Shane Waldron

New Bears OC Shane Waldron shares some of the keys to his playcalling success

Shane Waldron and Geno Smith orchestrated a league-high five fourth quarter game-winning drives last year. Drew Lock had another working as the backup QB.

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When the Bears hired Shane Waldron to take over as the team’s offensive coordinator, one of the key factors that differentiated him from outgoing OC Luke Getsy was his experience as a playcaller. Waldron not only schemed up the plays and put together call sheets for the Seahawks, he was the man on the headset calling the plays in the moment.

That wasn’t the case for Getsy who was behind both head coach/play caller Matt LaFleur and OC Nathaniel Hackett in the Packers pecking order.

On Thursday, Waldron explained how he believes that experience will help him to call plays for the Bears.

“I think you know as a playcaller, or anything you're doing the first time, you know, are you ready for it? You don't know until you do it,” Waldron said. “Then once you've done it, been exposed to it, I think it's all about reps. It's no different for a player. You know, the more reps you accumulate, the more situations that are put in front of you, the more and more natural it becomes to react with a positive decision in those scenarios right there. And so for me I'll look back at this past season and take away the amount of game-winning drives we were able to accomplish, and thinking about it from the calmness of the playcaller in those scenarios… being able to understand those situations and react in those split seconds and making the best decisions for the team as many times as you can throughout the course of the game.”

Seahawks QB Geno Smith was able to take Waldron’s late-game play calling and turn it into five fourth quarter game-winning drives in 2023. That led the NFL. Waldron managed another fourth quarter GWD with Drew Lock at the helm to make it six on the season.

It’s a football cliché we hear over and over, but one of the keys that Waldron cited for his success was focusing on the game one play at a time.

“It’s the NFL, everybody is good,” Waldron said. “There’s defenses that are going to be great every single week, and they might make a play here and there.”

Waldron recognizes that he needs to quickly put bad playcalls behind, just like a player needs to reset on the field after a bad snap.

“That next play might be the best one of the game right there. Don’t let the previous play call impact the next play call from an emotional standpoint. So the more and more reps you get at something, the more and more you do it, the more and more comfortable I feel like I’ve become in those scenarios.”

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