Bears trying to revamp offense, despite stay-home orders
The biggest moves of the Bears' offseason may not be player-related.
Matt Nagy engineered a major overhaul of the offensive coaching staff, hiring coordinator Bill Lazor, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, offensive line coach Juan Castillo, and tight ends coach Clancy Barones, while shifting Dave Ragone from quarterbacks coach to pass game coordinator.
The new coaches were hired in January, so they've had a chance to get settled in. But with Halas Hall closed since March due to the coronavirus, there hasn't been much chance for everyone to get together and teach the new offense, other than Zoom calls.
"Yeah, they've talked over Zoom, but to have those one-on-one personal connections that you build, that's probably the biggest drawback to everything that went on," Nagy said this week. "So we've got to recover from that.
"We have to make sure when we do get back together, we make up for it. We have to be very organized. We can't have any wasted motion. Our meetings need to be crisp. We need to have a great action plan with that."
DeFilippo might be the most intriguing new hire. He's spent three seasons as an offensive coordinator -- for Jacksonville last fall, for Minnesota in 2018 and Cleveland in 2015. In between, he was quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia from 2016-17, which means DeFilippo worked with new Bears QB Nick Foles during the Eagles' Super Bowl-winning season. He was also with Foles last year in Jacksonville.
None of DeFilippo's stints as offensive coordinator went particularly well, although he coaxed a decent performance from Jaguars rookie Gardner Minshew after Foles suffered a broken clavicle in the season opener.
DeFilippo interviewed for the Bears head coaching job in 2018 and now he'll be tasked with the job of trying to bring out the best in fourth-year QB Mitch Trubisky.
"I think coach DeFilippo has done a great job developing quarterbacks and helping them with all the different drills that he's shown me this offseason so far," Trubisky said. "It's been impactful on the Zoom meetings, but I think we can take it a whole new level once we get on the field obviously with him.
"I'm just excited to work with him and get on the field so we can really get hands on and he can push me in different ways this upcoming year. Coach DeFilippo and coach Lazor have made a great impression on me so far. I think they're bringing new excitement and details to this offense."
Last season, the Bears offense ranked 29th in points, 29th in total yards and tied for 30th in yards per play. They fired offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, who also held the job in 2018 when the Bears finished 21st in total offense.
Lazor, 48, has been offensive coordinator for Cincinnati and Miami, two seasons each; and worked as quarterbacks coach in Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington and Buffalo. He's also held college jobs at Virginia and Penn State. Lazor's best success was finishing 14th in total offense with the Dolphins in 2014. That team finished 8-8 with Ryan Tannehill at QB.
Nagy, Lazor and DeFilippo all played quarterback at the FCS level -- Nagy at Delaware, Lazor at Cornell and DeFilippo at James Madison.
Trubisky talked about having an offseason goal of getting better at reading coverages. His physical tools seem fine.
"I think just going back and watching every single snap from the last two seasons in this offense and seeing the mistakes and what coverage it actually was versus what I was seeing on the field, and where coach Nagy thought the ball should have went and where it actually went," Trubisky said.
"He (Nagy) challenged me in that and I fully accepted it as well as knowing the offense really, really well."