How Bears' Matt Nagy watched the 49ers game from afar

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How Matt Nagy coped with not being able to coach originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Matt Nagy didn’t know what to expect heading into the Bears' game against the 49ers. He remained in the COVID-19 protocol, and so he had to remain separated from the team. That meant watching by himself, on TV, like any other fan. As someone who’s been involved in coaching in some capacity since 2008, it’s probably safe to say it’s the first time that Nagy has watched a game like this in over a decade. And Nagy admitted it was weird.

“It’s something that I could have never guessed in a million years that I’d be doing,” Nagy said. “I wasn’t sure exactly how it would go as I watched it. But it was certainly different.

“I was on the edge of my seat the entire game. I just don’t know how to put it into words. I wanted to be there for the guys and be with them. But I knew that the guys had it.”

Nagy wasn’t completely separated from the team this week. He still participated in meetings and had his fingerprints on the offensive install, like he would any week. So for the most part Nagy knew what to expect while watching. But just like a fan, there were some instances where Nagy legitimately didn’t know what was coming next.

“If I see a formation or I see us do something, down and distance-wise, I’ll have a good feel as to what’s coming. But there’s some, because of our formations looking the same, that I don’t know. And so, that part was probably the most challenging. But what I ended up doing was I ended up, I was able to just kind of, play by play, just make little notes by myself as to what happened down and distance-wise. So 1st-and-10, run for two yards, or 2nd-and-10, 3rd-and-8, big conversion, great decision. Stuff like that. For the offense and the defense. Penalty here. We’re in the red zone here, came away with three.

“I didn’t know, going into it, I was going to do that, but I did it and it helped keep me kind of sane, to say.”

As much as Nagy wanted to stay involved, in the end he was a passive observer just like all of us. His team was in special teams coordinator Chris Tabor’s hands. And Nagy more than approved of how Tabor led the team in his absence.

“What I think that coach Tabor did a wonderful job with, was there was no hesitation in his decision-making and sometimes that’s what can get you as a head coach or a decision-maker, is if there’s hesitation. He went with full conviction on all his decisions and for me watching it, I was really, really impressed with him and very appreciative.”

Even though Tabor did well filling in, and even though Nagy found a way to cope with watching the game on TV, he still wasn’t a fan of the overall experience.

“It was just a really, really weird situation that I don’t want to be in again.”

As long as Nagy remains positive for COVID-19, he will remain separated from the team, however. Since he is vaccinated, Nagy will have to produce two negative tests, 24 hours apart, before he’s cleared to come back to Halas Hall.

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