Firings, interviews, and hirings. The Chicago Bears have, once again, completely overhauled their offensive coaching staff. It's a process that's unfortunately far too well-known by fans. This time, however, rather than making woefully uninspiring hires, the Bears have acquired surprisingly impressive names for key roles on the staff. On paper, at least.
Chicago Bears put together a solid coaching staff
The overhauling began with a bang. Shane Waldron was hired as the offensive coordinator. The former Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator had spent three seasons there, leading formidable units. His best season came in 2022 when he led the twelfth-ranked offense in the NFL. More notably, Waldron played an instrumental role in revitalizing Geno Smith's career, aiding in Smith earning the 2022 Comeback Player of the Year award and two consecutive Pro Bowl selections. Possibly more enticingly, however, Waldron comes from the highly regarded Sean McVay coaching tree. Watch for that; it'll play a bigger role later.
Waldron wasted no time in picking up his assistants. Former Seahawks assistant Kerry Joseph was hired as the quarterbacks coach, former Chargers wide receivers coach Chris Beatty joined for the same position, and former Seahawks run game coordinator Chad Morton was added as the running backs coach.
Outside of Waldron, the team's biggest get was former Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Thomas Brown joining as passing game coordinator.
Brown spent the 2023 season with a terrible Panthers team that boasted a league-worst offense. Even then, the 37-year-old received numerous interviews for offensive coordinator openings from different teams. His allure comes from his time before the one horrible season in Carolina. Brown worked with the Los Angeles Rams from 2020 to 2022 under, you guessed it, Sean McVay.
The addition of two former offensive coordinators and Sean McVay disciples to the staff is huge for a desperate Matt Eberflus and the Bears. However, it makes you think. Did they promote the idea of Caleb Williams to these guys?
I find it hard to believe that the Bears were able to get two former OCs, Waldron and Brown, on board because they were dying to work with Eberflus. After all, he has one foot out the door and will fight for his job this season. I also doubt they were dying to work with quarterback Justin Fields.
Both Waldron and Brown likely had job offers on the table from other teams to be their offensive coordinator. So, it's safe to assume Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus dangled the opportunity of getting to work with the consensus number one prospect in the 2024 NFL draft, Caleb Williams, in the face of these coaches. It's a once-in-a-blue-moon chance for many of these assistants to work with a quarterback of Williams' caliber. And, if everything goes right, a chance that can catapult these guys into contention for much better jobs.
Shane Waldron could land a head coaching gig if he's able to develop Williams and lead a top-tier offense. While Thomas Brown, after a dismal stint as an OC in Carolina, can redeem himself in Chicago and land a second chance at being one of the hottest OC candidates in the league.
But it's a calculated risk for them. Their jobs are reliant on Matt Eberflus. If Eberflus struggles and is out as head coach at the end of next season, then likely so will Waldron, Brown, and all the assistants. But these guys came to Chicago, not because they wanted to work alongside Matt Eberflus but because they wanted to work with a guy like Caleb Williams at quarterback. Or maybe they want to work with Fields, we don't know.
Regardless of who the quarterback might be next season, one thing is certain. Matt Eberflus, in a prove-it year, has assembled a competent staff. The Chicago Bears have done what they haven't done in a long time. They looked around and hired assistants according to leaguewide trends. They dug into the bag of Sean McVay's former assistants and came away with two tremendous hires and, finally, an inspiring offensive coaching staff.