There's More to Better Bears Passing Game than the QBs
An aspect to improving the Bears' passing game and offense exists beyond the Mitchell Trubisky quarterback battle with Nick Foles.
Schematic problems plagued the Bears last year, as well.
It was apparent last year from the way coach Matt Nagy talked about it, to when they fired offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich before hiring Bill Lazor, and now after running back Tarik Cohen spoke about it this week during his teleconference with Chicago media.
"I feel like at times we just made things too hard on ourselves and we didn't have people guessing," Cohen said. 'I feel like we were kinda just showing our cards a little bit.
"I feel like this year, with a new OC, coach Lazor—already seeing the things he has planned for us. It's going to be hard to tell who's getting the ball and when or how they're getting the ball, too."
Last year Nagy spoke of level 202 in the offense. They aren't necessarily taking the offense back to the 100 level but are altering what they've done to make intention less obvious.
Where the Bears Offense Ranked
The lack of a legitimate passing game has been a problem back before Nagy came to Chicago. In the last five years they've finished 23rd or worse in scoring four times and 21st or worse in yardage four times. The one time they didn't finish so low in both categories was in 2018 when 42 of their points came from the defense and they had 419 yards rushing on mostly scrambles from Trubisky.
The passing game has only been higher than 21st only once in that period, as well, and it was back when Jay Cutler was quarterback in 2016.
What they specifically are doing to fix these system problems will be better left to secrecy until the season begins.
At this point, though, Nagy is satisfied Lazor, new quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and offensive line coach Juan Castillo have been getting across the right messages and relaying changes properly even if it is virtually via the internet and not on the field.
The biggest real key is whether they are able to do it with the quarterbacks.
"As far as in the meetings when they're talking they have some really good questions," Nagy said. "I'd say a lot of it right now is between coach Lazor and coach Flip (DeFilippo) going in there and just talking through what we want to do schematically and where we're at. It's them listening to us right now in the quarterback room.
"There's a lot more talking and interaction from like the wide receiver or DB room but in the quarterback room there's a little more teaching going on with those coaches. From when I'm in there—and I'm not in there all the time because I want to give those guys their space—but so when I'm in there you just see the note-taking, you see good questions that are being asked and then you see a communication too."
DeFilippo's impact might be felt more when they're actually on the field and he is working on quarterbacks and their timing within the offense. Schematically, Lazor's effect is probably more apparent at this time.
"But yeah, coach DiFilippo and coach Lazor have made a great impression on me so far," Trubisky said. "I think they're bringing new excitement and details to this offense that are really going to help us and i think they're going to hold us to a whole new standard that can help this offense perform a lot better."