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NFL Coach of the Year Odds: Bears’ Nagy Among Top Contenders

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NFL Football

Sep 1, 2018 · 8:00 AM PDT

Mitch Trubisky heading to the Bears locker room
Mitch Trubisky had a brutal performance in Week 1 versus Green Bay, posting a passer rating of just 62.1. Photo by Camron Good (Wiki Commons)
  • Matt Nagy gets second-shortest odds for 2018 NFL Coach of the Year
  • Former Chiefs OC brings dynamic offensive scheme to Chicago
  • Is he a good bet for Coach of the Year?

Long before their first regular season game, new Bears head coach Matt Nagy has quickly established that he will run his team as he sees fit. Vegas has clearly noticed.

In theory, Week 3 of the NFL preseason is considered the true dress rehearsal of the four-week training camp and games. The starters will usually get in anywhere from a full half to three quarters of game action. But not the Bears.

Granted, the team was a game up on the schedule, since they kicked off the preseason with the Hall of Fame Game, but, don’t get it twisted: the decision shook people.

You know who wasn’t shook? Nagy. This guy took the hot seat and didn’t flinch.

Have a listen:

In a football crazy town like Chicago, the media and fans alike took notice.

This certainly doesn’t equate to wins and losses, but Nagy’s swagger – and his reputation as an offensive dynamo that helped Kansas City light up the scoreboard last year – have ramped up expectations in the Windy City.

Guess who’s in the penultimate position in the opening odds for 2018 NFL Coach of the Year?

2018 NFL Coach of the Year Odds

Name Team Odds
Sean McVay Rams +900
Matt Nagy Bears +950
Doug Pederson Eagles +1200
Anthony Lynn Chargers +1600
Bill Belichick Patriots +1600
Pat Shurmur Giants +1600
Kyle Shanahan 49ers +1600
Mike Zimmer Vikings +1600
Jon Gruden Raiders +1800
Bill O’Brien Texans +1800

*follow the link in the table for the full list of odds on all 32 coaches

Anyone else shocked where Nagy sits, while proven coaches like Bill Belichick and Mike Zimmer – at the helm of Super Bowl contenders this year – lurk off in the +1600 range?

Where did Vegas find such short odds for Nagy?

Bears using Chiefs’ blueprint

The jury is still out on second-year pivot Mitch Trubisky, but the Bears did everything they could to provide him with the requisite weapons to accelerate the process and see if he’s got ‘it’.

Allen Robinson is their home run hitter, and he’ll try to take the top off a defense as a more accomplished version of burner Tyreek Hill. Trey Burton will work as a poor man’s Travis Kelce, the all-world tight end Nagy featured prominently in the Chiefs’ passing game.

Meanwhile, Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen will attempt to emulate much of the same traits that do-everything back Kareem Hunt did for the Chiefs. There is potential there.

Nagy building team culture with Bears

Here’s something you don’t hear often: position groups not sitting with each other in the dressing room. It’s a quirky but interesting take on team building. This is both simple and smart, and maybe that cohesion – along with his already discussed decision-making skills – will speed up the process to success.

First-Year Coaches to win Coach of the Year 

Name Team Year Record Previous Year Record
George Allen Washington 1971 9-4-1 7-5-2
Ted Marchibroda Colts 1975 10-4 2-12
Red Miller Broncos 1977 12-2 9-5
Bill Cowher Steelers 1992 11-5 7-9
Ray Rhodes Eagles 1995 10-6 7-9
Jim Fassel Giants 1997 10-5-1 6-10
Jim Haslett Saints 2000 10-6 3-13
Sean Payton Saints 2006 10-6 3-13
Mike Smith Falcons 2008 11-5 4-12
Jim Harbaugh 49ers 2011 13-3 6-10
Bruce Arians Colts 2012 9-3 2-14
Sean McVay Rams 2017 11-5 4-12

*The table only considers Super Bowl era

New Coaches Make an Impact

Since the first Super Bowl in 1968, there have been a dozen first-year head coaches that successfully  turned around a losing situation the following season.  Since the turn of the century, there have been six, including Sean McVay a season ago.

So it’s not exactly shocking to see it happen. But it won’t come easy for Nagy. The Bears are set to face the 12th-toughest schedule in the NFL, based on 2018 projected win totals.

2018 NFL Coach of the Year Pick

As much as Trubisky could be a breakout star, with Nagy’s scheme recognized a la Kyle Shanahan’s, there are two factors making it hard to jump on +950: the Vikings and Packers.

They feature arguably the most complete team in football and the best quarterback in football, respectively.

And they happen to play in the same division  as the Bears. That’s tough.

Of the first-year coaches to win COY, only two have posted less than 10 wins. And the Bears don’t project hitting double digit wins in 2018. A 9-7 season isn’t going to earn Nagy anything, so look for value somewhere else.

You’ll want a team that will have to make a marked improvement from a season ago, to at least double-digit wins, definitely earning a playoff berth and potentially a division title.

The team and coach that fits all those criteria? The Texans’ Bill O’Brien at +1800, and the Chargers’ Anthony Lynn in that cluster of +1600 are the most appealing.

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