I doubt it’s the point Kyle Long was trying to make earlier today, but “Man, the Chicago Bears are really leaning hard on their new coaching hires to right the ship in 2020″ is one of the first things that came to my mind as I read through the retired ex-Bears streaming thoughts.
Why did it come to mind? Well, let’s take a moment to re-visit this offseason.
After the season-ending press conferences from Head Coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace, the Bears fired a handful of offensive coaches, including Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich, Offensive Line Coach Harry Hiestand, and Tight Ends Coach Kevin Gilbride Jr.
Bill Lazor, Juan Castillo, and Clancy Barone have since replaced that trio, and the Bears have also added John DeFilippo as the team’s new Quarterbacks Coach, promoting Dave Ragone to a newly created Passing Game Coordinator gig.
Now, let’s take a look at the players who the front office brought in at those particular groups:
• Tight ends: Jimmy Graham, Demetrius Harris, Cole Kmet, Darion Clark
• Offensive linemen: Germain Ifedi, Jason Spriggs, Lachavious Simmons, Arlington Hambright, Badara Traore, Dieter Eiselen
• Quarterbacks: Nick Foles
• Running backs: Artavis Pierce, Napoleon Maxwell
• Wide receivers: Ted Ginn Jr., Darnell Mooney, Trevor Davis, Ahmad Wagner
Sure, the Bears have added new names at positions of need. But only Graham (who signed what amounts to be a glorified one-year “prove it” deal) and Kmet (the team’s first draft pick) were added by way of premium assets. Otherwise, the Bears scrapped together offensive depth pieces with crafty work under the cap and a trade of a middle-round draft asset (and even more creative book-keeping). And that’s why my brain went where it did reading Long’s tweets.
Think about it. The Bears had major issues on the offensive side of the ball last season. Quarterback regression is the most obvious, but it wasn’t the only thing that made the offense suffer. It is also easy to identify (1) issues at tight end, (2) problems with drops, (3) an inconsistent running game, and yes, (4) woeful offensive line play (of which Long was a part for a few games before landing on season-ending injured reserve) as factors that led to serious steps back for the offense in 2019. So when the offseason came, it was obvious that changes needed to be made. Not minor tweaks. Real changes. And they did … but mostly on the sideline.
Ultimately, new coaches bring new philosophies, teaching methods, and ideas to the table. And after last year, there isn’t much of an argument to be made that the team needed a clean slate and new eyes trying to solve old problems. It’s just that part of me feels as if the offseason of on-field personnel change wasn’t as sweeping as what happened in the coaching ranks.