Matt Nagy’s coaching staff continues to grow.
The team announced the hires of Kevin Gilbride and Mike Furrey as position coaches for the 2018 season. Gilbride, the son of former San Diego Chargers Head Coach Kevin Gilbride, will coach tight ends. Furrey, who played seven years in the NFL, comes in to coach the team’s wide receivers.
Gilbride has been coaching with the New York Giants for the last eight years, including four as the team’s tight ends coach. Evan Engram led rookie tight ends in receptions (64) and yards (722), while also coming away with six touchdowns. The Bears could use Gilbride’s expertise in bringing Adam Shaheen up to speed and hopefully getting the most out of the 2017 second-round pick. Gilbride also has experience as a wide receivers coach, which could also help further develop the skills of Dion Sims and Daniel Brown.
Gilbride replaces Frank Smith, who joined Jon Gruden’s staff in Oakland. Smith is regarded as an up-and-comer in the coaching world, so Gilbride has some shoes to fill here.
Furrey played wide receiver for the Rams, Lions, and Browns from 2003 until 2009. His best season came with the Lions in 2006 when he came down with 98 catches, gained 1,086 yards, and scored six touchdowns. Furrey was a fantasy sweetheart at the time, but never replicated that kind of success. Coaching Bears receivers represents Furrey’s first NFL coaching gig. He previously spent time as a head coach at Kentucky Christian (2011-12) and Limestone (Gaffney, S.C.) College (2016-17), and as a receivers coach at Marshall (2013-15). Furrey is well traveled, having played his college ball at Northern Iowa and Ohio State, playing for the XFL’s Las Vegas Outlaws in 2001, and the Arena Football League’s New York Dragons in 2002.
Bears receivers under-performed in 2017 and will need better production in 2018 if Mitch Trubisky is going to be the quarterback his GM and coach believe he can be. Perhaps a new voice in the room will guide the group to better days in the years to come.