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Evaluating Potential Bears Offensive Coordinator Candidates

Whether the Bears decide to stick with Justin Fields or draft Caleb Williams, one thing is clear: The Bears’ offense needs to show tangible improvement in 2024. The jobs of Head Coach Matt Eberflus and GM Ryan Poles depend on it. With the recent firing of Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy, the first thing Chicago needs to do is find Getsy’s replacement. The new OC, first and foremost needs to build the offense around whoever the quarterback is and be able to make in-game adjustments based on what opposing defenses are throwing their way. Here are a few candidates who I believe the Bears should consider.


Shane Waldron

Seahawks Offensive Coordinator

The Bears are already confirmed to be considering Shane Waldron, and with good reason. Just look at the work he did with Geno Smith. Waldron transformed Smith from a career backup to a 2022 Pro Bowl QB who led the league in completion percentage. The QB blueprint that Waldron used to revive Smith, would no doubt be used to develop either Caleb Williams or Justin Fields. Adaptability has also been a key for Waldron. He has experience working with both pocket passers, like Jared Goff with the Rams and running QB Russell Wilson. The game that stands out is the Monday Night Football clash against the Eagles when under Waldron, Drew Lock led Seattle to a comeback victory.

Waldron has learned from some of football’s best coaches. He got his NFL start as an assistant under Bill Belichick where he, among other things, helped build offensive game plans for 2 Super Bowl-winning teams. More recently, he worked with the aforementioned Jared Goff with the Rams under Sean McVay. And most recently, of course, ran the offense under Pete Carroll. While Seattle’s offense did slightly regress in 2023, Waldron is worth giving a hard look to, due to his experience and adaptability.

Greg Olson

Seahawks Quarterbacks Coach

The Bears are impressed with Seattle’s offense because they are reportedly interviewing their quarterbacks coach, Greg Olson. Olson, not to be confused with the former Bears tight end and current Fox broadcaster, has been all over the league. He even has already coached the Quarterbacks in Chicago in 2003. Olson has plenty of experience coordinating offenses, doing so for five separate franchises in 16 different seasons. As long as Olson’s resumé is, Olson has coached many successful quarterbacks. The best quarterback Olson ever coached was Drew Brees, when he was the quarterbacks coach during all four years Brees was at Purdue.

Other quarterbacks that have learned from Olson include Marc Burger, Josh Freeman, Derek Carr, Jared Goff, and of course most recently, Geno Smith during the best of their careers. At multiple stops, Olson has coordinated top 10 offenses. However, his most recent offensive coordinator job came from 2018-2021 with the Raiders, where the results were mixed. Olson’s best days calling plays came over a decade ago, and NFL offenses have changed a lot since then. His recent work with Geno Smith proves he can still coach, but given how desperately the Bears need to succeed offensively, he might be too much of a risk for Poles and Eberflus. Perhaps he’d be better served as a quarterback coach under someone like Waldron, like how the pair was set up in Seattle.

Klint Kubiak

49ers Passing Game Coordinator

Another name the Bears plan to talk to is Klint Kubiak. For Kubiak, the lineage is certainly there. Klint’s father Gary was a head coach for a decade in the NFL, winning Super Bowl 50 for the Broncos. Kubiak is also part of the respected Shanahan coaching tree, which has produced coaches like Mike McDaniel, Matt LaFleur, and Bobby Slowik. As for the work of Klint Kubiak specifically, look at this year’s 49ers squad. Kubiak has played a huge role in developing Brock Purdy into an MVP-caliber quarterback by feeding playmakers Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk, all of whom had 60+ reception seasons.

Kubiak does have some play-calling experience, with mixed results. As offensive coordinator for the 2021 Vikings, Minnesota finished in the top half of the league in most offensive categories. Kubiak then went on to Denver as QB Coach with one of the most disappointing offenses in recent memory in 2022. However, Kubiak did improve the offense when he took over play-calling duties in Week 11. With Kubiak calling plays, the Broncos boasted their 4 highest-scoring efforts of the season. With his decent track record in Minnesota and Denver, as well as learning under Kyle Shanahan for a year, Kubiak would be an interesting choice to run the Bears offense in 2024.

Eric Bieniemy

Commanders Offensive Coordinator

Eric Bieniemy took a risk when he moved from Kansas City to Washington. His first solo run as an offensive play caller was, at best, a mixed bag. Not only was Ron Rivera fired, putting Bieniemy’s job in limbo, but the Commanders finished near the bottom of the league in most offensive categories, most notably points (25th) and yards (T-24th). However, Bieniemy would have more to work with in Chicago. DJ Moore would be the best wide receiver Bieniemy’s worked with since Tyreek Hill. And at the most important position in sports, either Williams or Fields would be an upgrade over Sam Howell. Speaking of Howell, although he threw more interceptions than anyone else this year, he also passed for 3,946 yards. That mark would’ve set a single-season record in Chicago.

Bieniemy also holds a connection to Bears GM Ryan Poles, both being with the Chiefs from 2013-2021. While Poles’ time in Kansas City landed him a GM role, Bieniemy couldn’t escape Andy Reid’s shadow. Could Chicago be the place where Bieniemy can build his own offense, and revitalize his career?

Frank Reich

Former Panthers Head Coach

If we include Eric Bieniemy for his connection to Ryan Poles, it’s only fair that we discuss Frank Reich for his connection to Matt Eberflus. Eberflus was Reich’s defensive coordinator in Indianapolis from 2018-2021. Despite Reich’s recent failure to develop Bryce Young in Carolina, the pair obviously respects each other. That short tenure is a huge red flag, especially if the Bears decide to give Reich another rookie quarterback to work with. However, he got to Indianapolis and then Carolina through his work with the in Philadelphia, including winning Super Bowl LII.

That tenure also included the last time Reich worked with the same starting quarterback in consecutive years. Although working with mostly pocket passers the sheer number of signal callers Reich has worked with speaks to his adaptability. At the same time though, his offenses never achieved the same levels in Indianapolis as in Philadelphia. Due to his past, particularly in Carolina, I don’t think Reich would be the most popular choice among Bears fans. But due to his connection with Eberflus, it is certainly a possibility worth considering.

Greg Roman

Former Ravens Offensive Coordinator

If the Bears decide to stick with Justin Fields, Roman would be an obvious candidate. At three separate stops, Roman had success with mobile quarterbacks. Starting with his time as San Francisco’s offensive coordinator, Roman coached Colin Kaepernick, who started the 2012 season as a backup to a Super Bowl appearance. Not only was Kaepernick electric with his legs, but he also led the league in adjusted yards per attempt that year, proving an ability to implement a strong passing game into his offenses as well. Roman then went to Buffalo, where he coached Tyrod Taylor to his two best seasons as a pro, including a 2015 Pro Bowl appearance.

Most notably, and recently Roman coordinated the offense for the Lamar Jackson-led-Ravens for 4 seasons. This includes his 2019 MVP season when he threw for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns while rushing for 1,206 yards. The problem is, Jackson never had close to as good of a season in the next three years he spent under Roman. In fact, Jackson has had his best season since that 2019 campaign this year, without Roman. If Fields stays in Chicago, Roman’s track record with mobile quarterbacks seems like the perfect fit. However, it’s unclear whether Greg Roman is capable of building an offense that not only compliments Fields’ strengths but adapts to the efforts of defenses to contain him.

Jerrod Johnson

Texans Quarterback Coach

Jerrod Johnson is the youngest and least experienced coach on this list. But his quarterback track record, while short, cannot be ignored. Johnson spent time in San Francisco, Indianapolis, and Minnesota before coming to the Texans in 2023 to coach CJ Stroud. From Week 1 in the NFL, Stroud looked like a seasoned pro, setting a record for the most passing attempts without an interception to start an NFL career. Stroud finished the year with 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions, numbers that any Bears fan would die to have from their quarterback.

It would definitely be a risk to hire Johnson, based on his lack of experience calling plays. However, with how starved for a quarterback the Bears have been, even the chance to replicate the success of CJ Stroud’s rookie season is very appealing, especially if the Bears choose to draft Caleb Williams.

Liam Coen

University of Kentucky Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach

One more name the Bears are interviewing is Liam Coen. Coen is another young coach, having spent much of his career in the college ranks, but also spent four years as an assistant under Sean McVay with the Rams. Coen spent 2018-2019 as an assistant wide receivers, then 2020 as assistant quarterbacks coach in Los Angeles. He then moved on to Kentucky, where he not only helped Will Levis to his best collegiate season in 2021 but dramatically improved the Wildcats’ offense. In just a year, Kentucky’s points per game improved from 21.8 to 32.3.

Coen then came back to the Rams to be their offensive coordinator. While Sean McVay called their plays, it is clear that Coen had earned the trust of one of the best offensive minds in football. Meanwhile, Kentucky’s offense plummeted back to 20.4 points per game in 2022 without Coen. Most recently, Coen returned to Lexington in 2023 where, again the Wildcats’ offensive numbers improved significantly. Liam Coen’s success as Kentucky’s offensive coordinator has been obvious, but he has still never called plays at the NFL level. Because of this, hiring the McVay disciple would be a risk, but one that may pay off big time.

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