Chicago Bears hire Mark Helfrich as offensive coordinator

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears officially hired a head coach on Tuesday, and on Thursday the offensive coordinator was named.

The Chicago Bears moved relatively quickly to hire a new head coach, with former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy officially announced on Tuesday. His coaching staff seems likely to take shape fairly quickly, and on Thursday morning ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported former Oregon head coach Mike Helfrich is coming aboard as offensive coordinator.

Helfrich spent this past season as a college football analyst for Fox. Before that he succeeded Chip Kelly as head coach at Oregon, with a 37-16 record over four seasons. He was also Kelly’s offensive coordinator for 2009-2012, with experience before that as a quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator at Boise State (1998-2000), Arizona State (2001-2005) and Colorado (2006-2008).

Nagy will call offensive plays as Bears’ head coach, but Helfrich will surely have a key role in game planning and working with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Helfrich’s work developing Marcus Mariota into a Heisman Trophy winner at Oregon seems to make him a good fit for what Trubisky brings as a dual threat.

Helfrich hasn’t worked in the NFL before. But he has had more advanced, pro-style elements in the offenses he has had his fingerprints on in the past.

The key to the future for the Bears is Trubisky’s development. So the move to a young, offensive-minded head coach as a direct opposite to John Fox was obvious with the hiring of Nagy, and he may have laid out how he wanted Helfrich as his offensive coordinator during his interview.

The Bears’ offense can’t get a whole lot worse than it was this season, finishing 29th in scoring (16.5 points per game) and dead last in passing (175.7 yards per game). A fresh perspective like Helfrich’s, rooted in the college game, can only help turn things around.


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