The New Bears Brass Plans to Build an Offense Around Their QB’s Strengths (How Novel!)

Joe Maddon had quirky glasses, odd hair, and an eccentric personality that shone through in Chicago. And while the bigger picture wasn’t for everyone, it was inarguably effective while he was the Cubs’ manager from 2015-19. And one of Maddon’s core values/catch-phrases, in particular, still resonates with me today: Do simple better. 

And I love that the Chicago Bears finally seem ready to apply that philosophy to building an offense for quarterback Justin Fields.

Although Head Coach Matt Eberflus said that he doesn’t have too many specifics of what that entails right now, he did make one thing clear: The Bears will be “building the offense around (Fields) and his strengths.”

It was “do simple better” … but for football. And I’m loving it. And I love that it wasn’t just Eberflus speaking the obvious. New GM Ryan Poles was echoing those sentiments in his own way (via the Tribune):

One of the things we talk about, too, is any time you evaluate a player and put a plan in place, the big thing is finding out what they do well. Whatever they do well, maximizing that, and then finding their weakness and do what Coach just said in terms of attacking the weakness to get better in those other areas. I think the key thing is, What do you do well? We’re gonna do that a lot. And then fix the holes and get better as we go.

Let’s face it. Playing to the strength of the players hasn’t been something the Bears have been doing well in recent years. If it was, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. So that the new head coach is already emphasizing this simple, but crucial piece of the puzzle is a nice step in the right direction. Progress, even when made in incremental steps, still counts (yes, even in cases like this, where you go “duh” and smack yourself on the forehead).

It all sounds so rudimentary. Simple, really. Build an offense around Fields’ skills, while also minimizing exposure to plays that display his exploitable weaknesses. It isn’t as easy as writing it, because if it was, then everyone would do it with their own schemes and players. But not trying it at all was at the heart of the Bears’ failures last year and in prior seasons. Matt Nagy tried to make “fetch” happen with his system, instead of letting his players make this system blossom. Nagy’s system bottomed out and his time with the Bears is a thing of the past.

No one knows for sure what the future holds, especially since new play-caller Luke Getsy is something of an unknown. But that this new partnership is shifting philosophies in hopes of letting the players’ talents do the talking is a welcome change I’m looking forward to see take place.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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