INDIANAPOLIS – No Bears personnel move this offseason projects to be have greater, wider-reaching impact on not only 2016 but also the future of the franchise than the Bears’ elevation of quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains to offensive coordinator.
Quarterback Jay Cutler had the best individual season of his career along the axis of Loggains and former coordinator Adam Gase, in large part because of the personal dynamic between Cutler and a staff that had his respect from the outset.
But Gase, who arrived with the stamp of credibility from an association with Peyton Manning in Denver, left to coach the Miami Dolphins. Loggains’ NFL coaching experience consisted of time with the Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns, player-starved franchises that ranked among the bottom-feeders during Loggains’ time with them.
Cutler relationships with previous coordinators – Ron Turner, Mike Martz, Mike Martz, Aaron Kromer – were marked with acrimony that predictably ended badly. That is not the expectation now, however.
“It's a great dynamic, I know that,” Gase said on Wednesday during the NFL Scouting Combine. “I always loved going around those two guys and kind of seeing the banter between them. When they hit the field, there's something special there between those two guys and the way they work together and the way they communicate.
“It'll be a great situation for Jay. That offense is in great hands, I mean, that whole coaching staff is top notch. I enjoyed working with all those guys, but those two guys together, they'll be able to keep that system going. They'll be able to keep that continuity going.”
Gase is in a position to know. Indeed, the experience of coach John Fox in elevating an incumbent quarterbacks coach to O-coordinator was a major element in the thinking behind promoting Loggains.
Fox and the Bears did consider potential coordinators outside the organization. But Fox in Denver had promoted Gase from QB coach to coordinator after Mike McCoy was hired to coach the San Diego Chargers and saw how that transition had worked, albeit with Manning as an obviously significant constant.
“We had a similar situation with Mike McCoy in Denver, when he went to San Diego,” Fox said. “Adam had been the quarterbacks coach the last couple years. We kind of injected some philosophies offensively, much like this time.
“Outside [the Bears’ organization] there were some very capable people, but that last experience I think helped in making this experience in the fact that Adam had a great relationship with Peyton and we didn’t want to change the whole offense, because that does set you back. I think that relationship helped us have the success that we did, and we did have success.”