Bears coach Matt Nagy

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Bernstein: Another Chance For Nagy To Prove Himself

The Bears' game plan will have to evolve if Chase Daniel starts again.

Dan Bernstein
November 28, 2018 - 1:53 pm

(670 The Score) Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky isn't practicing Wednesday, still suffering from an undisclosed injury to his throwing shoulder. Whatever it is -- sprained AC joint, something wrong to one of the rotator cuff components and/or labrum or some combination therein -- it could mean another start for backup Chase Daniel on Sunday and yet another opportunity for coach Matt Nagy to impress us with an offensive system proving so far to be greater than merely the sum of its various parts.

Daniel was impressively competent in his first action as a Bear last Thursday, completing 27 of 37 passes for 230 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 23-16 road win against the Lions. We also saw the plan for him unveiled.

From the published weekly analysis provided by Pro Football Focus: "Chase Daniel relied on underneath throws in his efficient performance. He went just 1-of-5 on throws deeper than 20 yards in the air, all of which were aimed to the right side of the field outside of the numbers. He finished 21-of-24 for 127 yards on throws less than 10 yards down field."

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And now all that information and the tape is available to the Giants, which means we may have the chance to see how confident Nagy is in his pet backup, learning whether he can install the kinds of creative surprises and counters for which he's already making a name.

It has been a charmed season so far for the first-time head coach, with enough good health and favorable scheduling breaks to provide the template on which he and Trubisky have been able to succeed beyond what was predicted, earning a place in discussions for the best coaching job being done in this year's NFL.

The Giants' defense is no great shakes, ranking 26th in rushing yards allowed per game, 18th in passing yards allowed, 23rd in total defense and 25th in scoring defense. But now they have a book on Daniel as a Bear or at least the first few pages of one that they wouldn't have otherwise had. The 32-year-old Daniel's third career start was the finest of his nine-year career, in large part due to both to the quality of the pieces around him and the man in the visor in charge of it all.

If he's to build on it Sunday with a similarly successful outing in New York, it will be the latest affirmation that Nagy more than knows what he's doing. All that then would matter is how soon the main guy can return from his still nebulous ailment, so we can reasonably envision an even higher level of expectations for far more important games.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​​