When the 2019 season ended the Chicago Bears parted ways with several offensive assistant coaches. One of which was well respected and experienced offensive line coach Harry Heistand. His former players all swear by him, and there’s never been a discouraging said word about his coaching style, but he and Bears head coach Matt Nagy simply didn’t mesh during their time working together in the Windy City.
Enter Juan Castillo, who has a previously relationship with Nagy, and who has plenty of experience in the offensive system the Bears are running.
Castillo met the media earlier today and his enthusiasm shined through the Zoom video conference call as he pounded on his table to get his points across. Anyone that played football on any level knows how on brand it is for the o-line coach to pound the table.
Castillo didn’t want to spend time talking about what went wrong with the Bears’ o-line in 2019 saying, “I’m really not worried about what happened, I’m concerned about now. I’d rather talk about that.”
The Bears didn’t make major changes to their o-line room this offseason, with the only additions of note being Germain Ifedi, who is expected to man the right guard spot, and swing tackle Jason Spriggs, so it’ll be up to Castillo to get the most out of his players.
“I work hard. My parents are from Mexico. I’m the first generation so I only know one way and my thing with my players is, I try to lead by example,” Castillo said via NBC Sports. “My guys are going to outwork everybody. And if they’re going to outwork everybody, then I have to do that.”
It has to be eating him up not being able to get on the field with his guys to rep through the fundamentals.
“Offensive line play, for the 25 years I’ve known it, it’s all about being consistent,” Castillo said. “The more consistent you are, the better the player you are. Well, how do we get consistent? There’s only one way to be more consistent, if you have the God-given ability, and that’s by doing something over and over and over until it becomes natural.”
Besides working with the men in the trenches, Castillo will also be heavily involved in getting the running game fixed along with new tight ends coach Clancy Barone, this according to new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.
Barone expressed confidence in rookie tight end Cole Kmet calling him a “quick study” and a “football junkie,” while also saying he’s very high on veteran Y tight end Demetrius Harris. He said Harris’ experience in the offense has helped him get up to speed on things.
Big money free agent Jimmy Graham was also mentioned by Barone as a guy that can help the offense in many ways.
But it was his comments on 2017 second-round draft pick Adam Shaheen that raised the most eyebrows. After saying how much he liked him as a prospect out of Ashland, Barone said of Shaheen, “I still think he has a very bright future, and I have plans for him to do things in our offense.”
Barone unlocking the potential of the 6’6”, 257 pounder would be his most impressive coaching accomplishment to date.
Here’s some more nuggets from today’s Zoom press conferences from Twitter, and if the pressers are made available by the Bears we’ll try share them in their entirety.
#Bears OL coach Juan Castillo on Germain Ifedi: "He's been working his ass off. Working his ass off. I'm excited about him."— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) June 17, 2020
Juan Castillo: James Daniels is smart, he's an athlete. He's going to be good if he plays guard or center."— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) June 17, 2020
#Bears OL coach Juan Castillo says James Daniels has added about 10 pounds this offseason.— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) June 17, 2020
Clancy Barone sees Matt Nagy leaning on a reshuffled coaching staff for ideas and suggestions.— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) June 17, 2020
"That's part of the comfort level for him in hiring guys in the league for 16, 17 or whatever years, that he can rest easy knowing that his guys have been there and done that before."
Bears TE coach Clancy Barone with more on Cole Kmet: "He's got great body control. He makes hard catches look routine."— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) June 17, 2020
Bears running backs coach Charles London said of David Montgomery: "He feels like he has so much more that he can do, so much more that he can bring to this offense. I know that he can do it. ... I think you'll see a tremendous jump there."— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) June 17, 2020
Bears RBs coach Charles London on this being a contract year for Tarik Cohen: "We've talked about that. I don't think that's going to be an issue at all."— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) June 17, 2020
Furrey is also about the fourth or fifth person from inside Halas Hall who has been emphatic with praise for what Ted Ginn’s presence and veteran leadership will mean to the WR room and the O as a whole.— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) June 17, 2020
#Bears WR coach Mike Furrey says he's had a lot of conversations over the past four months with Anthony Miller discussing everything.— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) June 17, 2020
Bears WR coach Mike Furrey on rookie Darnell Mooney: "One of the most explosive guys in our room."— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) June 17, 2020
Bears receivers coach Mike Furrey: "I think the biggest growth that we're going to see of anybody in our room is (with) Riley Ridley. ... I believe he's going to make some noise on our roster."— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) June 17, 2020
Bears WR coach Mike Furrey is typically a straight shooter. Candid and direct. To hear him gush this morning about Riley Ridley’s approach, passion and Year 2 potential is noteworthy.— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) June 17, 2020
File it away.
New #Bears QB coach John DeFilippo on wanting his QBs to play with juice: "Passion, energy and swagger, baby."— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) June 17, 2020
John DeFilippo is seeking 'swagger' in the Bears' quarterbacks.— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) June 17, 2020
"It doesn't mean that we go out and we're cocky and arrogant. It doesn't mean that at all. It just means that we have a swagger about ourselves that the only people that can beat us is if we beat ourselves."
#Bears QB coach John DeFilippo says he and Mitch Trubisky had a long convo over Zoom talking about what things he does good and what he can improve on.— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) June 17, 2020
#Bears QB coach John DiFilippo on the Mitch-Foles battle: "This is as open a competition as I’ve been involved in for sure."— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) June 17, 2020
Because Mitch Trubisky was rehabbing his shoulder earlier this offseason, he was in the building a lot. John DeFilippo thought it was too much and told him: "You need to get away ... you need to clear your mind for a couple weeks."— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) June 17, 2020
In defining command for his QBs, DeFilippo stressed "having command of yourself with the quarterback lifestyle. ... Living, breathing, eating, sleeping football."— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) June 17, 2020
Also stressed having command of scheme and having command of the team in some natural fashion.
Bill Lazor: "I feel very about the talks that Mitch (Trubisky) and I have had about the fact that his future and his career is in his hands. ... I think he's got a lot of great football ahead of him."— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) June 17, 2020
Bill Lazor on Nick Foles (at phil) "I watched him grow, and then when he finally got a chance to play, I saw constant development."— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) June 17, 2020