KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs went back to the future with their promotion of Matt Nagy as offensive coordinator. The team announced the move on Friday, one week after former offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy's departure. Bieniemy was the offensive coordinator for the past five seasons before taking a similar position with the Washington Commanders.
Nagy, 44, was the Chiefs' offensive coordinator for head coach Andy Reid in 2016 and 2017, their last two seasons with Alex Smith as their starting quarterback. The Chiefs were 20th in the league in yards and 13th in scoring in 2016 but made a jump the next season to fifth in yards and sixth in scoring.
Nagy then left for four seasons to be the head coach for the Chicago Bears from 2018 to 2021. He returned to the Chiefs last year as quarterbacks coach and senior offensive assistant.
In a word: stability. Nagy coached under Reid for three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and then came to the Chiefs as quarterbacks coach when Reid arrived in 2013.
That continuity is important for Mahomes, who in the past year has seen the departure of Bieniemy, former Chiefs quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka and long-time backup quarterback Chad Henne, who retired after Super Bowl LVII. Henne was a major influence for Mahomes, particularly early in his career. The Chiefs at the time wanted a veteran quarterback to help serve as a mentor for Mahomes.
Reid said last year that continuity was one of the reasons he was eager to get Nagy back on the Chiefs' staff and working with Mahomes. Mahomes was a rookie backup in 2017 when Nagy was the Chiefs' offensive coordinator.
In addition to staff stability, Reid has long thought highly of Nagy. While Nagy was coaching in high school in Pennsylvania, he was a training camp intern for the Eagles for two years before Reid brought him onto his staff full time.
Reid many years ago thought of Nagy as a potential head coach. When Nagy was promoted to Chiefs offensive coordinator, Reid was so sure Nagy would become a head coach in little time that he immediately started grooming Bieniemy, then the running backs coach, to be his eventual replacement.
Beyond that, the Chiefs were successful with Nagy as an assistant coach. They made the playoffs in four of Nagy's five seasons in Kansas City during his first go-round and then last year won Super Bowl LVII in his first season back.
Expect any change to be subtle. As long as Reid remains head coach, he will have considerable influence over the offense and the direction it heads.
The Chiefs were ninth in the NFL in rushing in 2017, Nagy's last season as offensive coordinator before leaving for the Bears. They haven't been above 16th since, but that has less to do with Nagy's departure and more to do with the fact they installed Mahomes as their quarterback just as Nagy was leaving. They won't turn into a predominantly rushing team as long as Mahomes is their quarterback.
Bieniemy had his own way of doing things, including an in-your-face style and an attention to detail that wore on some players. But they almost always responded.
Nagy has a more restrained manner. It remains to be seen how the Chiefs will respond.
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