At this time last year, the Chicago Bears were rolling deep at the 2017 Senior Bowl.
John Fox coached the North Team and his assistants had their hands on all of the game’s top prospects. Unfortunately, it appears as if the Bears didn’t capitalize on this golden opportunity to unearth some draft gems. The only Senior Bowl participant the Bears drafted was Jordan Morgan, who spent the entire season on injured reserve in what amounts to a redshirt season for the Division II product.
Hopefully, a new set of eyes in Mobile, Ala., will keep the Bears from passing on this year’s versions of Cooper Kupp and Desmond King:
The #Bears’ contingent at the Senior Bowl this week will include GM Ryan Pace and new head coach Matt Nagy. The Bears hold the No. 8 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) January 22, 2018
- The Bears need help at wide receiver and might not have to look too far to fill a role on the depth chart. Matt Eurich of 247 Sports explains why Matt Nagy’s offense could be one that leads to Kevin White finally putting up some big numbers. And while it all hinges on White’s health and availability, I wouldn’t rule out a healthy White being a contributor. White is in nearly the same position Kyle Fuller found himself in entering the 2017 season. He’ll need to beat out some competition at his position and show he can get it done in training camp and the preseason, but the Bears are in a position to take a gamble on an in-house candidate who happens to have a first-round pedigree.
- This isn’t to say the Bears should be relying on White to recapture the magic that made him a top-10 pick in 2015, but it’s worth a shot to allow the West Virginia product to prove he can (or can’t) get it done at the NFL level. It all comes back to White’s health. Perhaps he’s due for a change in luck? The Bears offense has taken 3,079 snaps since White was drafted in 2015, but the 2015 first-round pick has been on the field for just 238 of them – or 7.7 percent.
- The burden won’t fall entirely on Nagy, who will share the responsibility of getting the most from White and the other skill position players with a new offensive coordinator and a handful of new position coaches. Over at CBS Chicago, Chris Emma writes about how Nagy entered his first head-coaching job with an open mind when it came to putting together a staff of assistants. Nagy said he wanted to hire a diverse group with forward thinkers and it appears he has done just that. From Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich, who is well-versed in developing quarterbacks to former 1,000-yard receiver Mike Furrey coaching wide receivers, to respected Running Backs Coach Charles London. For the Bears’ offense to improve in 2018, it’ll take a team effort.
- Emma also notes there has been no official word on who will coach the Bears’ quarterbacks, but it’s worth pointing out Dave Ragone is still listed as the Quarterbacks Coach on the team’s official website.
- Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times believes Nagy’s pursuit of Helfrich, Vic Fangio, and Chris Tabor tells us a little something about the new head coach’s management style. And listening to what the coordinators had to say about their new boss seems to confirm the Bears’ new direction as being a positive one. “I think he’s attacking it with enthusiasm, an open mind, open to find out better ways to do things, potentially,” Fangio said. Tabor added something similar along those lines, describing Nagy as “extremely intelligent, enthusiastic and has a plan of exactly how he wants to do things.” From the sounds of it, the Bears have three different coordinators of different groups all pulling from the same side of the rope.
- And as John Mullin of NBC Sports Chicago points out, having Mitch Trubisky being a common denominator and a reason assistants were interested in working for the first-year head coach helps matters.
- Mullin also underlines how the Bears’ coaching staff is following a new, but popular trend with how it’s handling Trubisky’s development. With Nagy, Helfrich, and (possibly) Ragone in the fold, Trubisky will be molded by three former quarterbacks. It’s something that we have seen be successful in Philadelphia (Doug Pederson, Frank Reich, John DeFilippo) and Los Angeles (Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur, Greg Olson) and hope can be as productive in Chicago. However, history suggests having different perspectives can be valuable to quarterback development. Good catch on Mullin’s part to note Andy Reid and Pat Shurmur were offensive lineman and Packers coach Mike McCarthy was a tight end. All are respected offensive minds who didn’t play quarterback.
- In case you’re curious about the Bears’ 2018 opponents, here’s a fun little quirk. The Bears have four games against teams with new head coaches (Cardinals, Giants, Lions – twice), six games against teams with new offensive coordinators (Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Seahawks, Vikings – twice), and three games against two teams who are retaining their head coach but will have new coordinators on both sides of the ball (Patriots, Packers – twice).
- This group includes Steve Wilks, who was hired by the Arizona Cardinals as Bruce Arians’ replacement. If you’ll recall, the Bears requested to interview Wilks but never did get the opportunity. The Bears will take to the road to play Arizona this season and I’m already curious if we’ll learn a little more about the team’s interest in a former assistant under Lovie Smith who was a first-year DC under Ron Rivera in 2017.
- There was a time when it looked like Pat Shurmur was believed to be the front-runner in Arizona (and that he would possibly bring Fangio with him) but that didn’t last long. This isn’t the warmest welcome for the Giants new coach, but it’s New York so it might be as good as it gets:
— Back Page Guy NYDN (@BackPageGuyNYDN) January 23, 2018