To get the most out of Justin Fields over the long haul, should the Bears have hired an offensive coach?

NFL: DEC 20 Vikings at Bears
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The Bears haven’t had a franchise quarterback since Sid Luckman. The Bears hope to have one in Justin Fields. The Bears hope the next coaching staff will nudge Fields in that direction.

The Bears have decided that said coaching staff should be led by former Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. That’s their prerogative, obviously. But the decision comes with a challenge, and a potential problem.

It becomes critical for the Bears to have an excellent offensive coordinator. They’ll reportedly interview Pep Hamilton; whoever gets the job, the Bears need an offensive coordinator who will create the right connection with Field. Who will get the most out of Fields. Who will develop and mentor and help Fields become the best quarterback he can be. If that happens, if the Bears thrive and Fields rises, the offensive coordinator will become a prime candidate to secure the head-coaching job with another team.

If he leaves, Eberflus will need to replace him. And if things continue to go well, that coordinator will be gone, too. That’s why — especially with a young quarterback who already has had a rookie year that went poorly enough to get the coach fired — it’s better to hire an offensive-minded coach. If the team thrives, the coach will be there. The relationship with the quarterback will remain, and it will strengthen.

Sure, the Bears obviously decided the Eberflus will be a better coach than any of the offensive-minded candidates. But how can they be so sure? Whenever a coordinator becomes a head coach for the first time, it’s a projection. A roll of the dice. A hope. A wish.

If that projection is being made for a team with a young and unproven quarterback, I’d want to not undermine the relationship between coach and quarterback. I’d want the head coach to have an offensive background, making him the one person in the organization who is most closely tied to the young quarterback — and the one person who won’t get hired away by another team.

50 responses to “To get the most out of Justin Fields over the long haul, should the Bears have hired an offensive coach?

  1. Belichick, McDermott, Tomlin, and Harbaugh among many others didn’t come from the offensive side of the ball and they seem to be doing alright.

  2. This acts like for a QB to have success they must have an offensive minded HC and there’s plenty of evidence throughout the history of the NFL to suggest otherwise.

  3. no. mcdermott is a defensive minded coach, allen’s doing fine there. another example is herbert and staley. if the player can play, a good oc will work just fine.

  4. Tend to agree but step one is hire who you believe is the best person for the role. How did Belichik do with Brady in his formative years?

  5. Why do people think a defensive coach knows nothing about developing a QB? Football isn’t that complicated you have to dedicate yourself to one side of the ball. I guess Brady never developed under his defensive coach.

  6. It was a terrible hire. They had to hire a offensive minded head coach. Instead, the Bears do Bear things and bring in another DC as head coach after drafting a potential star QB, that needs developing, last year. And for the people that say, “just hire a great OC”. What happens if this occurs and they have a great season? The great OC leaves to take a head coaching position. Rinse and repeat. The hire was terrible!!!!!

  7. Just get the best head coach, I don’t care what side of the ball he’s on. Big Ben and Russell Wilson both turned out fine with defensive HCs

  8. All those years that Peyton Manning had Tom Moore and Tom got almost zero consideration for a HC job.

  9. It feels like with the Eberflus hire, the Bears are trying to get back to the Lovie Smith days. Meaning, a tough fast 4-3 base defense that takes the ball away, strong ground game, and low risk/low reward passing game. Justin Fields has incredible talent but so did Jay Cutler and we saw how far that got him in Chicago. The rumblings of bringing over Philly’s pass game coordinator have me nervous because their passing game is terrible. I think the bigger risk in the new regime is not that Justin Fields will be overexposed to hits and mistakes, but underutilized. It will definitely be a compelling offseason / preseason storyline in any case.

  10. Who is Just Justin Fields? Everyone acts like this guy is the next Tom Brady or something! Made poor decisions with the football, can run yes but come on! Has more of I’m a bust than anything!

  11. BuckyBadger says:
    Why do people think a defensive coach knows nothing about developing a QB? Football isn’t that complicated you have to dedicate yourself to one side of the ball. I guess Brady never developed under his defensive coach.
    ==

    The point of this article is that if you have a young QB that needs development, but you choose to hire a defensive-minded head coach, then you had better hire a great offensive coordinator and give him free reign to do his job.
    Bill Belichick may have may have influenced Tom Brady’s focus and determination, but he didn’t develop his skills. Belichick left that to a good offensive coordinator and capable position coaches.
    Will the Bears do the same? Even if that is their intent, are Virginia McCaskey and/or Matt Eberflus capable of identifying and making the right choice?
    We’ll find out soon enough.

  12. Who says fields is the guy, he wasn’t that impressive last season. Everyone anointed him as the next lamar.

  13. Defensive coach helps a young QB understand defenses. Fields can always hire a QB coach in the off season to work on his mechanics, throwing motions, etc. Josh Allen worked with Jordan Palmer in the off season and came back much improved.

  14. The Bears have been stuck in the past for a long time with the mindset that Defenses win champs’. We still hear about the ’85 Bears dominating. NFL rules have shifted to favoring offenses more than ever. No contact to QB’s or hitting defenseless receivers over the middle…on and on. Currently there are maybe 3 successful Def. head coaches in the league. Bills, Pats & Seahawks. Whereas Def. head coaches in Denver and Minn. no longer have jobs. Denver just hired an Off. head coach. Not sure how Bears ownership can keep a blind eye to what’s now the trend. Maybe they actually have a plan to bring in a very capable OC that can overcome this. Just a few thoughts but I have my own problems to worry about…whether Aaron remains with the Pack or not.

  15. That’s exactly what i was thinking, but then I thought who else would help a young QB read defenses and what to expect in certain cases.

  16. I love how the media is all concerned about what coaches will bring out the best in Fields. How bout changing ones thinking and realize that it will have to be FIELDS who will bring out the best in Fields. The best QBs have talent and desire to get better. Not sure any coach can teach that.

  17. Frankly I think it’s a good thing. The head coach can then spend more time as a head coach instead of an OC. Get a capable OC and a capable QB coach and let them do their thing. There’s more than enough to work on with the Bears.

  18. The hiring of a new HC is to get the best out of the team, isn’t it? Both sides of the ball. This will include hiring good coaches to coach the players on both sides of the ball!
    So what if a good OC leaves to become a HC elsewhere. That’s life! How many of us have left jobs for greener pastures?

  19. bearaholic1 says:
    That’s exactly what i was thinking, but then I thought who else would help a young QB read defenses and what to expect in certain cases.
    ==

    Offense doesn’t happen in a vacuum. An offensive coordinator can’t design a sytem or call plays capable of consistently defeating an NFL defense unless he first understands the designs and workings of the defense he’s trying to circumvent.
    Coordinators and quarterback coaches don’t merely draw up plays and teach their guys proper footwork or throwing motions. It’s their job to know and understand the defenses they’ll be going up against, and to teach and prepare their QBs how to read and defeat them.

  20. Fields initially played in Georgia. He put up 6TDs against Clemson.

    First year, Team 2 reps. AR12 giving up on routes, probably more so on Nagy’s play calling/contract and not JF1. Good chunk of picks that Fields threw were tips.

    He needs an actual system to work, not failed attempts with Trubisky/et all, nobody could get the system to work. Subpar WR/TE, OL seems to be a bright spot.

    Fields is the future, the franchise QB. Build around him, it’s not hard. This isn’t 13 games at NC.

    OC is going to quit and leave? Let’s worry about the hire and performance first, the QBs coach or an assistant can step up. Continued development is key. Autonomy and pay. “The OC gave Chicago a Top 5 Offense!” Huge accomplishment/challenge.

  21. I don’t think so because this was the OC that is hired can spend more time with Fields than if it were the HC wanting say in how the O runs.

  22. Justin Fields along with Trey Lance in San Francisco and Jordan Love in Green Bay…these head coaches and front office’s become enamored with their pure athleticism,draft them with a 1st round pick and soon realize in the first offseason of practice they are just another dime a dozen shotgun, throw to the first read,college spread offense QB that can’t read a defense to save their life. Must be a depressing realization for fans of these teams.

  23. Fields, or any young QB for that matter, needs good coaching. Doesn’t matter if the good coaching comes from a head coach or an assistant.

  24. Generally speaking, it is always best to hire an offensive HC when you have the task of developing a talented young QB. A defensive HC can always hire a good OC but if you have any success that good OC will get plucked for another job and then you have to start over. If the HC is an offensive guy then you never have to reboot the system.

  25. If you go by this rationale, that a QB needs an offensive minded coach to succeed then wouldn’t it be wiser to hire a great OC or QB coach, rather than put the focus of that on the HC?

    An OC or QB coach can spend the time needed to develop a young QB, a HC has too many other responsibilities.

  26. sharpdressedfan17 says:
    January 28, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    Justin Fields along with Trey Lance in San Francisco and Jordan Love in Green Bay…these head coaches and front office’s become enamored with their pure athleticism,draft them with a 1st round pick and soon realize in the first offseason of practice they are just another dime a dozen shotgun, throw to the first read,college spread offense QB that can’t read a defense to save their life. Must be a depressing realization for fans of these teams.

    ———————-

    For my money, nothing beats the prototype big bodied QB in the mold of Brady, Manning, Rothliesberger. Josh Allen looks to belong in that group too. If you look at the size of the QB’s to win the SB over the years, the lions share of them are 6’4″ or taller. You can’t teach size.

  27. I don’t think an old DC for head-coach is necessarily a bad idea, but I am surprised by the number of folks here that trust the Bear’s authorities to make the right call…

  28. It might help Fields to have a better team around him, especially Oline.

    But there is still a high likelihood he won’t be an effective starting level NFL QB. So just hire a good HC and hope things work out.

  29. Fields had 2 good quarters this year. Yet, since draft night all Bear fans and media have anointed him the chosen one to the lead them to the SB. All the blame falls on Matt Nagy now.

    The way I saw it, he’s a great athlete and has a good arm. Sure he can throw a good deep ball to a wide open receiver. However if he doesn’t learn to read defenses and get rid of the ball quicker, he’ll just be an athletic QB, who can’t read defenses and turns the ball over like crazy.

  30. Should of, would of, could of…….everyone thinks their an expert!

    Who cares! Let Matt and Ryan 2.0 have a chance.

  31. It would probably help to draft a qb who understands concepts, defenses and protections before coming to the NFL. The bears didn’t do that so offensove/defensive coach doesn’t matter.

  32. Well that didn’t go so well with Mitch or Justin having an offensive coach as the head coach. Maybe a guy who oversees the whole team versus just his offense will suit us better. Plenty of examples given on here of defensive coaches having successful qbs on their team. Fields needs developing, but play calling and in game adjustments can fix some of it too.

  33. Bill Belichick ruined Tom Brady’s career. He might have won a super bowl if he would have had an offensive coach

  34. What you saw is what you are getting with Justin Fields. Another OSU bust who can’t read a defense and hold onto the football. Now you may be able to get the Giants to take him off your hands for their 2 1st rd picks. The Bears still have Foles to start at QB. Cause i can see Fields getting Poles and Eberflus fired. But right now there are alot of upset Bear fans who didn’t get who they wanted.

  35. I think in a perfect situation it doesn’t matter which side of the ball the HC has been accustomed to coaching. A really good coordinator succeeds and finds their own HC position, at which point the assistant/qb coach simply moves into that role and so on…I am hoping to see Daboll get his HC opportunity,so Ken Dorsey gets a shot to maintain the same system. This is very much a contributing factor in Dan Quinn’s fall in Atlanta. He could have promoted Matt Lafleur when Kyle Shanahan left, but he instead hired an outsider in Steve Sarkisian and lost continuity of scheme.

  36. @dregonspengler, You not giving enough credit to how much BB coached Brady. It wasn’t just oversite, they had regular meetings throughout each week on how to prepare. You don’t need an offensive coach to get the most out of your QB. This idea that they only know defense is just silly. These man has been in football his whole life, he knows how to play QB too.

  37. Justin Fields is 6’3″, he’s not Russell Wilson.

    Fields is intelligent, there’s a documentary on him (QB1 Season 2). He diagnoses defense on pressers, compared to Trubisky having to review the tape.

    What magical college do QBs need to come from exactly? Cal State (Rodgers who else)? Boston College (Matt Ryan)? University of So Mississippi (Favre who else)? Fields has played in big games. Sugar Bowl was monstrous. There’s 32 starting positions, 130 D1 Schools.

    When multiple QBs say, “The system isn’t working”. Reports of Trubisky having issues, Foles arguing with and throwing shade on pressers, we obviously saw Dalton fail as well. Dalton having Cutler-esque stats at Cinci, flops here.

    Stats on Fields long ball accuracy, grit, intensity, relationship with his family, all make me optimistic. Packer fans telling me Fields was a good pick, what do we do about Love?

    I believe in Fields, not because I have to, but because I do. Multiple professionals say we finally got the pick right, now to work around him. I’d rather take a QB from Ohio State than Utah State.

  38. panelpaneljoke says:
    January 28, 2022 at 12:15 pm
    I love how the media is all concerned about what coaches will bring out the best in Fields. How bout changing ones thinking and realize that it will have to be FIELDS who will bring out the best in Fields. The best QBs have talent and desire to get better. Not sure any coach can teach that.
    —————————————————-

    Then what are the coaches there for, if not to coach and try to make players better? And who says Fields doesn’t have the talent and desire to get better?

    A HC/OC should look at what their QB brings to the table and then build the offense to that QB’s strengths.

  39. Pep Hamilton????? Oh boy, here we go again with the recycled NFL coaches. Nothing says mediocre offense like Pep Hamilton.

    Ebrflus is my kind of head coaching candidate. He’s functional on both sides of the ball. I personally would have gone with Ryan Day to ensure that Fields realizes his potential on the NFL level, but Eberflus earned the position. Bears fans should support it until they dont.

  40. He had terrible coaching a spotty running game a terribly weak OL maybe the worst in the NFL he had WR’s/ TE’s that no other team would have wanted as a group and you clueless Bear fans blame the QB
    i’ll ( Browns ) give you 2-2nd round picks no questions asked .

  41. People act like it’s the HC’s job to sit in the QB room. Eberflus is reportedly trying to hire Pep Hamilton as either QB coach or OC. He just coached the guy who broke the rookie record for TDs in Herbert and helped Davis Mills look better than all of the other rookie QBs this year. Staff is the most important part of being the HC outside of game day management and roster development.

  42. I have never seen a QB stand there dumbfounded and take sacks like Fields does. He did it in college too.

  43. Nagy was so immersed in his system which did not work, but could not adapt. The QB played better when the OC was game planning and calling plays.

  44. 49ersfury,

    You do realize he was Herbert’s coach his rookie year and Davis Mills’ coach this year, don’t you?

  45. A really good defensive coach would be able to spot the weaknesses in a quarterback’s game and focus on improving that, whereas lately offensive coaches are too enamoured with their ‘systems’ rather than catering to the actual abilities of their quarterback. They’d also be more likely to spot the innovative OC’s that give them the most trouble.
    The key offensive hire for Fields would be the position coach, not the head coach who just wouldn’t be able to spend the necessary amount of time on the player development of one young player.

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