Matt Nagy’s staff is starting to take shape and the most recent coach to be connected to a Chicago Bears assistant coaching job might be the most outside-the-box hire.
Helfrich is well-versed in coaching quarterbacks despite not having any NFL experience. He has head coaching experience from his time at the University of Oregon, where he replaced Chip Kelly when he bolted for the NFL in 2013. Helfrich’s Ducks went 37-16, but couldn’t survive a 4-8 start in 2016. Prior to that, Helfrich served as a quarterbacks coach at the college level for Boise State (1998-2000), Arizona State (2001-05), Colorado (2006-08), and Oregon (2009-12). In addition to his position coach duties at Colorado and Oregon, Helfrich was also splitting time as an offensive coordinator.
Even though Nagy confirmed he would call plays as the head coach (more on the benefits of that later), adding Helfrich as a coordinator is the latest investment in quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Helfrich’s extensive history coaching quarterbacks, coupled with the potential splicing of Oregon’s popular spread concepts with those of Nagy’s West Coast Offense could give the Bears’ offense the kind of variety it lacked in recent years under Dowell Loggains. If anything, the tag team of Nagy and Helfrich should keep the Bears from being predictable when they have the ball.
The hire wraps up a rumor-filled morning which tied the Bears to one of football’s most innovative minds. Earlier, Mike Mulligan of the Mully and Hanley Show on WSCR-AM 670 heard the Bears “could be very close” to hiring Mark Helfrich as the team’s offensive coordinator. In a separate report, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times confirmed the Bears’ pursuit of Helfrich, who was believed to be the team’s top candidate for the position.
It was expected that Helfrich would be a candidate for the University of Arizona’s head coach position, according to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg. Helfrich was also reportedly a candidate for the UCLA offensive coordinator position, where he would be reunited with Kelly. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweeted that Helfrich had to choose between pursuing a college football head-coaching position and an NFL offensive coordinator gig before ultimately blending his mix of concepts with that of the Bears’ new coach.