Why The Bears Offense Sucks AND How to Fix It
As I sit and write this, the Bears offense is ranked 29th out of 32 teams. Unfortunately, the best offense that Matt Nagy has run here in Chicago ranked 21st in 2018. We know he came here to bring a version of the dynamic Kansas City Chiefs’ offense, but what we have is a version almost as bad as the New York Jets’ offense, it’s terrible.
As many of you know, I am not a professional. I haven’t spent my life dissecting football and my full-time job as a high school teacher doesn’t lend itself to watching hours and hours of film. However, what I do have are a lot of really intelligent and successful friends who are football coaches. When I don’t understand something, I research and I ask the people that do know. I was thrilled to get a group of coaches that helped me understand two things: Why does the Bears offense suck? And more importantly, how can they fix it?
A HUGE shout-out and thank you to Coach Noffke, Coach Wright, Coach Fitz (no, not that one) and Coach Kirkland. Truly, I learned a lot from these guys.
Why the Bears Offense Sucks.
The offensive line. It’s terrible. You have a converted defensive linemen (Rashaad Coward) at left guard and a converted tackle (Ifedi) playing right guard. The injury to James Daniels was huge and this offense is really missing him. Now with Cody Whitehair hurt, things could get really bad, really fast. Alex Bars in limited action proved to be a liability. Especially considering the defensive front the Bears just faced, almost no line was going to look good, but with a patchwork line, the Bears offense couldn’t do anything.
Lack of identity. What does the Bears offense do well? The answer is not much. Going into the Falcons game, the Bears offense ranked 9th rushing the football. Most Bears fans were thrilled with this. However, at this point of the season, the Bears have no clear identity on offense. Call it play calling, call it scheme, but there is no continuity to the plays they are running. It sure looks like Nagy is calling a bunch of random plays and hoping that one sticks. This offense has no rhythm.
The personnel. Nagy wants to run the Kansas City offense with the Bears personnel. Bruh! We have Nick Foles and Javon Wims, not Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill. Many fans put this solely on the shoulders of GM Ryan Pace. It’s obvious that Pace has had some HUGE misses. Mike Glennon, Kevin White and not drafting Mahomes or Watson, just to name a few. BUT, Pace has also brought you, Eddie Jackson, Allen Robinson, Tarik Cohen, Akiem Hicks, and most recently, Darnell Mooney.
In short: Nagy and Pace are both to blame.
Several fans have asked, can this be fixed? No, this team can’t be KC or Seattle on offense, BUT, they can be middle of the road, and with this defense, that could win them a lot of games.
How to fix it.
Make a trade or a change. There are a lot of players the Bears could trade for before the deadline (Nov. 3rd) that could help them almost immediately. JJ Stankevitz broke it down for us. But aside from trading for another WR or O-linemen, there are a few in-house changes the Bears could make. Sam Mustipher, the former Notre Dame center who has been with the Bears for two years may get a shot with Cody Whitehair replacing Rashaad Coward at left guard. Yes, it may take some time to adjust, but it’s worth giving it a shot. It can’t get worse, right? While you’re at it, add another real RB; the Patterson experiment needs to be done. Lamar Miller is on the practice squad, it would be great to have him as a compliment to David Montgomery.
More two tight end sets or an H-back set (like a fullback) could really help this team out. Especially now that we know that Cole Kmet can catch. Two TE sets help create extra gaps to defend and can offer max protection in passing plays.
More time under center and moving the pocket to change the launch point of the ball can really help an O-line. This line has already proven that the creation of a stationary pocket isn’t working. It has caused Foles to feel too much pressure and he’s made some very bad decisions. It worked with Mitch early on. Foles isn’t the athlete that Mitch is, but playing more under center and moving the pocket created opportunities that don’t require a mobile QB in order to work. It’s not the offense that Nagy wants to run, but it was effective. David Montgomery averaged 5.1 YPC against the Giants in this style of offense. Right now, the Giants aren’t good at many things, but they sure can stop the run. It’s time to go back to what was working.
Repetition and similarity. Several coaches made this point. Having a base set and running very different plays off of this same set is a way to help your O-line. Think about the 2017 LA Rams. Especially having your play action and run plays look identical. The Bears were doing this while Mitch was still playing QB and there were plays to be made. Unfortunately Mitch’s inability to properly read defenses or make consistently accurate passes really hurt the offense. It’s time to go back to what they were doing in the early parts of the season, but this time with a QB who can make the throws….sometimes.
Nagy as an overseer. It’s time. At least for now. Matt Nagy has to give the reins over to someone else, so that he can watch the whole game. There have been far too many times when Nagy doesn’t have a play ready, calls a stupid time out or doesn’t take a timeout when he should. If he is not worrying about picking the perfect play, he can start to oversee the whole team better than he is right now. He was brought here to bring life to the offense, he hasn’t done that, but there is still hope. Nagy is a phenomenal leader. His team has bought into his philosophy and more importantly, they’ve bought into him. He has completely changed the culture of this team. It’s time for Nagy to take a bit off his plate and trust his assistants to get it done while he watches his team as a whole, rather than just the offensive play sheet.
I’ve always wanted to watch my team have a high-flying offense, but I’m from Chicagoland, so I realize that’s never going to happen. What I want now is to watch a competent offense help their defense win games. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Bear Down my friends.