By Chris Emma–
(670 The Score) New Bears coach Matt Nagy hinted during his introduction Tuesday that his coaching staff would be unique.
“What you don’t want is a staff full of the same people,” Nagy said.
It wasn’t lip service. That much was certain Friday as the Bears announced three staff hires: offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, special teams coordinator Chris Tabor and running backs coach Charles London.
In Helfrich, Nagy has hired an offensive coordinator whose best work comes with a system different from his own. Oregon’s offensive coordinator from 2009-’12, Helfrich first oversaw the Chip Kelly up-tempo spread offense, which he continued as the Ducks’ head coach from 2013-’16 after Kelly left for the NFL. It’s a system different from Nagy’s modernized West Coast offense.
What the addition of Helfrich could mean is a greater tempo to Nagy’s offense, diversifying the system with run-pass option looks and other elements that put to use the mobility of 23-year-old quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. It also figures to benefit running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, whose roles often lost consistency under the watch of offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains last season.
Helfrich was a 37-16 in his four seasons leading Oregon, including a Rose Bowl victory and national championship appearance in January 2015. However, he finished 4-8 in 2016 and was dismissed. Helfrich also has more than a decade of experience as a quarterbacks coach at the collegiate level. Helfrich chose the Bears’ offensive coordinator position while being pursued as University of Arizona’s new head coach, according to reports.
Tabor had been in the same position with the Browns since 2011 and had previously worked as assistant special teams coach for the Bears in 2008-’10 under the watch of coach Lovie Smith and special teams coordinator Dave Toub.
London spent the last four years as the Texans’ running backs coach. He’s worked in Chicago before, serving as a quality control coach and offensive assistant from 2007-’09. He’s also had collegiate stops at Duke and Penn State and worked for the Eagles and Titans.
Nagy has been busy with hiring a coaching staff, using various connections including those from his agency, Athletes First, which represents many coaches, including Helfrich.
The future of Vic Fangio remains uncertain. The Bears want to retain him as defensive coordinator, but as a coaching free agent, he wants to be presented all his options. With the Lions, Cardinals, Giants and Colts yet to hire a head coach, Fangio appears to be waiting patiently to see what’s next.