All is not well in Chicago, and of all people, Kyle Long would know. A first-round pick for the Chicago Bears in 2013, Long spent all seven of his NFL seasons with the team. The three-time Pro Bowler retired at the end of the 2019 campaign, but not before getting to know both quarterback Mitch Trubisky and head coach Matt Nagy.
After what can only be described as a tone-deaf and mind-numbing year-end press conference in which the team’s brass blindly promised to churn out more of the same mediocrity, many Bears fans and analysts alike took to social media. Others called into Chicago sports radio to vent their frustrations.
Long decided to join the sea of voices when he called into 670 The Score’s Parkins & Spiegel show, where he shared some revealing insight into the relationship between Nagy and Trubisky.
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Long Says Nagy is ‘Handcuffing’ Trubisky
Unlike most Bears fans, the former offensive lineman did not go scorched Earth on the team’s upper management, but he did suggest Nagy was handcuffing his quarterback.
“It’s clear to me those two are not vibing,” said Long, via 670 The Score. “What Matt wants to get done offensively, he says he can’t get done with Mitch — well, he doesn’t say that, but it’s what we feel. It’s what we’ve been shown. Especially if you look at the Saints game. There’s clearly a trust issue there. Let’s take the handcuffs off the kid.”
Last weekend, the Bears lost in the NFC Wild Card round to New Orleans, 21-9, with six of their nine points coming on the game’s final play. Nagy has been criticized for not game-planning to the strengths of Trubisky for a long time now, but it was more evident than ever when offensive coordinator Bill Lazor took over play-calling in Week 10.
Trubisky posted 1,694 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions after returning to the starting lineup with Lazor calling the plays, and the offense looked the best it had all year in that span. The Bears averaged 30.7 points per game from Week 12 to Week 17, and their running game was among the most productive in the league with a second-half resurgence from second-year running back David Montgomery. After scoring just one rushing touchdown and failing to reach 90 yards rushing through Week 9, the 2019 third-rounder eclipsed the 100-yard mark three times and scored seven times on the ground in Chicago’s final six games of the regular season.
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Long on Trubisky-Nagy: It’s Like ‘a Bad Relationship’
Late-season success aside, Nagy and Trubisky haven’t sustained success as a duo, and Long sees them headed for a break this offseason.
“I think he does have talent,” Long said of Trubisky. “I think he can have success in this league.”
What won’t work, according to Long? Another season of Trubisky in Chicago now that Nagy is confirmed to be staying on.
“Call me crazy if you’d like, but that marriage doesn’t work well. It’s like you’re in a bad relationship and you just want to get out of it, but you dread that conversation. … You find ways to beat around the bush. You can lie out your butt to get out of the relationship, but you’re never going to talk about what the real issues are.”
Long also expressed a keen understanding of what Chicago’s fan base is feeling at present.
“I feel bad for Bears fans,” Long said. “They’re the best. They really are. They stand by this team. They stand by the organization. They’ve had enough and they want to win.”
Based on Ryan Pace’s recent comments, Trubisky is very likely on his way out the door.
“We definitely need more out of the position,” the Bears general manager said Wednesday, per NFL.com. “We know that. What does that entail? That’s what this whole offseason is about…Everything is on the table right now.”