It was around this time two years ago when I was absolutely floored with the pace at which the Chicago Bears were undergoing their search for a new head coach.
Just days after firing John Fox, they had lined up Josh McDaniels, Pat Shurmur, John DeFilippo, George Edwards, Steve Wilks, and Matt Nagy to interview for the position. They had also already discussed the job with Vic Fangio, who had served as the team’s defensive coordinator. Needless to say, it was a thorough search, but the names came quickly. With that being said, I wasn’t totally surprised when the Bears hired Juan Castillo to replace Harry Hiestand as the offensive line coach. And with all of that as our background, let’s talk about filling that vacant offensive coordinator position.
Once again, the Bears wasted little time cleaning house, dismissing Mark Helfrich (and others) soon after the regular season ended. But replacing him represents a unique challenge. When the Bears hired Helfrich, it was a sensible move. At its core, Chicago wanted to bring in an assistant with an extensive background in quarterback development and whose spread scheme could add an extra layer to Nagy’s West Coast roots. But after two years, the Bears now find themselves in search of something different, despite some similar overall needs.
So what should they be looking for in their next offensive coordinator?
EXPERIENCE AS A PLAY-CALLER
I wouldn’t go as far to write that the Bears’ next offensive coordinator needs play-calling experience, but it would be a major plus if they had that on their résumé. Having someone who’s previously handled those duties could be huge in aiding Nagy on his quest to call a better game. It would be nice to have a think-tank involved with play designs and calls in 2020 that features multiple coaches with play-calling experience. This offense could use the type of creativity that can come from getting a bunch of minds together in a room and banging out concepts. Would this run the risk of having too many chefs in one kitchen? Perhaps. But the pros of having an experienced play-caller out-weigh the cons, even if the next coordinator doesn’t get to call plays.
A GURU IN QUARTERBACK DEVELOPMENT
Quarterback remains the most important position in the game. The Bears’ starting quarterback still needs developing. Hence, there is likely a desire to hire an offensive coordinator who has that in his background. Chicago’s next offensive coordinator doesn’t need to be a quarterback whisperer, but does need to be someone with a history of working with players at the position and getting the most out of them. Trubisky is as maddening as any quarterback in Bears history, because the athleticism and talent flashes when the mechanics are where they need to be. But that doesn’t happen enough to fully display Trubisky’s skill set. So, yeah, a quarterback guru would be nice.
And finally …
The Bears’ run-game concepts have left a ton to be desired in Nagy’s two years in Chicago. You can’t honestly look at how the Chiefs ran it so successfully with Kareem Hunt when Nagy was the offensive coordinator, compare it to how the Bears have run the ball with Jordan Howard and David Montgomery, and say those two schemes are the same. It’s like watching two different ball games. With that being said, the Bears’ next offensive coordinator should be steeped in knowledge of how to piece together a quality running game. In that vein, said coach will likely be working arm-in-arm with Juan Castillo — the new offensive line coach who has experience as a run-game coordinator.