Bears Coaching Staff Decision Points to 3-4 Scheme


The Chicago Bears decided to retain last year’s assistant D-line coach Clint Hurtt this week. Hurtt will be taking over the role of outside linebacker coach. This is significant for a couple of reasons. For one the Bears already have a new linebacker coach, Glenn Pires, who was hired last week. Why have two linebacker coaches?

Most teams that run a 4-3 scheme, like the Bears over the last few decades, only have one linebackers coach. Teams that run a predominantly 3-4 scheme generally have two because of the different roles required by the inside and outside linebackers in a 3-4 alignment. Secondly, Vic Fangio’s scheme with the 49ers uses OLBs very similarly to how defensive ends are used in a 4-3. Clint Hurtt was a defensive line coach with the Bears last year who was primarily focused on the DEs. So hiring a coach comfortable with defensive end play to coach outside linebackers is a pretty clear sign to me that the Bears will be implementing a scheme similar to the one Fangio ran in San Francisco. If you missed my breakdown of Fangio’s former scheme, you can check out the details here. I’ve also broke down how the Bears current roster would fit if they implement Fangio’s scheme from his time with the Niners.

The Bears defense is coming off the two worst seasons in the team’s long history, so drastic changes are needed and certainly welcome. For the last few seasons, opposing players have mentioned how outdated the Bears Tampa 2 scheme was. Specifically noting how predictable it is and that they knew exactly where the Bears defenders would be before the snap. It seemed that top-tier QBs like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees could do whatever they wanted against the Bears and found wide open receivers over and over again.

Vic Fangio’s 3-4 hybrid scheme has arguably been the most successful one in the league over the last four seasons. There will be growing pains adapting a roster built on the premise of a 4-3 scheme to fit Fangio’s 3-4 base alignment, but at least the Bears are moving in the right direction and have a capable coaching staff. Success won’t happen overnight or even one season, but I have faith that the Bears are on the right track towards fixing a defense that has been an embarrassment to the fan base and city the last few seasons.