In between telling different fan bases lately how he likes their city as a possible future home, Allen Robinson revealed a real truth about the 2020 Bears.
It might have said more about coach Matt Nagy and the job he and the coaching staff did than the team's management and ownership acknowledged after last season.
The Bears last year went back and forth between Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles and then Trubisky again at quarterback. The coaching staff discovered one type of offensive system worked better with one quarterback but not the other. So they had to go through something very few NFL teams do or even attempt—essentially a change of offensive schemes at midseason.
"For us, it's like we ran two different schemes," Robinson said, in a Pro Football Focus podcast with Cris Collinsworth. "We had, like, two different people calling the plays.
"We were trying to learn and adjust to two different people on the fly."
It was far more complicated than this and taxed some of the younger players the most.
"Nick, when he gets to the line, he likes to get you into the right play into the right looks and things like that," Robinson told Collinsworth. "He's very gung-ho on checks and adjustments at the line of scrimmage. You know? So for a guy that's somethhing that guys had to get used to, you know? Even some of the young guys being in their playbooks non-stop because Nick, if he sees something, he's gonna get to, you know, a block-block flat, you know, if he sees a possible nickel blitz or something like that, or he might get to a screen.
"So it's like the whole playbook is open, you know, at any point in time."
With Trubisky, the Bears changed the offense to run more bootleg action or rollouts with and the running game being blocked using an outside zone blocking scheme rather than the inside zone they had used. Trubisky was the main reason.
"We want to use his athleticism some more, you know?," Robinson said. "So some of the different concepts that we bring into and and kind of evolve as an offense are a little different."
Bill Lazor calling plays instead of Matt Nagy made a difference.
"The last year we had a new offensive coordinator, as well," Robinson said. "As we're coming into training camp we're kind of learning his system, you know? And then once Nick came in (Week 3) you know we're kind of going back to a different kind of system, more of a West Coast style. So it was it was a lot last year."
Of course, being in a contract standoff, Robinson spun it as just one more obstacle he had to overcome.
While it was difficult for any individual player, consider then how difficult it was for Nagy and the staff to come up with the right style of attack and personnel to deploy. This was the real difficult part of it.
It was almost enough to make you think ownership behaved rather harshly by giving Ryan Pace and Nagy what essentially was an ultimatum—win a playoff game or else.
Nagy received plenty of criticism in 2019 for not adapting his offense to the talent available.
Too few gave him credit for doing exactly that in 2020 beyond the bending point, and also giving up play calling in the process during the constraints of a pandemic year.