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With the dysfunction swirling at Halas Hall on Tuesday, it would be easy to forget that the Chicago Bears play a football game just two days later. Especially given how speculation about Matt Nagy’s future has dominated conversation and even press conferences.
Whether it was special teams coordinator Chris Tabor being thrown to the wolves first and having to dodge questions about an unconfirmed report that Nagy would be fired after Thursday’s game or Nagy himself refuting the reports for what made for an awkward press conference, it was Bears dysfunction at its finest.
And with a football game just a couple days away, it’s the kind of thing that easily becomes a distraction. Still, Bears players did their best to tune out the noise and focus on Thursday’s must-win game against the Detroit Lions.
Safety Tashaun Gipson has seen his share of dysfunctional locker rooms, and he did his best to explain that Nagy hasn’t lost the locker room, despite reports.
“I haven’t seen anything that’s pointing towards the signs that guys have disengaged, or guys is checked out,” Gipson said. “I’ve been in the league 10 years, I think I’ve had six losing seasons out of my 10 years, seven maybe. So, obviously, I know what losing feels like. I know what a losing locker room is like, and this is not that.”
Quarterback Andy Dalton, who will start in place of an injured Justin Fields on Thanksgiving, is no stranger to a coach on the hot seat during his time in Cincinnati with Marvin Lewis.
“There are rumors all over the place about a lot of different things at different times,” Dalton said. “And as a locker room, you don’t worry about that. There are so many other things you have to worry about. … You focus on the things that matter.”
Receiver Allen Robinson was put in an awkward spot given his podcast partner Jordan Schultz reported that an “overwhelming number” of Bears players wanted Nagy gone. But Robinson tried to focus on the task at hand.
“We have a lot of young players on this team and a lot of the guys have a lot of football left to play,” Robinson said. “I try to tell those guys, ‘Man, this is a roller-coaster league.’ We all would love to be 14-2, 13-3. Sometimes you kind of go through these roller coasters and you have to be able to bounce back. You have to be resilient. And you have to be very headstrong and be able to really compartmentalize everything and get yourself ready for (game days).”
Thursday will be the real test, where Chicago will look to avoid a sixth straight loss.