Expectations for the Bears, especially on offense, were sky-high entering the 2019 regular season. We expected to see a young offense take the next step and produce top-half numbers to go with their stingy defense. The end result was nothing short of complete disappointment.
And the Bears’ leadership has decided to make a change.
Per Adam Jahns of The Athletic, the Chicago Bears have fired Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich, offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride, and assistant special teams coordinator Brock Olivo. This all comes after a serious regression took place throughout the entire team, particularly on offense.
So a major shakeup on the #Bears' offensive staff: offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, offensive line coach Harry Hiestand and TEs coach Kevin Gilbride will be dismissed, per sources.— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) December 31, 2019
Special-teams assistant Brock Olivo and TEs coach Kevin Gilbride also are out, per sources.— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) December 31, 2019
Yes, Mark Helfrich did not call the plays on offense. That was Matt Nagy’s doing. Rather, Mark Helfrich’s primary responsibilities were the following:
- Develop Mitchell Trubisky
- Organize the offense
- Install the playbook
- Enforce discipline
- Instruct the route concepts, blocking assignements, and pass protection schemes
Honestly, out of those five responsibilities, which one did Mark Helfrich have any success with? What did he do to keep his job? Not enough, as evident by his relief from duties. In Mark Helfrich’s two seasons with the Bears, they ranked towards the bottom in most statistical categories.
The former head coach of the Oregon Ducks was touted as one of the most ingenious play designers in all of college football. Additionally, his work with Marcus Mariota and other former Duck quarterbacks was respectable. At least, until he was fired from Oregon in 2016.
Meanwhile, Harry Hiestand’s firing is disappointing, but not surprising. The entire O-Line regressed significantly in both run blocking and pass protection. Kevin Gilbride’s departure is also not a surprise, considering how the tight end position is likely to be overhauled significantly this offseason.
Here’s a little more insight by Adam Jahns, who was the first to break all this news:
A little background on the #Bears' pending moves with Hiestand and Helfrich. It's my understanding that they were in charge of the running game.— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) December 31, 2019
Obviously whatever he was brought in to do in Chicago didn’t pan out. Now, with Helfrich’s departure, the Bears will be searching for their new coordinator to pair with Matt Nagy. Will they be given play-calling responsibilities as well? Only time will tell.
The Bears have a lot of work to do in fixing their offense. Firing Mark Helfrich and company was the first real step in realizing their goals for improvement.