In the last week, the Chicago Bears have just about completed the hiring of new coaches for their 2024 coaching staff. The first and most important hire was former Seattle Seahawks Offensive Coordinator Shane Waldron as the Bears' new Offensive Coordinator. Waldron comes from the Sean McVay tree and, as such, will run a scheme very similar to what the Bears ran the last two years. What's important about that is the transition for the players will be relatively simple, as much of the terminology will remain the same. It's not as if the offensive players have to learn a whole new scheme.
People I know well who have worked with Waldron in the past have nothing but good things to say about him. One person said, "He's the complete package as a leader, teacher, and team guy, and he can shred defenses."
The next big hire for the offensive staff came just yesterday when Thomas Brown was named Passing Game Coordinator. Brown was the Offensive Coordinator for Carolina last year, and before that was the Assistant Head Coach and Running Backs Coach for the Rams. He has experience working with Waldron and is also from the McVay tree.
Brown is highly thought of around the League and was interviewed for several Coordinator jobs this cycle, including the Bears. The same person who spoke about Waldron had this to say about Brown. "He's very smart, can see and understand the big picture. He connects well with his players, is an excellent teacher and works well with the other coaches".
The wide receiver group, except for DJ Moore, has struggled the last two years. Darnell Mooney, who looked like a solid #2 receiver two years ago, has regressed, Velus Jones has shown little development, Chase Claypool was a non-factor after the Bears gave up a second-round pick for him, and Tyler Scott did not exactly set the world on fire as a rookie. Development of the young receivers has been non-existent.
Because of that, a new Wide Receivers Coach has been brought in, and that person is Chris Beatty, who has spent the last three seasons with the Chargers. Before becoming an NFL coach, Beatty was at several different colleges, including Maryland, where he developed DJ Moore into a first-round draft pick. Beatty is known as an excellent teacher who can develop young talent. He's exactly what the Bears WR room needed.
The new quarterback coach is Kerry Joseph, who spent the last few years in Seattle working with Waldron as the assistant quarterback coach. Joseph is a former quarterback himself in the CFL and, like the others, is known for his ability to teach and develop.
Late last night, Jason Lieser for the Sun Times posted on X that the Bears have hired Chad Morton as the running backs coach. Morton, like Joseph, came from Seattle, where he worked with Waldron and helped develop a strong run game for the Seahawks.
On the defensive side, The Bears have added Eric Washington, who was the defensive line coach with the Buffalo Bills. Washington started his NFL coaching career here in Chicago as the assistant defensive line coach to Rod Marinelli. Following his stint with the Bears, he went with Ron Rivera to Carolina, where he was the defensive line coach for a number of years. He then got promoted to Defensive Coordinator for his final two seasons in Carolina. Eric Joined the Bills staff in 2020 and has been there for the last four seasons.
Having worked with Eric for three years here in Chicago, I know exactly how good a coach he is. He's very smart and an excellent teacher, is highly respected by his players, and does an outstanding job holding them accountable. At least for his first year as Coordinator, Eric will not call the defensive plays as Head Coach Matt Eberflus will continue in that role, but he will have a huge role in developing the game plan each week. Buffalo ran a more aggressive defense than the Bears, with multiple blitzes, so it will be interesting to see if the Bears do something similar next fall. It wouldn't surprise me to see Eric working with the DLine during individual periods, as that is his strong point as a coach.
Overall, the Bears coaching staff, especially on the offensive side of the ball, has gotten much better. In fact, the staff is so strong that it can be viewed as one of the better offensive staffs in the League. Now, we need to see results on the field.
Rumors Heard at the Senior Bowl
After talking to several people who were at the East–West Game practices over the weekend and who are now in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, the team that many are talking about is the Chicago Bears. The Bears, of course, hold the top pick in the April Draft, and what they are going to do with that pick remains to be seen.
Do they keep it and take a quarterback, or do they trade down to get a haul of extra draft picks?
Obviously, that has been the bulk of the Bears' discussion the last few weeks on X and sports radio, but according to some in the League, the rumors are as follows.
Some within the Bears Personnel Department aren't big Justin Fields fans; if they had their way, the Bears would try to trade Fields. That feeling is not unanimous, and there is still a long way to go before any decision is made. Basically, everything is on the table.
What's on the table includes trading Fields, but who knows exactly what the Bears can get for him? Another thought is to trade down just a few spots, hold on to Fields but still select a quarterback, and last, hold on to Fields and try to make a trade similar to last year that brought back a huge return from the Panthers.
What I have been told is that no decisions have been made regarding anything.
The fact is, before the Bears can make a decision, they need to know what the new offensive coaches, especially Waldron, Brown, and Joseph, feel about Fields. That will take a few weeks of intense study, and that won't begin until these coaches return from the Senior Bowl.
As of now, the Bears have not had any interviews with any of the top quarterbacks. If they end up drafting a quarterback, it doesn't necessarily mean that it will be USC's Caleb Williams. All options are on the table right now. After interviewing the top QBs at both the Combine and private workouts and following a thorough review of Justin Fields, a decision will be made.
We can all sit and argue, but the decision isn't in our hands. Ultimately, it will get down to Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus and what they feel is the best scenario for the Chicago Bears going forward. The next few months will be fun.