After Eric Bieniemy left the club to take on an elevated offensive coordinator role with the Washington Commanders, the Kansas City Chiefs have a new offensive coordinator for 2023.
But he’s not all that new, after all.
Matt Nagy coached under head coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Kansas City from 2008 to 2017. Reid’s guidance led Nagy to the head coach position of the Chicago Bears in 2018. The former quarterback won AP Coach of the Year during his first season in Chicago and led the Bears to the playoffs twice — but the organization moved on after the team went 6-11 in 2021.
Now back with the Chiefs, Nagy knows he’s been lucky.
“Everybody here knows I was fortunate enough to come in here in 2013 with [Reid],” he noted on Thursday, “and kind of be there to be a part of the process of implementing the system that we run. That’s evolved immensely in that time till now.”
Even though Reid’s offensive scheme has changed over time, Nagy has an advantage because he was here for its foundation. As is well known, Reid stays ahead of the curve by self-scouting and tinkering things during each offseason.
That keeps opposing defensive coordinators guessing.
“Every year is different, and we’re really hard on ourselves to be in the top three every year in almost all categories,” said Nagy. “We want to do that, but there’s some areas of improvement that we have that we know we can get better at without telling the whole world. We know what they are, and internally we’re working on that.
“That’s the challenging part that keeps you going as a coach and as a player wanting to be great in those — but not lose where you are really good situationally. So that’s — for me — just a part of the process.”
What can also be challenging for Nagy and his staff is continually finding ways to help quarterback Patrick Mahomes improve.
The offensive coordinator noted that Mahomes “does so many things really well” — a statement of fact that has led to two regular-season MVP awards, two Super Bowl MVP awards and two Lombardi Trophies.
But sometimes, Nagy explained, it can be as simple as going back to the basics.
“You can always go back to footwork and timing with any quarterback,” he began. “At the same point and time, too, I think the other thing would be working with his progressions, getting to No. 3 and 4 is always another thing that, instead of maybe trying to force a throw here or there — which I thought he did a good job last year, of making smart decisions — working to that third, fourth and sometimes that fifth progression in the play.
“Really, in training camp, we’ll really be able to focus on that with the pads.”
Kansas City enters its 2023 title defense by bringing back tight ends Travis Kelce and Noah Gray, wide receivers Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore and running backs Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It added wide receiver Rashee Rice in the NFL Draft — and for a few seasons, tight end Jody Fortson has been flirting with a breakout year.
Reid will always remind reporters there is only one football to distribute, so finding ways to get to targets No. 4 and No. 5 on any given play will help keep the Chiefs’ pass-catchers happy. It might also lead to even greater production from a quarterback who is coming off a career-high 5,250-yard season.