BEARS HEAD COACH MATT NAGY
CONFERENCE CALL WITH NEW ENGLAND MEDIA
October 17, 2018
Q: How do you take the comparisons between your offense and the Chiefs offense?
MN: Well I think it's just natural just because that's obviously where I came from and being there the last five years and learning from Coach [Andy] Reid. So again, like I said, that'd be a natural comparison.
Q: Would you say that there's been a lot of carry-over from what you did in Kansas City to what you're doing now?
MN: Yeah, a decent amount. That's the nice thing is that when you go somewhere else, you're able to kind of put your own spin on it and you can do what you want to do. There's some and there's some new stuff as well.
Q: Is it helpful that the Patriots just played the Chiefs and you can see how they handled some of the situations the Chiefs threw at them?
MN: Sure, I mean, you could say that. But again, I think when you look at these types of games and these type of situations, you could go that route or you could go the other route and say, "Well they're going to be completely different." There's a balance and I think that's just part of the gamesmanship and that's part of the fun of coaching.
Q: Is Mitch Trubisky part of the reason you took the job in Chicago?
MN: Absolutely. I thought it was a great opportunity. We did our due diligence on really evaluating all the quarterbacks which was great as a coaching staff, and one of the neat parts being in the coaching world is when you are evaluating different players and different styles of play and then specifically the quarterback position. We brought in Mitchell [Trubisky] and loved everything that he was about and spent a lot of time with him in Kansas City and so that was a lot easier for me to know who he was before I took the job.
Q: When you look at the Patriots Chiefs game, will you look at what the Patriots did defensively to certain guys in that offense and say to yourself, "Okay, this is what they did with Sammy Watkins so we can expect this for Allen Robinson or this is what they did with Tyreek Hill so this is what we can expect for Taylor Gabriel." Do you make those kinds of comparisons coming off last week?
MN: No, that's completely up to – I have no idea – again, I go back to what your last question was, that's the gamesmanship of these types of situations is not knowing, it's the unknown. It's the unknown from us, it's the unknown from them and that's the beauty of the sport. You can look at different ways people play technique-wise, etc. but we do that every week regardless of whether you're playing the Chiefs, the Jets, whoever it is, it doesn't matter to us.
Q: Can you comment on Akiem Hicks' season so far?
MN: Yeah, he's having a good season. He's playing hard. We're excited with where he's at. He's a leader on our defense and we just need him to keep playing the way he's playing and we like where he's at right now.
Q: Can you give us an example of his leadership?
MN: Yeah, just the way he is in practice. You know, you have vocal guys and you have guys that are more introverted. He's a vocal guy. He's going to let guys know when the team needs to be picked up a little bit. He's going to let himself know when he's got to get going. He'll come up and talk to us as coaches. It just naturally happens, it's not hard.
Q: Is Trey Flowers a guy that you have to be aware of?
MN: Yeah, he is. He's a good player and we've seen him now, or at least I have, going up against him a couple years and I like the way he plays and we have a lot of respect for his game.
Q: Maybe he doesn't get as much national attention but what sort of nuances do you notice in his game?
MN: Well, I do agree with you on that. He's not the quote-unquote big name guy, but he's the big name guy amongst the coaching world. We know who he is and what he can do and we respect him and know he's a hell of a player. As you would anybody, you always want to know where they're at and how they do things and that happens in film study. He can hold the point, he's strong, he's quick, he's fast, he plays in front of the quarterback. We know that he's a good football player.
Q: What's your overall takeaway from watching the Patriots defense?
MN: It's what I've seen before. They're a good defense that's opportunistic. They make plays when they need to. I think that it's a great scheme that they have defensively and then they've got great players too. So when you match a scheme up that works well with experienced players that know how to play together, you win a lot of football games and that's what they've done. You appreciate it as a coach in general and then you've got to go out and make sure you try to play your game offensively but know that they're a good defense.
Q: Despite their low sack total, are you seeing them get a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks?
MN: Yeah, that's kind of what they do though and I don't think that's ever necessarily changed. Again, they have a belief in their system and how it goes and how it works and they've been successful. Whether there's a game where they have a lot of pressure or there's a game where there's not much, you've got to be able to adapt to it. Again, being around the football, tipping the ball in the air, making plays in the red zone, not giving up touchdowns and having three field goals kicked, that type of deal is always going to work when you just do what you're supposed to do and that's what they do.
Q: How have you seen your team respond after a tough overtime loss last Sunday?
MN: Well, hopefully we can respond in the week just like we responded after a tough loss to the Packers Week 1 in the second half. And so I have all the trust in our players, in our coaches. We've got a bunch of good guys that care about each other and there's no finger-pointing or anything like that going on, just good people trying to play football. We go out and have a good week of practice and then go out on the football field and see what happens.
Q: Have you stressed physical recovery with them after playing a long game in the heat?
MN: Yeah, I think the biggest thing that we did was just make sure the last couple days here that they're re-hydrating. I think the heat index was a 107 so their bodies just need to recover. Just hydration, taking care of like they would any other game and then getting back on track. It's a little different weather here than what it was down there so just your body changes. So I think we're back there and we're all excited to get back to practice.
Q: What have you seen from your special teams units?
MN: I've been happy with them. I think field position-wise we've been doing pretty good. As far as just covering kicks, punt returns and then obviously with last week with missing the field goal, you can always go to that but Cody [Parkey]'s been kicking the ball well. So I like where we're at. Again, it's easy to like when you have guys that are out there trying and giving it their full effort and producing.
Q: A lot of talk about Tom Brady at 41 but Stephen Gostkowski in his 13th year in the league. What are your thoughts on him and his longevity and productivity?
MN: It's amazing to think that. I'm 40 so to know that they're still playing and Tom [Brady] with what he's doing is magical. You appreciate it – I mean, I played quarterback. It's the only position I've played all my life so I understand that position. And so for him to be playing it at the level that he's playing right now and looks to be no slowing down, it's very, very impressive and respectful from all of us and from anybody that's played the game or understands it. And then with [Stephen] Gostkowski, again, same type of thing. I can remember going back to when he first got in the league and to think now, what, you said 13 years? He's been very consistent since taking over for [Adam] Vinatieri and made a lot of field goals and been very clutch. So two clutch players that have been playing a long time.
Q: How much has the Patriots offense evolved since Week 1?
MN: In all honesty, I think you can say that for a lot of different offenses when you're going through new players. You get a guy like [Josh] Gordon that's coming in, it's not easy learning these new offensive systems and trying to get on the time so every week that goes by. It's only going to get better. We're going through that right now offensively. It's the same thing. There's been times we've been very sluggish. But the more you're together with your players and you establish that timing and the identity of that offense – every year's a little bit different. I mean, shoot, they're putting up a lot of points the last several games and that's always the case within that offense and with Tom [Brady].
BEARS DEFENSIVE TACKLE AKIEM HICKS
CONFERENCE CALL WITH NEW ENGLAND MEDIA
October 17, 2018
Q: What is it about Chicago that has allowed you to really blossom out there since leaving New England? Is it a scheme or fit that has benefited you?
AH: I think it's all-encompassing. Being in the right positon, the right place at the right time. Everything's working together. I think I can attribute some of my success to that.
Q: How do you look back on your time with the Patriots?
AH: Loved it. Man, absolutely loved it. Loved how the organization ran, great coaching. I have nothing but phenomenal things to say about that organization as a whole, from the top down. I fondly remember morning meetings at 8 o'clock, be in at about 7:30 a.m. and I see Mr. [Robert] Kraft coming in the meeting room and having a seat with his sneakers on. It was a great experience for me.
Q: When you became a free agent following the 2015 season, did Bill Belichick try to call you and sway you to come back to New England?
AH: Most definitely, just on both sides. I was interested in being back and they were interested in having me there. It turned out that there was an opportunity for me here in Chicago and I took that opportunity.
Q: What was your reaction the day that you heard Khalil Mack was traded to the Bears?
AH: Super excited, super excited. It gave me another chance in my career to rush with an elite rusher like I had in New Orleans with Cameron Jordan. Just a great opportunity for the both of us and it's been fun to work together so far.
Q: How much easier has it made it for everyone else to have Mack on the defense now?
AH: I think that we were approaching being a really good defense and added that extra piece. It really helped us just have a full hand. We've got a full house over here, to put it that way.
Q: How difficult is it to prepare for this offense given that they tend to utilize a new game plan each week?
AH: That's the difficult thing about the Patriot offense, really the Patriot way, is that anybody at any time can be on the field and have to step up and play great at their position. I think that they do a really good job of knowing their personnel and knowing who's going to be successful. Even when I was there, just putting me in the right places to fit my talent to my capabilities. I think that the Patriots do a great job of that.
Q: How do you prepare for that? Not knowing what's going to come from them offensively?
AH: How do you prepare? You prepare like you do for any other NFL team. You've got a good idea of what they might do or what they can do, but on Sunday they can throw anything that they want at you so you've just got to be prepared.
Q: Was there a moment upon Khalil Mack's arrival that really made his impact stand out to you?
AH: I've got to say that knowing his talent from a distance, watching him in Oakland for all of those years, you always have a good idea of how he is as a player and how dominant in the league that he can be. Me being able to watch it up close is just a treat.
Q: Do you have any good memories or stories from when you were playing for Bill Belichick?
AH: I actually do have one, as a matter of fact. When I first got there and I was getting some of my first in-game action, I had made a play and I gestured towards the crowd or somewhat of a semi-celebration, and I got back to the sideline and Bill came up to me and was like, "Hey, we don't need that." I was like, "OK, I guess no celebrations after big plays." But that was some of my experience there.
Q: Was that common to have a moment where you kind of realized you had to fit in differently here?
AH: Celebrate with your teammates was the measure that I took from there.
Q: What do you see from Sony Michel through the first few games of his NFL career?
AH: A really good running back, has good vision, can find the hole and get loose. He's pretty explosive, not an easy tackle. He's a pretty good running back.