I’ll admit that I haven’t been the “greatest Bears fan” in recent years. I have always loved the Chicago Bears and I will until the day I die, however living in Arkansas and watching a team from Chicago isn’t easy.
There are many hoops to jump through just to watch the game and then you have to ask yourself if it’s all worth it. In previous years, it really wasn’t.
2016 was exciting. We got to see the emergence of Jordan Howard and Leonard Floyd, but it was frustrating to watch Jay Cutler make predictable errors week after week.
I was optimistic about 2015 before the season started because it was the first season with John Fox as coach. The hope quickly vanished as I realized Matt Forte’s finale in Chicago would not be what I envisioned.
I may have pronounced the Bears dead after the Sunday Night Football matchup against the Packers in 2014, but I was optimistic about that season too because of the success Forte, Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett and Alshon Jeffery had the previous year.
The regression blindsided me.
I wasn’t too disappointed by the Bears in 2013, although coming so close to making the playoffs stung. Looking back on it, I would take that over the heartbreak and frustrations that would be coming in the future.
It was even hard last season (2017) for me to get fully behind this team and make an effort to watch every game; especially when Mike Glennon was at quarterback. After another embarrassing loss to the Packers on national television in Week 4, I told everyone that I wouldn’t watch the Bears again until either John Fox or Dowell Loggains was fired, or until Chicago made Mitch Trubisky quarterback.
Thankfully they decided to bench Glennon after that game so I was able to continue watching, but it was still frustrating due to the predictable play calling. I rode out the rest of the season because I knew that Fox was gone after this year and hoped that Loggains would be joining him.
Once that was officially announced I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders.
I immediately switched to “GM Mode” to see who would be responsible for bringing life back into the Bears.
I couldn’t be happier that Matt Nagy, Mark Helfrich, Harry Hiestand, Charles London and Chris Tabor are the guys chosen to take the reigns.
Nagy is an offensive guru that Andy Reid considers the greatest assistant coach he’s ever had. He will create a much more balanced and unpredictable attack that will give Trubisky the opportunity to excel.
Helfrich helped groom Marcus Mariota and played a key role in Oregon becoming a perennial offensive force. While Nagy has stated that he will be calling the plays next year, Helfrich can help with the development of Trubisky while opening up a new realm of plays to run out of the spread, which is very similar to what Trubisky did at North Carolina.
Hiestand and London were both already offensive line and running back coaches in Chicago. London was here from 2007-2009 and is returning after spending time with Bill O’Brien, who’s an offensive master in his own right.
Hiestand was here when the Bears won the NFC championship in 2006 and Olin Kreutz added that “he’s the best in the business” this past week. So … that works for me.
Tabor is a bit of an unknown due to the fact that I haven’t paid close attention to Cleveland’s special teams in recent years, but the fact that he was there through five general managers and four head coaches has to be a positive sign; he was the one piece that Cleveland didn’t want to leave.
Lastly, holding onto Vic Fangio is enormous for the Bears.
He has coached the defense to be a consistent force despite injuries and minimal support from the offense. I was simply elated to hear he wasn’t going to the Packers. Fangio staying in Chicago might be the second most important thing to happen this offseason behind Nagy.
Obviously coaching can only take teams so far.
However, I am as invested in the 2018 Bears as I possibly could be. I am excited to see the development of key players like Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Adam Shaheen and Eddie Jackson next season. Now that they have the right coaches to guide them, my expectations have been raised to a new level as I anticipate a decent amount of development in a short amount of time.
There are still many pieces left to fill through free agency and the draft, and the aggressive nature that has taken over Halas Hall is foreign to Bears fans everywhere. But you know what? I’m all for it.
If Chicago is even half as aggressive in free agency and the draft as it was with hiring coaches, the holes on the roster will be filled and I won’t have to wonder season after season if the Bears are worth watching.
Those dark days are right where they belong … in the past.