The Chicago Bears are expecting two things to happen to their offense in the 2022 season. First, they’re banking on second year quarterback Justin Fields taking a step in play to lead this offense to respectability — but more on him tomorrow — and second, they’re counting on new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s scheme to pay immediate dividends.
The new offense has a track record of success throughout the NFL, but Getsy is still a first-time play caller implementing his playbook, so he has a ton to prove.
There’s been a lot said about the Bears not doing enough to bolster the offense around Fields, and with their only significant additions being center Lucas Patrick (13 starts a season ago) and wide receiver Byron Pringle (67 career receptions), that’s a fair criticism.
But why are the Bears seemingly so comfortable heading into the 2022 season with just some minor personnel tweaks?
The only logical answer has to be that the team has faith in Getsy getting his offense to gel around Fields.
“When you look at innovation for play-callers and guys that have been part of systems, what you want to do is look at the tape,” head coach Matt Eberflus said at the NFL Combine. “So, what family did they come from and what style does that particular group play and show and the innovations they have with their plays, and that group [in Green Bay, Getsy’s former team] has done that throughout, and that’s what brought me the interest in Luke throughout the whole process.”
Chicago has had one of the worst offenses in the NFL the last few years from both a schematic perspective and also from a statistical standpoint. Matt Nagy’s scheme, his tendencies, and use of personnel has been questioned by film grinders from several publications.
But if you prefer numbers, Chicago’s ranking in total offensive yards was 24th last year, it was 26th in 2020, and 29th in 2019.
In points scored, which includes defensive and special team TDs, the Bears were 27th in 2021, 22nd in 2020, and 27th in 2019.
In third-down conversions, which is historically a solid indicator of a good offense, the Bears were 25th in 2019, but just 31st the last two seasons.
If you look at Football Outsiders’ Offensive DVOA, the Bears were 26th in 2021, and 25th in both 2020 and 2019.
Nagy’s stubbornness and rigidity in his offensive mindset was a hot topic during the last three years, and Getsy’s background in a Shanahan type of scheme implies this won’t be an issue for him. He intends for his offense to be molded around the the talent he has.
“You bring a play-style mentality philosophy to the table and then evaluate what the player does best,” Getsy said in a Q&A on the team’s site earlier this year. “How I’ve been brought up in this business is you build it around the quarterback first, and then you tailor everything else to match what everybody else does well. That process is just ingrained in my soul. We’re not going to just run this concept because I like it or it looks great on film. If the player can’t execute that, then we’re not going to have much success.”
We’ve seen Nagy run the same concepts regardless if his quarterback was Mitch Trubisky, Chase Daniel, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton, or Justin Fields, and his inability to tailor his game plans around a specific skill set was his ultimate downfall.
Since 2019 the Bears offense was bottom third any way you slice it, so is the move to Getsy’s scheme enough?
Will it be able to not only unlock Fields’ potential but also get the running game behind David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert on track? Will the new offense be able to get tight end Cole Kmet to keep ascending as a player, and foster wide out Darnell Mooney into a legit number one threat? Will the new scheme be able to incorporate Pringle, Velus Jones Jr., Equanimeous St. Brown, and the other new receivers into a viable group? Will it be able to work around whatever question marks the offensive line has surrounding it all season long?
Based on the lack of offensive fire power they’ve added so far, the Bears must believe so.