Shane Waldron

What Bears hiring Shane Waldron means for Justin Fields, QB decision

The Bears hired Shane Waldron not to work with one specific quarterback, but because he can work with whomever Ryan Poles eventually lands on

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The Bears have reportedly hired Shane Waldron as their new offensive coordinator on Monday morning. Here’s a look at how the Seattle Seahawks offense faired under Waldron

In the end, the Bears' search for a new offensive coordinator led them to a man who checks all the boxes that coach Matt Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles laid out after firing Luke Getsy.

The Bears are finalizing a contract to make Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron their next OC, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago on Monday morning.

In Waldron, the Bears get an experienced play-caller who comes from the Shanahan tree, and has experience working with a variety of different quarterbacks, from Jared Goff to Geno Smith.

Waldron, 44, will now become integral to the franchise-defining quarterback decision that awaits Poles and the Bears this offseason.

During his year-end press conference, Poles applauded Justin Fields' growth while noting the rare opportunity the Bears have in owning the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft via the Carolina Panthers. Eberflus and Poles said that part of their interview process would be to ask each candidate how they'd design an offense around quarterbacks with different skill sets.

Waldron will now be tasked with either furthering Fields's development or getting Caleb Williams' NFL career off on the right foot.

Waldron has worked under Bill Belichick, Sean McVay, and Pete Carroll. Those around the league view Waldron as a "smart," "innovative," and "versatile" coach who can adapt his offense to fit the strengths of his personnel.

The Bears promised a wide-ranging search for their next offensive coordinator but didn't hire someone who is only a fit with one option. They interviewed run-game savant Greg Roman, who is a clear fit with Fields. They met with USC senior offensive analyst Kliff Kingsbury, who coached Williams this past season. Neither got the gig.

In hiring Waldron, the Bears didn't tip their hand.

Waldron's offensive roots come from the Shanahan a tree, a scheme created by famed head coach Mike Shanahan that has been adapted and molded by Kyle Shanahan, McVay, Mike McDaniel, and others.

The Waldron hire doesn't hint at the Bears' big plan moving forward.

You can say that Fields worked in a similar system last season under Luke Getsy, but Getsy's offense wasn't a pure Shanahan tree attack. It had RPO influences from his time in college and never delivered on what Eberflus hoped it would be when he hired him away from the Green Bay Packers. Fields' time in Getsy's offense doesn't wasn't a factor in the decision to hire Waldron.

The same can be said of Williams' current work with coach Rich Scangarello, whom he met at QB Collective. The QB Collective is a pro-style invitational quarterback camp for elite high school prospects. It's run by Mike Shanahan and lists Kyle Shanahan, McVay, McDaniel, Matt LaFleur, Waldron, Scangarello, and others as coaches.

But Fields also worked with the QB Collective while he was in high school, so Williams doesn't really have a leg up there.

Poles said he would likely take the quarterback decision down to the wire. He already started working on Williams by getting to pick Kingsbury's brain under the guise of a job interview. The scouting never stops.

But in the end, the Bears' picked the best man for the job in Waldron, a guy who was only available because Pete Carroll stepped down as Seahawks head coach.

During his coaching career, Waldron has worked with tight ends, wide receivers, the offensive line, and quarterbacks. He knows how to teach his scheme to each position group and will arrive in Chicago with massive responsibility: Continue to mold Fields into a top-tier starting quarterback or develop Williams into the franchise quarterback the Bears have spent three-plus decades searching for.

Waldron wasn't hired with a quarterback in mind, but he'll undoubtedly play an important role in evaluating the options and the monumental decision that follows.

In choosing the Bears over the New Orleans Saints and other potential landing spots, Waldron decided to become the central figure in this regime's attempt to transform the Bears from an NFL Greek tragedy into a perennial contender with an answer at under center.

The Bears didn't hire Waldron because he'd be a good fit with Fields or the best teacher for Williams. They hired him because his reputation says he'll succeed at going down whatever road they choose.

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