1. Of the last five starting quarterbacks under Bill Lazor, four of them arguably had career years.
Take this statistic with a grain of salt, and maybe a glass of alcohol. Just weeks after finishing 8-8, the Chicago Bears effectively cleaned garage (“house” would be too positively befitting a word) on their No. 29 ranked offense — parting ways with three position coaches and an offensive coordinator who, ironically, didn’t call plays.
Where four coaches were — as Smokey would say, “fired on their day off — stood as top-fold news, the potentially underlying positive is that it brings forth a new offensive coordinator in Bill Lazor, a respected offensive guru heading into his 25th season assisting on offense.
Lazor hasn’t worked with any All-Pro level quarterbacks, but dating back to 2003, he’s found a way to coax the best out of numerous young, Trubisky-like quarterbacks. To rattle off his last five: Andy Dalton, Ryan Tannehill, — here comes the big uh-oh — Nick Foles, Matt Hasselbeck and Jason Campbell.
Of those five, the only quarterback who didn’t produce arguably his best season was Hasselbeck. But, here’s a look at how those other four quarterbacks’ situations played out.
Andy Dalton — 364-of-563, 4,206 yards, 18 TDs, 8 INTs, 91.8 quarterback rating
Dalton’s backfield looks somewhat similar to what Trubisky had to work with. There was one physical, featured back, a là David Montgomery in Jeremy Hill, and one Swiss-army, rushing, receiving hybrid similar to Tarik Cohen and Giovani Bernard.
In just his first season as the Bengals offensive coordinator, Dalton either had career-highs, or second-place finishes in: competitions, attempts, completion percentage, yards, QBR, and produced the lowest interception rate of his career. Best of all, the Dalton-Lazor partnership enjoyed a Pro Bowl appearance in year one.
Ryan Tannehill: 392-of-590, 4,045 yards, 27 TDs, 12 INTs, 92.8 quarterback rating
The league’s reigning Comeback Player of the Year rewrote his career arc this past year, but his first breakout came in 2014. There, Lazor helped catapult the Dolphins from the No. 26 ranked offense to the 11th, all while doing so with the youngest wide receiving corp in football. Better days were ahead, but many of Tannehill’s best ticks still stand in 2014.
For length’s sake, here’s the only thing that needs to be said for Nick Foles: 2013. 27 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, one coordinator. Is Lazor’s signing enough to get spiritual and religious about? Well, here’s how SI.com’s Albert Breer described it.
“The marriage of Bill Lazor and the Bears will be interesting—Lazor’s known for simplifying scheme for players, weaponizing tempo and finding a way to get guys playing fast. With a quarterback, in Mitch Trubisky, who often seems to think too much on the field, injecting that influence into Matt Nagy’s offense could be a godsend.”
The one caveat to that is that it’ll still be Nagy’s voice coming through that earpiece, calling plays, with Lazor overseeing the run game. But, his work as both an exclusive quarterback coach and an offensive coordinator is enough to get excited about.