By Chris Emma–
(670 The Score) New Bears head coach Matt Nagy saw what Mark Helfrich could do when he led the Oregon offense and developed Marcus Mariota into a star quarterback.
Nagy was enamored with the work of Helfrich, now the Bears’ offensive coordinator, in running a dynamic offense and maximizing the immense talent of Mariota, who was drafted second overall to the Titans in 2015. The two Bears coaches are already putting together a plan for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky that could resemble what Mariota ran with the Ducks.
Count Mariota among those excited with what Helfrich can bring for the Bears. He joined the Mully & Hanley Show on Friday to discuss Helfrich and more.
“He’s been an incredible part of my life,” Mariota said. “He helped me get to where I am today. We always keep in touch.
“He’s going to be a force for (the Bears). Very lucky, for sure.”
Oregon won the Rose Bowl and reached the national championship game after the 2014 season, Helfrich’s second in charge. He was fired after four years, finishing with a record of 37-16 but going just 13-12 in his final two seasons.
Helfrich built a reputation as an innovative offensive mind during his time at Oregon, which also included work as offensive coordinator for Chip Kelly. Now, he will bring some elements of that Duck spread to Nagy’s modernized West Coast schemes.
“He puts his players in the best situations,” Mariota said. “Allows guys to just go out there and make plays. I know for us, he did a great job of using tempo and creating matchups that were in our favor, and really just creating advantages. I think he’ll do that at this level and he’ll find ways to make (the Bears) roll.
“(The spread) just creates a lot of communication for a defense, and at the same time when you add the tempo and you got guys moving around, it just makes it tough on teams. If you’re able to do that and you’re able to execute it, I think you can find ways to score some points.”
Nagy and Helfrich will work to develop Trubisky — the second overall pick in the 2017 draft — into a franchise quarterback. For Trubisky, it will be an adjustment moving from his rookie season to a second year with a second coaching staff.
Meanwhile, Mariota will be going on his third head coach after the Titans fired Mike Mularkey and hired Mike Vrabel in January.
“You got to learn a new scheme,” Mariota said. “But what it really comes down to is you just got to take the time, put the time in, make sure you understand the offense so that when it comes into OTAs and you’re rolling with the team, you can go out there and answer questions for the guys and make sure they’re on the same page.”