The Positional Quick 3: Offensive Coaches

| June 14th, 2018

I’m traveling in Dingle, Ireland years ago and I’m exhausted. This was my first day ever in Europe and I couldn’t keep my eyes open at 4:30 in the afternoon. My uncle turns to me and says, “Have a quick three. You’ll be fine.” I drank three Guinness in the span of a half hour. Seven hours later I’m dancing to a shitty Irish house DJ with Jenny Pye, a local lass who dreamed of being an EMT in New York City.

I’m very tired of this 2018 off-season. And incredibly eager for the season to begin. So I’m taking the quick three approach to each position group as we head into the summer. Not grading the groups or anything. Just making some points.

Offensive Coaches

  • The Bears have an offensive coordinator in Mark Helfrich who has been working the sideline for 21 years but none of those have been in the NFL. While Matt Nagy will be calling the plays, Helfrich will have tremendous influence on the offensive philosophy and the development of the club’s most important asset: Mitch Trubisky. It’s okay to be skeptical about Helfrich’s concepts and whether they’ll be successful in the league where they play…for pay.
  • Mike Furrey might have one of the trickiest gigs on the staff. The Bears’ receiving room is going to be six guys who – with the exception of White and possibly Bellamy – haven’t played together. Molding them into a cohesive unit will not be an easy task.
  • It’s impossible not to be excited with the way Matt Nagy has handled, well, absolutely everything. The Bears haven’t had a young, exciting head coach in their entire history. Ditka, Wanny and Fox were football lifers – necessary but uninspiring hires. Jauron and Lovie were bores. Trestman was weird. Nagy’s hiring brings to Chicago the optimism of youth. It’s infectious. But now it has to translate to wins or nobody will remember these first few promising months of his tenure.

Next Week: The Other Side of the Ball

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Notes on the Nagy Coaching Staff

| January 15th, 2018

It’s okay to get excited about a new coaching staff.

It doesn’t mean you irrationally believe that staff is going to cure all that ails the franchise you root for; in this case your Chicago Bears. It doesn’t mean the good players will now become great players and the bad players good players. It just means you believe a new collection of leaders, a new assemblage of ideas has the chance to change things for the better.

When John Fox hired Adam Gase and Vic Fangio to be his offensive and defensive coordinators (respectively) there was nary a negative word to be written. Gase was the hottest young offensive assistant in the game, having interviewed for several head-coaching vacancies. Fangio was a steady rock of a coordinator, coming off his most successful stint in the league. Did it work out? No. But was that any fault of the initial coordinator hires? Doubtful. That blame falls on quarterback turnover, a tsunami of injuries and a head coach watching the game blow by like a Dakotan tumbleweed.

This is a coaching staff to get excited about. And fans should allow themselves that moment of excitement, even if it is only a moment. There are many reasons why.

  • When I ask my friends in the league to name the best offensive line coaches in the sport, three names surface: Dante Scarnecchia (the gold standard), Mike Munchak (will be employed in the NFL for 30 more years) and Harry Hiestand. Hiestand’s first time around with the Bears was exceptional but over the last five years he’s built Notre Dame’s OL into one of the most consistently dominating position groups in the nation. Of all the hires Nagy made this week, this is the most impressive.
  • But don’t get wrapped up in how this effects the draft. Yes, I believe Quenton Nelson is the best player entering the NFL next season and would be THRILLED to see him in Chicago. But the Bears would have known his ability with or without Hiestand on the staff. All having Hiestand at Halas Hall does is eliminate the need for lengthy pre-draft meetings with the ND guard. (The same can be said for the other major league prospect off this unit, tackle Mike McGlinchey.)

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