Chicago Bears 2018: New Coaches, New Opportunites
If you’re like me, you get annoyed when “safe” head coaches (old and boring) get hired somewhere new. Guys like Jeff Fisher, Marvin Lewis, and Hue Jackson are good examples. These types of coaches are bland, old school, seasoned names that produce a lackluster product for the fan base. Owners that are afraid make a big splash with the hiring of someone new and unproven, tend to lean this way in risk of having a terrible season. Chicago Bears fans know this feeling, as they had to endure John Fox for the past 3 seasons.
Thankfully, the Chicago Bears fired Fox and decided to hire a new coach instead of a familiar name that failed somewhere else. When the Bears drafted Mitch Trubisky 2nd overall last season, they needed to bring in an offensive minded coach that could develop Trubisky after a promising rookie campaign. They did just that with the hiring of Matt Nagy.
Nagy comes from Kansas City where he helped Alex Smith to a career year in 2017. Nagy is also a major reason for the Chiefs midseason turnaround after taking over play-calling duties from head coach Andy Reid. Nagy helped lead the Chiefs to a 2nd place finish in yards per play in 2017. This explosiveness is something Nagy should be able to bring to Chicago, where he can highlight the ability of players like Tarik Cohen and utilize the athletic ability of Adam Shaheen (a la Travis Kelce).
In Kansas City, Nagy ran a west coast offense that also featured a running game. Jordan Howard can fill that running game role that Kareem Hunt had in 2017 and may be given the opportunity to catch more passes. Cameron Meredith, the Bears best receiver, will be featured in the passing game like Kelce and Cohen is someone that can fill the Tyreek Hill speed miss-match role by lining up all over the field and utilizing him in motion and end arounds. Say what you will about the comparisons, but one could argue that the personal types Nagy had with the Chiefs, are waiting for him in his new job in Chicago.
Nagy also made a splash hire for the Chicago Bears Offensive Coordinator by bringing in former Oregon Ducks Head Coach, Mark Helfrich. Helfrich may be best known as the coach that developed Marcus Mariota. He was the OC for Oregon while Chip Kelly was there before taking over. Helfrich started his Head Coaching career on high notes before dropping to 4-8 in his final season in Oregon. Becoming Offensive Coordinator for the Bears allows Helfrich to focus on the two things he does best, designing an offense and developing a quarterback.
As Offensive Coordinator at Oregon, his teams averaged 44.7 points per game with an average of 500.7 yards of total offense with 283.4 being rushing yards. Helfrich knows how to utilize mismatches just as well as Nagy and these two together could form a dynamic offensive mind.[the_ad id=”73965″][the_ad id=”63198″]
What Will The 2018 Chicago Bears Look Like?
I expect the offense to be a read option mixed in with a west coast style. Helfrich will incorporate some of the things he did with the Oregon Ducks while Nagy with bring the west coast and run/pass options. Trubisky is an athletic player that can run the ball. In 2017 he averaged 3.4 carries and 20.7 yards/game with 2 rushing touchdowns. I would expect the Nagy/Helfrich offense to utilize rollouts and bootlegs more often as well. All of these new wrinkles to the offense could lead to more rushing attempts each game and more short passes to the Tight Ends.
The 2018 success is going to revolve around the improvement of Trubisky.
I have seen several people already start to compare Trubisky to Jared Goff due to the fact both players had a new head coach in their 2nd seasons in the league. That is where the similarities stop. Most people had given up on Goff after his rookie season. I have not seen the same sentiment for Trubisky. He showed several times throughout his rookie season that he has the tools to become a quality NFL quarterback. Here is a comparison of their rookie seasons:
For me, it’s obvious that Trubisky had a better rookie season than Goff and I do believe that Trubisky can be the 2018 version of Goff with more modest numbers due to the offense that is being installed. My way too early projection for Trubisky is 3,700 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.
The Bears defense was solid in 2017, they finished 10th in total yards allowed, 11th in rushing yards allowed (108.1 yds/game), and 9th in points allowed (20 pts/game). With a top 10 defense in place and a new and improved offense, the Bears are in a position to make a push in the NFC North with a few smart free agent acquisitions and possibly another wide receiver in the first round (check out our latest Mock Draft).
Father to a daughter and son as well as a husband to a wife. I have a healthy obsession with football and not so healthy obsession with ice cream. I have been following the NFL closely for over a decade all while working full-time jobs, primarily as a police officer.