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The Positional Quick 3: Offensive Line

| June 13th, 2018

I’m traveling in Dingle, Ireland years ago and I’m exhausted. This was my first day ever in Europe and I couldn’t keep my eyes open at 4:30 in the afternoon. My uncle turns to me and says, “Have a quick three. You’ll be fine.” I drank three Guinness in the span of a half hour. Seven hours later I’m dancing to a shitty Irish house DJ with Jenny Pye, a local lass who dreamed of being an EMT in New York City.

I’m very tired of this 2018 off-season. And incredibly eager for the season to begin. So I’m taking the quick three approach to each position group as we head into the summer. Not grading the groups or anything. Just making some points.


Offensive Line

  • Perhaps the most important positional decision in the coming days will be how Nagy and Harry Hiestand situate the middle of their offensive line. (Both Cody Whitehair and James Daniels are listed as simply OL on the team’s roster page.) Whitehair is 25. Daniels is 20. This should be the team’s line leadership for the next five years plus. Getting them in the correct position is essential to that cause.
  • The chances of Bobby Massie being on the Bears roster in 2019 are not particularly good. So this becomes a contract year for the right tackle. Does that mean anything? Not really. But I have to fill three bullet points here.
  • Is this a flawless unit? No. But there are very few, if any, flawless offensive lines in the modern NFL. Is this an offensive line capable of playing into the postseason? Absolutely. Especially if the middle of the line is sorted correctly. This is an offensive line that can protect the quarterback long enough to make plays down the field and an offensive line capable of pushing a defense around 25 times a game to create some space for Jordan Howard. They are a good, not great unit.

Tomorrow: Offensive Coaches

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Final Notes on the Bears Coaching Staff

| January 22nd, 2018

Administrative Note: I’m doing one of those AMAs over at Reddit tonight at 6 pm CT. I don’t quite know how it all works so please stay tuned to DBB’s Twitter handle (on the right rail here at all times) for updated information. I have never been on Reddit or looked at one of these AMAs so I have no idea what to expect. But they asked so why the hell not?


We’ll be moving on to roster stuff and free agency soon enough but I wanted to put a punctuation mark on the coaching staff sentence after making a few phone calls and piecing things together.

  • Dave Ragone being kept on as QB coach was a difficult decision for Nagy but ultimately conversations with the Bears 2017 quarterbacks swayed him. I’m told the Bears had serious talks with former Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing about the position but determined this relationship – quarterback and quarterbacks coach – would benefit from continuity. Downing, they believed, was itching to get back into the coordinator’s chair as quickly as possible.
  • The Bears want Mark Sanchez back. Mark Sanchez wants to come back. But Sanchez has not given up on being a substantial NFL contributor and there is a belief that he simply does not fit the offense the Bears are going to be running under Nagy/Helfrich. The Bears would be open to bringing Sanchez back as third quarterback should they move on a Chase Daniel-type as backup. It’s a waiting game on one of Mitch Trubisky’s most trusted sounding boards.
  • Many criticized Ted Phillips’ involvement in the coaching search. Early in the process he was the primary information gatherer on potential coaching candidates. Per a source, one of Phillips’ first calls was to Dave Toub on Matt Nagy and Toub gave a substantial, effusive endorsement of the Chiefs offensive coordinator. That endorsement went a long way with ownership and is a major reason the Bears landed their first-choice coach quickly.
  • Per source, money was never an issue for Vic Fangio. Coaching staff was never an issues for Vic Fangio. Relationship with the new coach was not all that high a priority for Fangio, either. I’m told concretely that Fangio just wanted to be closer to California, closer to his lady and friends. And once he realized that wasn’t going to happen, he never really considered coaching anywhere other than Chicago.
  • From the Twitter of me:

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Notes on the Nagy Coaching Staff

| January 15th, 2018


It’s okay to get excited about a new coaching staff.

It doesn’t mean you irrationally believe that staff is going to cure all that ails the franchise you root for; in this case your Chicago Bears. It doesn’t mean the good players will now become great players and the bad players good players. It just means you believe a new collection of leaders, a new assemblage of ideas has the chance to change things for the better.

When John Fox hired Adam Gase and Vic Fangio to be his offensive and defensive coordinators (respectively) there was nary a negative word to be written. Gase was the hottest young offensive assistant in the game, having interviewed for several head-coaching vacancies. Fangio was a steady rock of a coordinator, coming off his most successful stint in the league. Did it work out? No. But was that any fault of the initial coordinator hires? Doubtful. That blame falls on quarterback turnover, a tsunami of injuries and a head coach watching the game blow by like a Dakotan tumbleweed.

This is a coaching staff to get excited about. And fans should allow themselves that moment of excitement, even if it is only a moment. There are many reasons why.

  • When I ask my friends in the league to name the best offensive line coaches in the sport, three names surface: Dante Scarnecchia (the gold standard), Mike Munchak (will be employed in the NFL for 30 more years) and Harry Hiestand. Hiestand’s first time around with the Bears was exceptional but over the last five years he’s built Notre Dame’s OL into one of the most consistently dominating position groups in the nation. Of all the hires Nagy made this week, this is the most impressive.
  • But don’t get wrapped up in how this effects the draft. Yes, I believe Quenton Nelson is the best player entering the NFL next season and would be THRILLED to see him in Chicago. But the Bears would have known his ability with or without Hiestand on the staff. All having Hiestand at Halas Hall does is eliminate the need for lengthy pre-draft meetings with the ND guard. (The same can be said for the other major league prospect off this unit, tackle Mike McGlinchey.)

Read More …

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