The Chicago Bears’ offensive coordinator search is over. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Monday morning Chicago will hire former Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron to the role, ending weeks of speculation.
UPDATE: On Tuesday, the Bears officially announced the hire.
Waldron, who filled that role for the Seahawks since 2021, was the very first announced interview for the job (and my personal top choice).
Like almost all of the offensive coordinator candidates the Bears interviewed, Waldron comes from the famed Shanahan coaching tree, working under Sean McVay with Washington in 2016 when McVay was offensive coordinator and in Los Angeles when McVay took over the head coaching job.
Not surprisingly, Waldron’s approach to offense resembles McVay far more than someone like Luke Getsy — a heavy emphasis on the horizontal run game paired with a lot of play-action off of it. The results have been favorable with the Seahawks ranking as a top-15 team in offensive DOA in 2021 and 2022 before struggling due to offensive line issues in 2023.
Perhaps most promisingly, Waldron has proven adept at helping quarterbacks notorious for holding onto the ball, like Russell Wilson and Geno Smith, get throws off more quickly and play in rhythm. That track record could serve the Bears as well regardless of which direction they go at quarterback, as Justin Fields and Caleb Williams, for example, both have high time-to-throw numbers.
One other fun note: Waldron had both Geno Smith and Russell Wilson getting the ball out faster.— Khari Thompson (@kdthompson5) January 12, 2024
Geno’s time to throw (TTT) was above 3s his first two years starting with the Jets. With Waldron: 2.79 and 2.73.
Russ is a career 3s guy. With Waldron in 2021: 2.78. https://t.co/jgOjYy16GY
On that note: Waldron’s hire and the emphasis on the Shanahan/McVay system would indicate the Bears will indeed favor a rookie over keeping Fields, both because Fields doesn’t fit the traditional mold of a West Coast passer and because working with a rookie was likely a main draw to the job in the first place.
But Waldron’s history of molding athletic quarterbacks into better passers and strong results with veteran players (including one big-time reclamation project) at worst keeps the veneer in place that the hire could also help Fields improve in 2024 if he remains Chicago’s quarterback. The best part: it would probably be true.
Shane Waldron & Justin Fields is a perfect combination.— • Colton Edwards • (@cedwardsNFL) January 22, 2024
Brings in more vertical concepts compared to what Getsy was trying to do in the short to intermediate.— • Colton Edwards • (@cedwardsNFL) January 22, 2024
Seahawks under Waldron as well:
- Deep pass rate: 14.3% (3rd)
- Outside zone: 36% (5th)
- Inside zone: 25% (13th)
The Bears’ play-caller is now in place, and the offense of staff will soon be built out. Now, it’s time for the decision we have all been waiting for.