There’s no reason the Chicago Bears offense has continued to struggle in Justin Fields’ third season and Luke Getsy’s second year as offensive coordinator.
But former NFL quarterback and football coach Shaun King thinks an overlooked detail about Getsy might have contributed to the issues.
During a conversation about Fields (surprise, surprise) with 670 The Score’s Bernstein and Holmes Show on Friday afternoon, King posited that Getsy’s lack of obvious improvement as a play-caller results from a literal lack of vision: struggling to see the game from the sideline.
In the two years Getsy has been in Chicago, he has called every game from the sidelines, which has resulted in very little notable improvement over those campaigns.
So why not try something different and call plays from the booth as many coordinators do throughout the league? Perhaps, as King suggests, because Getsy’s got his eye on bigger things.
“Here’s what happens with these coordinators, and I don’t know if the public really knows this,” King explained. “When a coordinator has aspirations of being a head coach, they always want to be on the sideline because they think that makes them look like a future head coach. … I had this situation at USF (where King was a quarterback and running backs coach from 2016-19) where we had a guy, he just couldn’t see it from the sideline. But he wanted to be a head coach, so he wouldn’t go in the booth.”
At this point, it’s a little late to see how different things would look if Getsy chose to be the eye in the sky instead of boots on the ground. And it’s probably not even the story to be gleaned from this if we’re being honest.
Given how much buzz there was about Getsy potentially getting a head-coaching job before he even started working with the Bears, King’s notion about him isn’t exactly breaking news. But it might make sense to revisit Getsy’s tenure with the Bears through that lens.
Just consider his constant preaching of “execution” being the main problem that ails the Bears offense, which frequently mirrors head coach Matt Eberflus’ refrains as he tries to save his own job down the stretch of the season.
This less-than-successful stretch as Bears offensive coordinator may well have slammed the brakes on what could have been an ascent to the head-coaching ranks had he taken Fields and Chicago’s offense to superstardom.
Now, you could argue this is far from Getsy’s fault alone, and you’d be right. The Bears don’t have elite talent on offense anywhere outside of Fields and DJ Moore, and there have been plenty of injuries and shuffling on the offensive line this season. Plus, it’s not as if Fields hasn’t passed up open throws when they’ve been available or turned the ball over of his own volition.
Also, Getsy has shown an acumen for game-planning and designing opening scripts, which he does better than most offensive coordinators in the league. The problem is that he can’t carry that feel over to the rest of the game, which heading up to the booth and seeing things from above might help.
Offensive efficiency on scripted (x-axis) and non-scripted (y-axis) plays this season. pic.twitter.com/x1EC0bk0zK— Arjun Menon (@arjunmenon100) December 29, 2023
The Bears’ noted struggles in short-yardage situations also don’t reflect well on Getsy either and be blamed solely on the quarterback or bad execution.
Plus, there’s what we already know about how Getsy and company overcoached Fields as a second-year player, changing his footwork and trying to morph him into an Aaron Rodgers-esque quick-game passer (which Fields is not) instead of building around his skills as a deep-ball thrower and runner.
Whatever happens with Eberflus and Fields, who both stand a good chance of being gone come next year, Getsy’s time in Chicago has seemingly run its course. Unfortunately for him, he’ll probably need to take a step back before eventually achieving his ultimate goal of becoming a head coach.