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10 Most Important Bears of 2017: #10 Will Dowell Loggains prove his mettle as a play caller?

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For the 9th straight year, I'm bringing you who I believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the upcoming season. This year I start with the coaching ranks, and look at offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.

NFL: Chicago Bears-Rookie Minicamp Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

When the Chicago Bears promoted Dowell Logains to offensive coordinator last offseason, it was done to keep the continuity intact from the lone Adam Gase coordinated year. Loggains was Gase’s quarterbacks coach, and with Gase moving on to coach the Miami Dolphins, Bears’ head honcho John Fox wanted a smooth transition for his second year in Chicago. Loggains had previous play calling experience, so it was an obvious decision.

But was it the right decision?

Loggains previously was the offensive coordinator in Tennessee and his one full season calling plays (2013), the Titans went 7-9. He actually took over their offense late in the 2012 season, so if you compare one year to the next, his offense improved by 380 total yards, and from being ranked 26th to 22nd. Not a significant leap, but improvement is improvement.

I think it’s more important to look at what his quarterbacks did from one year to the next. In 2012, the Titans had Jake Locker and Matt Hasselbeck take the bulk of their snaps, and Locker ended with a 74.0 passer rating, with Hasselbeck’s at 81.0. As a team, the Titans ended with a 76.9 passer rating.

In Loggains next year, his first full season as play caller, he had Locker and Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. As a team, the Titans’ passer rating was 83.6, but Locker improved to 86.7. His 2013 offense also featured a thousand yard runner in Chris Johnson and a thousand yard receiver in Kendall Wright, who is now a Bear.

And speaking of the Bears. from a yardage standpoint, they ranked 15th in 2016 with Loggians navigating his play calls around three different quarterbacks. In 2015, under Gase, the Bears’ O ranked 21st in the NFL. The difference in the two years was 187 more yards for Logains, but Gase’s passer rating was significantly higher. With the familiarity of Jay Cutler being under center for 15 games in 2015, Gase’s offense had an 89.7 passer rating. Loggains’ 2016 quarterbacks amassed an 81.8 rating.

In 2017, if the Bears are going to win more than three games, they’ll need their QBs to do better than an 81.8 rating.

But more importantly, Logains will have to figure out a way to feature their best offensive player, Jordan Howard, while not being too predictable. In Howard’s 13 starts last year, he averaged 96 yards per game, on 18 attempts. With improved vision (from eye surgery), more confidence (from year two in the offense), and improved skills (from working on his route running and hands), there’s no reason Howard’s touches shouldn’t be at least 23 per game.

Chicago’s offense will also need to figure out how to score more points in 2017. Last year, they ranked 28th in scoring, and that’s with two defensive touchdowns, a punt return TD, and a safety added to their total. Seventeen points per game isn’t going to cut it this year, and that falls on Loggains to get more creative in the red zone.

Loggains top priority however, along with quarterback coach Dave Ragone, will be aiding in the development of rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky. Even if Trubisky can’t get on the field as a rookie, there’s plenty he’ll need to learn as he prepares to be the future for the Chicago Bears.