By Tim Baffoe–
(CBS) Six offensive coordinators in eight years.
It’s easy mock or use as a point of frustration. Hell, so is Jay Cutler himself.
And it’s a safe bet that Chicago Bears fans who would cite former offensive coordinator Adam Gase’s departure for the Miami Dolphins’ head coaching gig as a faux useful statistic in their silly arsenal for never accepting Cutler into their nacho-stained bosom are much the same people who pondered whether the Bears could fire coach John Fox after one season and just promote Gase. This column isn’t for them.
Instead, it’s for you, the not-Superfan caricature who knew when Gase was hired that he wasn’t long for Chicago. It’s for you who isn’t paid obscene amounts of money to be a cartoon of perpetually out-of-town stupid and the standard-bearer of the toxic sludge that is American rhetoric.
On another note: so let me get this straight. Adam Case is the new HC in Miami b/c of the job he did with Peyton Manning (& Cutler)? The...
On another note: so let me get this straight. Adam Case is the new HC in Miami b/c of the job he did with Peyton Manning (& Cutler)? The...— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) January 9, 2016
It’s for you, who knows that Cutler’s only factoring into that was that he played well and thus made Gase a more attractive hire to another team. And you, who, despite otherwise reasonableness, still has that prick of worry in the back of your mind as to how a new offensive coordinator can carry over from 2015 to 2016 the strides made away from Marc Trestman’s science experiment that burned down the grade school.
While such a bother is understandable, signs point to it being something to look back on a year from now and to smile at. The Bears’ promotion of Dowell Loggains from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator Monday is the no-duh choice and the one with the best chance of a seamless continuation of Cutler success in the new system.
It’s a promotion in title, but Loggains has already worked with Cutler and contributed significantly to 2015 position play in which a 6-10 record couldn’t be blamed on the quarterback. This isn’t Cutler having to get used to a new coach. It’s not “How will the abrasive Jay learn to play nice with the new guy?” None of that exists this time around.
The offense also isn’t changing. And why should it? Cutler – in whom general manager Ryan Pace expressed “extreme confidence” last week — had his best year as a Bear within it. He had his best passer rating of his career, tied his most yards gained per attempt. He had both his fewest interceptions thrown and best interception percentage in any season in which he started at least 11 games.
And Cutler did so with a patchwork receiving corps of guys who didn’t know their own names, let alone did the rest of us watching them. Next season presumably brings three oft- or entirely absent weapons in Kevin White to complement the likely franchise-tagged Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal, plus whomever else is added in the offseason.
And if continuity is key, the Bears then didn’t have to go outside the building. Noted 670TheScore.com’s Bears reporter Chris Emma:
The Bears never considered going any direction but forward. They never bothered to interview (Ken) Whisenhunt, nor did Fox wait to see if (Jim Bob) Cooter would become available from the Lions. Loggains wasn’t considered a Plan B by any means — he was the top priority. Finding experience wasn’t nearly as important as keeping cohesiveness.
In his short time here, Fox has at least earned the benefit of the doubt in the hiring of subordinates. Gase was exactly as advertised, and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio equally made chicken salad from a chicken-bleep roster of nomads and movie extras.
“Dowell played a critical role on our offense last year,” Fox said in a statement. “He’s an excellent coach with experience as a play-caller and a broad knowledge of offensive football. He has earned the respect of our players because they know he can help them get better.
“As I mentioned at the end of the season, our systems are in place. We will always look to evolve because the NFL is fluid and adapting is key to good coaching. Dowell will help us build on what we started as we head into the 2016 season.”
What was started was progress. It was undoing embarrassment in years prior and showing stability and professionalism in football operations. It was an offense that didn’t make you cup your hand over your mouth as your cursing devolved from passionate to monotone by 2014’s end. Loggains was already part of that progress, and if it isn’t broke, why fix it?
And then why now worry?
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimBaffoe. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.