Depending on whom you wanted to replace John Fox as head coach, you probably either love or hate the new guy, Matt Nagy. It’s certainly a different direction than some expected and you’ll probably feel that way until he proves himself on the sidelines.
But as an impartial observer to it all, NFL analyst Bucky Brooks did say that the Chicago Bears’ addition of Mark Helfrich as the offensive coordinator to Matt Nagy’s staff was a gold-star worthy hire:
“The former Oregon Ducks head coach is joining Matt Nagy’s staff as the team’s offensive coordinator, but he is really tasked with building an offense that fits the talents of the team’s young QB1. While some will scoff at the notion of a career college coach torching NFL defenses, I believe his experience tailoring an offense to a Heisman Trophy-winning dual-threat quarterback (Oregon product Marcus Mariota) will accelerate the development of Mitchell Trubisky as a franchise quarterback in the Windy City.”
Well, then. A quality offensive coordinator with a knack for quarterback development and the return of an experienced defensive coordinator makes for a nice start to a staff, don’t you think?
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes Nagy’s hire of Mark Helfrich as the offensive coordinator is a creative one. Hiring Helfrich is as unconventional as it gets for a Bears organization that doesn’t step outside the box too often. Helfrich’s head coaching career flamed out when the Oregon Ducks went 4-8 in his final season, but the idea of meshing elements of his spread offense with Nagy’s West Coast base should make for an interesting looking offense. That’s something we couldn’t say about that side of the ball too often in recent years.
- Over at the Chicago Sun-Times, Patrick Finley highlights three ways in which Helfrich can help get the offense in gear. A creative mind like Helfrich will need to live up to his billing, especially when driving home his wisdom to quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Helfrich has an extensive history as quarterbacks coach dating back to his college days. Trubisky sure could use that tutelage as he attempts to make a major leap in Year 2.
- And to think, there was a possibility Nagy wasn’t going to be with the Bears in the first place. There was a belief Nagy would follow former Kansas City Chiefs personnel guru Chris Balard to Indianapolis. The two worked together for some time and looked like a perfect match. In an interview with ESPN 1000-AM’s Kap and Company, Chiefs assistant/Nagy confidant Brad Childress suggested Nagy was more comfortable in his interview with the Bears than he was with the Colts. That kind of comfort level made it an easy decision for Nagy to take his talents to Chicago rather than Indianapolis.
- In that vein, Adam Hoge of WGN radio writes the Head Coach-GM partnership between Nagy and Ryan Pace is off to a good start and has a promising future. The more I read about Nagy and Pace, the more similarities I see between the two hires and the two people themselves. Here’s hoping their upbeat and aggressive ways translate to the football field, too.
- The Bears also have a new special teams coach and I bet he can’t wait to work with Tarik Cohen. Chicago’s players aren’t going to come home with too much hardware after a 5-11 season, but Pro Football Talk’s staff had Cohen as one of their two runners-up for the site’s Special Teams Rookie of the Year award.
- There are few players whose stocks will be on the rise in 2018 like Cohen, who could benefit from a new set of eyes being on him. Mark Talarico of Da Bears Brothers blog wonders how having Matt Nagy running the show on offense will benefit Cohen, a running back who was used in a multitude of ways in his rookie season. If you’ll recall, Cohen was the Bears’ second-string running back, a return specialist, one of its leading receivers, and Wildcat quarterback. At a minimum, the Bears could stand to use Cohen differently in 2018. For starters, he could see an increased role on third down and in the two-minute drill. Dowell Loggains put a lot on Cohen’s plate as a rookie, but hopefully Nagy puts a better meal on the table.
- Julio Jones made it cool for top-notch wide receivers to attend the University of Alabama. Jones opened the door for the likes of Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley to follow in his footsteps as a top offensive option for the Crimson Tide offense. Like Cooper and Jones, Ridley looks like a first-round receiver. However, he might not go as high as either of the receivers who went before him. Phil Savage, a former NFL GM who you might remember as the Senior Bowl’s Executive Director, sees Ridley landing in the 15-20 range. That’s a good place, but not in the same stratosphere as Jones or Cooper. Unfortunately, that would suggest the Bears taking him with the eighth overall selection would be considered a reach (they could always trade down, though). If I were Ridley, I wouldn’t be too concerned about draft position right now.
- That’s what being a good teammate looks like:
Tired of people not appreciating the fact that if this man led us to the National Championship. And for all the fans that are against Jalen, you against me too. You either WITH US or AGAINST US. Love you 2 🐐#BigBroLittleBro @JalenHurts pic.twitter.com/ExjHAB7yHh
— Tua Tagovailoa (@Tuaamann_) January 11, 2018
- The Cleveland Browns stayed the course with their head coach despite an 0-16 season, but Hue Jackson is going to have a ton of new assistants. Tom Withers of the Associated Press reports Jackson’s overhauled staff will feature a new position coaches for quarterbacks (Ken Zampese) and receivers (Adam Henry). We already know they’ll need a new leader coaching the special teams after Chris Tabor re-joined the Bears this week.