The Chicago Bears have a brand new offensive coordinator, saying the hiring Tuesday of former Seattle Seahawks coordinator Shane Waldron.
With that query answered, consideration focuses much more on what the workforce will do at quarterback. And not surprisingly, QB questions dominate this week’s version of Brad Biggs’ Bears mailbag.
Part of me thinks Shane Waldron is a superb rent due to how Geno Smith went from castoff to having fun with a rejuvenated profession. But the skeptic in me says possibly Dave Canales was behind Smith approaching and the Seahawks offense was middling regardless of nice WRs/RBs. What do you consider the rent? — @tn5280
How the Bears will look underneath Waldron is likely one of the greatest questions surrounding the Bears. We’ll want extra data and a greater thought of what the roster seems to be like within the spring to actually dive into this. As you already know, a coordinator will be solely nearly as good because the components he has to work with. I referred to as a veteran professional scout for his tackle Waldron and the work he did in Seattle during the last three seasons.
“Sean McVay is the best play caller in the NFL right now, and Waldron’s system is going to be a direct reflection of that scheme,” the scout mentioned. “In Seattle, they did open up the offense for Geno, and Shane labored for a head coach (Pete Carroll) that may strain him to run the ball constantly. Waldron is an effective play caller. You can marvel if he labored for a head coach that didn’t permit him to actually open it up. Is he going to come across the identical factor with Matt Eberflus, one other defensive head coach? Maybe.
“The run game is at the foundation of what McVay does. It creates a lot of formational variance, there’s a lot of misdirection and motion and all of that builds out to the passing game. McVay has transitioned to more of a gap scheme running the ball. (Waldron is) going to need athletic linemen, and the Bears have some of those.”
Numerous people are questioning how Waldron’s offense will differ from what the Bears did underneath Luke Getsy, who had comparable roots. It’s attainable there may very well be extra pre-snap motion, however we gained’t know that for some time. The Seahawks actually struggled to run the ball this season, however a variety of that may be attributed to a rash of accidents on the offensive line.
There has been intense deal with the scheme and X’s and O’s and play calling and the way all of that may match. That’s an enormous a part of the job. What additionally can’t be neglected is how Waldron instructions the room. How he presents data to gamers. How he connects with gamers. He basically would be the head coach of the offense, and much more goes into the job than a recreation plan and play calls. There’s loads to study Waldron and a ton of floor for the Bears to cowl by way of roster choices.
Why are you not giving extra consideration to the chance Ryan Poles decides to commerce down from No. 1 and construct the roster round Justin Fields, who would then have one other season or two to show himself? He’d be in place with further draft capital to get a quarterback sooner or later if Fields didn’t change into the precise man. — Jordan M., Fishers, Ind.
It could be silly to rule out any chance at this early juncture, however I don’t suppose the percentages of your situation occurring are very excessive. The Bears are within the uncommon place of proudly owning the No. 1 decide for the second consecutive yr, and so they’ve had rocky quarterback play — for lots of causes — for greater than two years in a row. There’s no telling what sort of draft capital Poles would have sooner or later if he trades down.
When the Bears traded the No. 1 decide final yr, it was the thirteenth time the highest decide had been traded since 1967. Only two of these earlier offers concerned a future first-round decide.
- In 2016, the St. Louis Rams traded as much as No. 1 with the Tennessee Titans to pick quarterback Jared Goff. The Titans wound up with the fifth decide in 2017 getting back from the Rams and used it on extensive receiver Corey Davis.
- In 1990, the Indianapolis Colts traded as much as No. 1 with the Atlanta Falcons to pick quarterback Jeff George. The Falcons wound up with the thirteenth decide in 1991 getting back from the Colts and used it on extensive receiver Mike Pritchard.
If the Bears commerce down from No. 1, there’s no method of understanding how worthwhile the decide(s) they’d get again shall be. The probabilities of them touchdown the No. 1 decide once more wouldn’t be excellent. For the sake of dialogue, let’s say in a trade-down situation, Poles nets the No. 4 decide in 2025. If there’s one elite quarterback in that class, good luck having the ability to transfer up and get that participant.
When quarterback is a matter and also you’re in place to handle the problem, I believe it’s important to take motion. I imagine that’s what the Bears will do.
After watching two weekends of playoff soccer, the passing performs and route designs are much more inventive than what we noticed from the Bears. Is it the offensive coordinator and play calling, the WR corps or only a plain expertise disparity? — Ron M., DeKalb, Ill.
The route ideas you’ve got seen within the playoffs are similar to what the Bears did with Luke Getsy and actually what each offense runs. There are solely so some ways you may pores and skin the cat, and the one actual variations are in formations, pre-snap motion — and, in fact, skill-position expertise.
What you’ve seen all through the playoffs is extra proficient pocket throwers than what the Bears have had for an extended stretch, predating the Justin Fields period. C.J. Stroud, Patrick Mahomes, Jordan Love, Josh Allen, Brock Purdy, Jared Goff and Lamar Jackson are all extremely expert throwing from the pocket and on time. Most of the throws Jackson made Saturday, excluding the move off the quarterback sweep, have been from the pocket.
That’s what you haven’t seen with a excessive stage of consistency from the Bears. That’s what seems to be completely different.
I’m confused by the argument that resetting the QB clock — saving $30 million for 3 years — is more economical than buying and selling down and persevering with with Justin Fields. That quantity will get you possibly two or three impression gamers for the three years of financial savings, proper? Meanwhile, a commerce just like the one final yr will internet about 4 further first/second-round draft selections on four- or five-year rookie contracts. Even with having to pay Fields in Year 3, that strikes me as more economical and in step with the “build-through-the-draft” mantra. Conceding that you just’ll in all probability improve the QB place utilizing the primary decide, at what value to different positions? Your ideas? — Glen H.
My response is that the entire thought of resetting the quarterback clock by drafting one to interchange Fields, who has performed three seasons, is barely a minor a part of the analysis for the Bears. This could be an additional advantage however provided that the Bears wind up with the precise quarterback.
The backside line is that the Bears have had insufficient quarterback play, and if you happen to’ve watched the playoffs even casually, you’ve seen that the remaining groups are getting high-level play on the place. It’s practically unattainable to be a constant contender and have sustained success if you happen to don’t get it proper at quarterback.
With common quarterback play — and the Bears have had below-average play — practically every part else must be elite to have an opportunity to make a postseason run. The Bears are in place with the primary and ninth draft picks to pick a brand new quarterback and alter the trajectory of their offense. The monetary ramifications of a rookie quarterback within the first yr of his contract is barely a small a part of the equation.
The query the Bears need to ask themselves is would including extra expertise by way of a commerce down elevate Fields’ play to a stage that results in sustained success. That’s attainable, and Fields’ supporters actually would push this considering. The Bears must hit on these picks too.
There are so some ways to look at this situation. I preserve circling again to the actual fact Fields has had three years because the starter and hasn’t been ok on a constant foundation, and right here the Bears are with the No. 1 decide in what seems to be like a fairly darn good yr to be sitting on the prime of the draft if you happen to want a quarterback. It’s actually not difficult.
I’m positive there are numerous who’re curious if Tyson Bagent may very well be the long run quarterback. How about preserving Justin Fields subsequent yr, buying and selling down and reevaluating issues after 2024? — Joe H., Palos Park
Bagent’s improvement as an undrafted rookie and the actual fact he beat out P.J. Walker for a roster spot after which went 2-2 because the starter was a terrific story. I believe Bagent has the flexibility to stay within the league for a few years. He’s wired to succeed and the second wasn’t too large for him in spots the place we’ve seen quarterbacks with much more seasoning fall on their faces.
Bagent wants extra time, although, and I don’t suppose what we noticed screamed “future franchise quarterback.” The workforce gained’t put a ceiling on his improvement, however it could be past dangerous to wager on Bagent for the long run and use that as a rationalization to maintain Fields.
You talked about that it’ll not be attainable to retain Justin Fields whereas taking a quarterback with the primary decide, and the reasoning you supplied is sensible to me. What is the potential for choosing up Fields’ fifth-year possibility and constructing weapons round him, and draft J.J. McCarthy late first spherical or within the second spherical? This will give Fields sufficient time to show himself whereas McCarthy develops. This is not going to disrupt locker-room dynamics, and McCarthy has proven nice management, maturity and key performs to assist win the nationwide championship. — Karthik J., Peoria
It’s attainable the Bears may use the primary decide on a quarterback and retain Fields. It’s my opinion they gained’t select that avenue. I don’t suppose the Bears are inclined to train the fifth-year possibility for 2025 in Fields’ contract as a result of he hasn’t performed nicely sufficient over three seasons for that to be a viable consideration.
There’s an honest likelihood McCarthy shall be drafted within the prime half of the primary spherical. I’d be shocked if he lasted into Round 2, however we do see quarterbacks fall every so often. I don’t imagine the Bears would disrupt the locker room in the event that they draft a quarterback and transfer on from Fields. You know what gamers will do if the workforce drafts a quarterback? Support the brand new man. That’s what good teammates do. They have their quarterback’s again.
With Cole Kmet underneath contract for the foreseeable future and Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis low-usage guys this yr, is there any likelihood the Bears would draft Brock Bowers if he falls to them? — Mike F., Chicago
Bowers is an fascinating prospect and a extremely expert tight finish. The Bears must want to make use of a ton of two-tight-end formations in the event that they invested in Bowers. It’s extra probably they would choose a large receiver as they don’t have a No. 2 reverse DJ Moore underneath contract proper now and so they in all probability need to create some competitors for Tyler Scott for the No. 3 function.
Why is a Justin Fields commerce solely value a Round 2 decide when there are such a lot of QB-needy groups and the potential is clearly there for him to become one thing particular? — @opinion4you
I don’t suppose anybody is aware of particularly what Fields would command in a commerce. I’ve written that I extremely doubt the Bears may get a first-round decide in return. It’s attainable they might get a second-rounder, or the most effective provide may very well be a third-round decide and alter or possibly a third-rounder with situations that might enhance to a second. Who is aware of?
The extra groups doubtlessly concerned, the extra negotiating energy the Bears would have. Fields’ worth is restricted by his efficiency in 38 profession begins and the actual fact he’s at the moment underneath contract for just one extra season with an possibility for 2025. His worth additionally could be restricted if groups imagine the Bears are positively going to pick a quarterback within the first spherical. That’s one motive I count on GM Ryan Poles to play poker for some time as he types by way of the multitude of choices.
I’ve heard many consultants say Justin Fields doesn’t make fast sufficient choices within the pocket, which results in sacks or chunk performs that don’t materialize. I’ve heard that Caleb Williams will step up within the pocket and underneath strain will ship optimistic performs with out holding on to the ball too lengthy. Of course each can scramble when vital. Can coaches examine what Williams does towards inferior college-level expertise and examine that to what Fields does within the NFL? — Ed S., Auburn, Ala.
That’s an fascinating query. One of the knocks on Williams, particularly this previous season, was that he additionally had a propensity to carry the ball too lengthy ready for one thing to materialize.
I don’t know that the Bears are evaluating Fields and Williams aspect by aspect. They want to finish an exhaustive evaluation of Fields and decide what they imagine his profession arc to be heading into Year 4. Then they should totally examine the quarterbacks on this draft class — Williams and the entire others — and undertaking these gamers’ flooring and ceilings. After that, they will get an thought of what the most effective path could be, whether or not which means preserving Fields, preserving Fields and drafting a quarterback or drafting a quarterback and transferring on from Fields.
They’re in an enviable place with the primary and ninth picks and so they management the market. When evaluating Williams (and actually the entire quarterbacks), it’s a projection to find out how they’d fare within the NFL after enjoying towards school defenses. It’s additionally a projection when contemplating the gamers that they had surrounding them. Williams didn’t have loads round him this previous season. USC had a poor offensive line and never a variety of talent expertise on the surface.
If the Bears and White Sox are each searching for new stadiums, what’s the likelihood that they’d find yourself sharing one? — Dave, San Diego
The Oakland Coliseum, when it was dwelling to the Raiders of the NFL and Athletics of MLB, was the final multiuse stadium. Those days are gone and I don’t see them returning within the close to future. Teams want stadiums which are designed particularly for his or her sport. I’d put the probabilities of the Bears and Sox calling the identical constructing dwelling at zero.