The Chicago Bears have been hit with waves (and waves (and waves)) of injuries over the last three years, and, eventually, someone was going to take the fall.
Well … sources have informed Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune that Strength and Conditioning Coach Jason George won’t return in 2018. George came to the Bears from the Broncos along with John Fox in 2015, which coincides with the team suffering through an avalanche of injuries.
According to Pro Football Reference’s data, 35 Bears have finished on injured reserve in the last two seasons and 47 since the start of 2015. This doesn’t account for the numerous players who were waived/injured at any point since 2015 either. Additionally, Bears players have missed a total of 558 games due to being on IR since the start of that season (just … wow). In the NFC North, only the Lions (580) have lost more, while the Packers (488), and Vikings (371) trail far behind.
As a point of comparison, the Chiefs have lost players to IR for just 432 games during this same stretch – over 100 fewer than Chicago in three seasons – so maybe the new head coach, Matt Nagy, knows a guy he can bring along from Kansas City? Just a thought.
Of course, this isn’t to say that all of the Bears’ injuries can (or should) be attributed to the strength and conditioning coach (or that a new coach will magically make everything better) – because that would be both unfair and factually incorrect. Players have a degree of agency in their own health management, and the front office can probably stand to improve on drafting, signing, and/or scouting healthy players more accurately. However, something about the current dynamic clearly needed to change, and, thankfully, it will under a new head, and, eventually, strength and conditioning coach.
There are a lot of changes happening in the Bears organization lately, and I think we’ll all be happy with the direction they’re heading.