Hey, take a look at this guy. That's Darryl Drake, the Wide Receivers Coach for your beloved Chicago Bears. He looks like a nice enough guy, am I right? He's done a pretty solid, if unspectacular, job with wide receivers since he came in during the Smith takeover change back in the day.
He's got a solid background, and he seems to know what he's doing pretty well.
Oh, by the way, his job just got exponentially more important for the Chicago Bears, because the Bears hired some old buddy of Lovie's last week.
Now, I'm not going to pull any punches. Mike Martz likes to throw the ball a lot. I'm pretty sure Mike Martz would tell you that he likes to throw the ball a lot. Well, heck, he practically does:
If we have a receiver match-up we really like, that guy’s going to get a lot of balls that week. You don’t know what you are as an offense because you’re going to have to change every week.
And it's Drake's job to make sure that guy is ready for what's coming his way.
Chicagobears.com has a great bio on Mr. Drake. A few highlights from that article:
Drake was hired on February 6, 2004 after coaching 21 seasons at the collegiate level. He came to Chicago after six seasons (1998-2003) as the receivers coach at the University of Texas, adding the title of associate head coach on Mack Brown's Longhorns staff prior to the 2003 season.
He's got some experience coaching, that's hard to argue.
Throughout his tenure he has helped developed such young talent at the receiver position as Rashied Davis, Devin Hester, Mark Bradley, Justin Gage and Bernard Berrian.
Hmm. Well now. Let's see how many of those people are still on this team. Devin Hester--who's been solid at the position, and Rashied Davis, who's primary role is now 4th receiver/ST play. Bradley, Gage, and Berrian have all moved on. But that's not necessarily something Drake can be blamed for--between injuries and inconsistent front office performance, a lot of guys have been in and out of this organization.
That said, Drake currently has the best group, potential-wise, that he's had since he's been here. He does not, at this writing, have an old, slow veteran pushed on him for the sake of having a veteran. With Aromashodu, Knox, Bennett, Hester, and even Iglesias, some strong mentoring could really bring out a lot of quality from this group, especially now that they are likely to be much bigger targets of the playcall than they ever were before.
During the Bears Super Bowl run in 2006 undr Drake's leadership, the Bears were the NFL leaders by hauling in 95.9-percent (282 of 294) of the catchable balls thrown their way. The 12 drops by Chicago's receivers during the season equaled Buffalo for fewest in the League.
That, well, that's pretty impressive. On the days when Rex got the ball to them and not defenders, they made sure to catch it.
One thing, however, that the official website bio doesn't mention, and with good reason, is that Drake wouldn't necessarily be here right now.
Vaughn McClure wrote back in November about how Drake was in the running for the Western Kentucky Head Coaching position:
Bears receivers coach Darryl Drake talked to Western Kentucky, his alma mater, about its head-coaching position last week, but chose not to pursue the opportunity.
Drake, who is from Louisville, starred at receiver for the Hilltoppers from 1975-78 and was an assistant coach at the school from 1983-91.
So it's obvious that he's respected for his abilities and accomplishments, both in the NFL and the collegiate ranks. He's now in some of the biggest spotlight of his coaching career, as he's charged with taking young talent, and truly developing them to be a force in what might be the most pass-oriented scheme he'll ever coach in.
Is he up to the task? I think so, and I can't wait to see how offseason development goes.