me a better person and it made me a better coach.”
Prior to being promoted to offensive coordinator, Nagy served as the Chiefs quarterbacks coach for three seasons (2013-15). Smith, who earned his first Pro Bowl selection working alongside Nagy in 2013, threw for 4,042 yards and 26 touchdowns with five interceptions this past season.
The Bears would be elated to see Trubisky put up those types of numbers.
“A quarterback has to trust the quarterback coach,” Nagy said. “And the quarterback coach has to trust him. That goes for the system and the philosophy. Honesty. You have to be able to be honest. The quarterback needs to know when he’s doing something wrong or how he can get better. The coach needs to understand when he’s not teaching something the right way or he sees something wrong, he’s got to be able to admit to his mistakes.
“The other part would be -- and sometimes this gets neglected -- is over-communication. That’s all part of the honesty and trust, which you’ve got to communicate. And when you fail to communicate, there are gray areas. And when there’s gray areas, then bad things happen.”