Bears Hire Bill Lazor as Offensive Coordinator

Gene Chamberlain

In a surprise hire, former Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has agreed to become offensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears.

The surprise in Lazor's hiring came from the fact he is not a person from the Andy Reid coaching tree. The closest connection he had was a year in Seattle coaching under Mike Holmgren, who had been Reid's boss at one time. 

Lazor was with the Philadelphia Eagles briefly, but it was after the Reid regime was fired. He was quarterbacks coach one season for Chip Kelly's first Eagles team.

Lazor then moved on to be offensive coordinator for two years with the Miami Dolphins under former coach Joe Philbin and then was offensive coordinator two years for the Cincinnati Bengals. He served as a volunteer coach at Penn State this past season.

Still to be announced is whether Lazor will take on play-calling duties, but it is expected those will remain with Nagy.

Lazor doesn't have a great resume of successful offenses as a coordinator.

The Bengals were the worst team in the league in 2017 on offense and only once in his four years as an offensive coordinator did a Lazor offense finish higher than 26th. The Dolphins were 14th in 2014, his first year as a coordinator.

The Bengals finished 31st in rushing in 2017 when Lazor was in charge of the attack, and they only year they finished higher than 21st in rushing was in 2014 when the Dolphins were 12th.

Lazor's NFL career started in 2003 as a quality control coach with the Falcons. He was a quarterbacks coach in Washington four years and Seahawks quarterbacks coach in 2008 under Mike Holmgren and 2009 under Jim Mora.

With the Bengals, Lazor has worked closely with quarterback Andy Dalton. 

Cincinnati signs Dalton to a new deal, he will become an unrestricted free agent March 18. The Bears are in the market. Whether the dots get connected remains to be seen.

Reports first surfaced of the team's interest in Lazor during the day Monday when the Chicago Tribune reported he was a coach of interest to Bears coach Matt Nagy. Other reports on Sunday had said the Bears had been interested in hiring Pat Shurmur but the Denver Broncos won that tug of war for an assistant among three or four other interested teams

It had been thought that Chiefs quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka would be considered but the report in the Tribune report said he had not been under consideration.

The hiring of Lazor means all three offensive coaching vacancies have been filled. Besides firing offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, the Bears also had fired tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride and offensive line coach Harry Hiestand. They replaced Hiestand with Juan Castillo and Gilbride's replacement was Clancy Barone. 

Still unfilled is the position of special teams assistant below coordinator Chris Tabor. Brock Olivo was fired from that spot at season's end.

Twitter@BearsOnMaven

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Gene Chamberlain