Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy will interview for the vacant head-coaching openings with the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts, a source confirmed to The Star on Wednesday.
Nagy, 39, was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2016 after serving as the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach from 2013-15. In early December, Chiefs coach Andy Reid gave Nagy more responsibility following a stretch in which the club lost five of six games.
The Chiefs lost Nagy’s first game as their primary playcaller — 38-31 to the Jets — but the offense has since recaptured its early season form. And in the process, that’s drawn interest toward Nagy.
Given the success that another Reid disciple has had in Philadelphia this season, the interest in Nagy makes sense. Doug Pederson, who was Reid’s offensive coordinator in Kansas City from 2013-15, has led the Eagles to a 13-3 record, tied with Minnesota for the best record in the NFC.
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Internally, Nagy has been consistently praised by his players for his ability to relate to them and introduce fresh concepts to Reid’s West Coast offense. While Pederson learned Reid’s West Coast scheme nearly 20 years ago, Nagy’s only been with Reid since 2008 and brings a different perspective to the table.
“I think he thinks a little different from Coach (Reid) and kind of adds to that, where now you’re kind of getting some of the spice that’s not your typical West Coast offense,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said.
Over the course of this season, players have also credited Nagy for at least some of the success the Chiefs have had with their college-style spread concepts, which helped them become only the second team in NFL history to produce a 4,000-yard passer (Smith), 1,000-yard rusher (rookie Kareem Hunt), 1,000-yard receiver (Tyreek Hill) and 1,000-yard tight end (Travis Kelce).
“Coach lets him put that in here and there and we showed we can handle it,” Smith said. “I think that’s why, the last couple years, there’s a little more diversity in the stuff we do. That’s what I appreciate. I think he loves to stay aggressive and I think that’s what’s rubbed off on us.”
Smith, who is in the midst of a career year himself, said Chiefs players also appreciate and respect Nagy’s fun approach to football and ability to communicate and relate.
“Awesome — killer,” Smith said, when asked about the latter. “When he got to be up in the room in front of everybody as a coordinator, you never know how guys are going to handle that. I think the thing all of us appreciate is that he didn’t even blink.
“A lot of guys get up there and puff their chest or something and change. But (here) you’re just like, ‘Same old Nags.’ Still laid back and having fun, loves what he’s doing, loves ball, loves joking with the guys. You can see that and I think guys really appreciate that, and I think that’s only carried on even more.”
While Nagy’s interest in head-coaching jobs elsewhere makes sense, there is a path for him to stay in Kansas City. To leave, he must first be offered a head-coaching job, and it appears the Colts and Bears are casting wide nets in their respective search processes.
Nagy enjoys what he has in Kansas City, where his mentor (Reid) and former college teammate (general manager Brett Veach) run the show. He would enjoy building a perennial contender here.
“Number one, you’re in a winning organization and you’re with good people, so that means the world to me,” Nagy said. “This isn’t something where it’s a one-year thing. With Coach (Reid) coming in here, and now with Brett doing his thing and the players that we’ve had, it’s been built over time. So there’s consistency there.
“We’re all coaches, we all love what we do, but the No. 1 thing is, ‘Do you love working with the people you do?’ I one hundred percent do. Sometimes, that gets lost in translation. And to me, that’s what’s real and that’s what’s important. That’s a good situation.”