Why Mark Helfrich, despite no NFL experience, fits Matt Nagy’s vision for Bears’ offense


Why Mark Helfrich, despite no NFL experience, fits Matt Nagy’s vision for Bears’ offense

The Los Angeles Rams had Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur and Greg Olson in place to design an offense and coach up Jared Goff in 2017. The Philadelphia Eagles had Doug Pederson, Frank Reich and John DeFilippo for Carson Wentz. 

The Bears now have two-thirds of their quarterback-centric offensive structure in place. 

According to multiple reports, Matt Nagy will hire former Oregon coach Mark Helfrich to be his offensive coordinator. The 44-year-old Helfrich was Oregon’s head coach from 2013-2016 and previously was the Ducks’ offensive coordinator under Chip Kelly from 2009-2012. 

Helrich, like Nagy, was a former quarterback himself and held jobs as a quarterbacks coach at Boise State, Arizona State, Colorado and Oregon. He broke into coaching in 1997, when former Oregon offensive coordinator and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter hired him as a graduate assistant. 

In a Bleacher Report article about Helfrich from 2014, Koetter had this to say:

"He sees the game through the quarterback's eyes. We all have ideas, but if your quarterback can't execute those ideas, they are lines on a paper. Mark is as smart a football guy as I know."

While Nagy will call plays for the Bears’ offense, Helfrich will be important in designing concepts and providing ideas for what the offense will look like. Expect Helfrich’s time running Oregon’s innovative up-tempo spread offense to blend with Nagy’s modern west coast scheme to allow more creativity for Trubisky, Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen and the rest of an offense that, outside of a few trick plays, felt stale and conservative under John Fox and Dowell Loggains in 2017. 

Helfrich hasn’t coached at the NFL level, but Nagy and the Bears clearly were not only sold on him, but sold him on their offensive coordinator job given this from ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg: 

Nagy said on Monday his play-calling style is “aggressive” which would seem to fit the bigger picture of Helfrich’s style, too. The best-case scenario for this pairing is that the Bears’ offense is a lot more effective — and aesthetically pleasing — than it was in 2017. 

Aaron Lynch misses Bears practice with hamstring injury

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Aaron Lynch misses Bears practice with hamstring injury

The Chicago Bears are thin at outside linebacker after only signing Aaron Lynch to provide a pass rush opposite Leonard Floyd this season. 

Lynch was considered a risky signing in March because of his injury history. He's appeared in only 28 games over the last three years and he's already off to an injured start with the Bears.

Lynch was one of several players to miss Sunday's practice with a hamstring injury, a list that includes fellow starter, Danny Trevathan.

Lynch and Trevathan missed Saturday's practice, too.

Other Bears who sat out on Sunday were Sherrick McManis (hamstring), Daniel Brown (ankle) and Joel Iyiegbuniwe (shoulder). First-round pick Roquan Smith remains a holdout.

Lynch is in a training camp battle with Sam Acho for a starting job and will have to hold off Kylie Fitts and Isaiah Irving as well. The more time he loses to injury, the less and less likely the chances are that he'll become an impact player on defense.

It's still early, and the Bears have an extra week of training camp because of the Hall of Fame game. There's plenty of time for Lynch to get healthy and put this hamstring issue behind him. 

Matt Nagy doesn't care about being a players' coach

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Matt Nagy doesn't care about being a players' coach

Matt Nagy is a few days into his first training camp as an NFL head coach, and while he's earned praise from players up and down the Chicago Bears' roster, he said Sunday after practice that he's not concerned with being a player's coach.

"I don't care about the players' coach part," he said, "but I care that they respect me and our coaches. This isn't going to happen overnight, this is something I'm trying to build with the players.

"There's so much stuff that comes into this. There are little areas where were all growing and that's where I think the respect factor comes in for all coaches."

Nagy won't make any friends with his approach to practicing in bad weather. The first few days of Bears camp have been drenched by rain but Nagy hasn't moved practice indoors. Instead, he wants his team to get used to playing in the elements. Hardly a favor to the players, even if it will prepare them for bad weather games this season.

The Bears will debut Nagy and their new offense on August 2 against the Ravens in the Hall of Fame game. Starters will likely play only one series, if at all.