Maybe Bill Lazor can help the Bears, but it's still Matt Nagy's offense to fix


The Bears have their next offensive coordinator, and his name is Bill Lazor. Really! It wasn’t Pat Shurmur, who’s with Vic Fangio in Denver now, or Mike Kafka, who was maybe a “longshot” candidate the way Dave Ragone was a “longshot” candidate in Tennessee last year. They hired Bill Lazor, who wasn’t coaching in the NFL last year but has an impressive resume. He’s coached under Joe Gibbs, Mike Holmgren, and Marvin Lewis; the list of QBs he’s worked with is somewhat less illustrious. 

If nothing else, it’s notable that the Bears hired someone with no connection to Nagy, especially after the rumored candidates all had a history with the head coach – not to mention the fact that their new offensive line and tight end coaches do too. In his first gig as a QB coach, Lazor was on a Washington team that benched 36-year old Mark Brunell after nine games in favor of Jason Campbell, their first round pick from the season before. He coached Charlie Frye, Matt Hasselbeck, and Seneca Wallace in Seattle during his time there in 2008-2009. Things didn’t go well. 

Then in 2013, Lazor was the QB coach in Philadelphia when Nick Foles threw for over 2,000 yards with 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 10 games, setting career-bests in basically every category. He went to Miami next, only to see Dolphins’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick set a career-high in touchdowns (27) and have the second-best season, in terms of passing yards  (4045), of his career. Because being an assistant coach in the NFL is hell, Lazor was fired after that season, but landed in Cincinnati one year later. There, he coached Andy Dalton before becoming offensive coordinator, eventually being let go when Marvin Lewis stepped down in January of 2019. (And you’ll be SHOCKED to learn that at least two of those three QBs have already been connected to the Bears.)  

There’s more value in looking at Lazor’s work with quarterbacks than there is at his overall resume because he’s not coming to Chicago to fix the offense. It’s Matt Nagy’s brainchild, he’s calling the plays, etc. When George McCaskey was asked to assess what went wrong with the 2019 season, he rightfully pointed at several different factors – it just so happened that none of them involved the head coach (or GM). 

The consensus opinion on Lazor seems to be that he’s a smart guy who specializes in the kind of West Coast, RPO-ish offense that the Bears would run in their wildest dreams.

Lazor's offenses have never had a particularly effective run game, which is a fair cause for concern. Still, Mark Helfrich’s gone, and Chase Daniel’s probably not coming back either. Even if Trubisky wins the job next camp, it's not unlikely that QB2, at some point in Bourbonnais, was trying to be QB1 – as opposed to Chase Daniel, a lifelong backup who understood his role on the team. The Bears' brass have given every indication that they’re all-in on Nagy and still have faith in Trubisky, so it shouldn't be surprising when their hires reflect that. Nagy gets a guy with good QB success without the real threat of having his play-calling usurped, and Trubisky gets a new man in his corner during a critical offseason. Maybe it’s not the inspiring hire, but given all the facts, it’s not a surprising one either.

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