It's been a few days since the Chicago Bears hired Shane Waldron to be their new offensive coordinator. By now, most fans should know a bit about his story.
Having come from the Sean McVay tree, Waldron certainly has some positives coming in. Hiring from that tree is typically going to be a good move, which is one reason why the Bears hired him. The fact that Waldron has three years of play-calling experience is another huge benefit; something Luke Getsy did not have coming in.
Over his three years with Seattle, Waldron did some good things with that offense. But, to say he was toward the top of the league at his position would be an overstatement.
Believe it or not, the Seahawks finished 21st in total offense (322.9 YPG) this past season, which was just behind the Bears at no. 20. In 2022, which was Geno's breakout year, Seattle was 13th. The Seahawks were also 17th and 9th in scoring in 2023 and 2022, respectively.
So, the Seahawks were right around average, all things considered. And, that was all while boasting weapons like Kenneth Walker Jr. (albeit, sometimes hurt), D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba (for 2023).
The biggest reason for concern, with Waldron, though? The two areas it matters most.
Shane Waldron's two biggest weaknesses came when the offense was facing crucial downs.
Over the past two seasons, Waldron's offense ranked 22nd and 20th in third down percentage. That is not ideal. The Bears, meanwhile, finished 12th in the NFL in 2023, on third downs. You might not have guessed it, but Chicago was pretty good on third down.
Additionally, Seattle ranked 26th and 27th in red zone TD percentage over the last two seasons. Once again, that's worse than Chicago, who checked in at 15th and 13th in 2023 and 2022, respectively.
Watching Waldron's offenses, one can see pretty quickly that he is a genius on first and second downs. He's great. There are arguably very few problems we see with what he calls on those downs. But, when it comes time for a conversion, Waldron tends to overthink it.
The same can be said for when in the red zone.
Whether the Bears go with Justin Fields, Caleb Williams or the wild card in Drake Maye, they cannot afford to take a step back on third downs and when in the red zone. That would be the polar opposite of what fans were expecting when firing Luke Getsy.
For Waldron to have success with the Bears, he's going to have to improve greatly in these two areas. Otherwise, Chicago will be on to yet another offensive coordinator before we know it.