Offseasons are generally times of building through key additions, but the 2016 one has come with some early challenges for the Bears as a fourth member of their coaching staff has left for a promotion elsewhere.
Wide receivers coach Mike Groh has left to become the passing-game coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Rams after the Bears went outside to hire Dave Ragone as quarterbacks coach to fill that job. The Bears’ vacancy was created after Dowell Loggains was promoted to offensive coordinator, replacing Adam Gase, hired as Miami Dolphins head coach.
Groh, a former quarterback at Virginia, was one of two coaches retained from the Marc Trestman staff when coach John Fox arrived.
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The Fox coaching tree, which boasts Gase and San Diego's Mike McCoy as head coaches, is expanding but at the expense of some continuity on Fox’s staff. Groh joins a list of former Bears coaches that now includes Gase, offensive assistant Bo Hardegree (to Miami as Gase’s quarterbacks coach) and assistant special teams coach Derius Swinton (to San Francisco 49ers special teams coordinator), according to a report by the Sacramento Bee. Assistant strength and conditioning coach Jim Arthur also went to Miami with Gase.
The Bears blocked a request from the Dolphins to hire linebackers coach Clint Hurtt for the same job in Miami. But the Rams offered Groh a promotion in the form of a coordinator’s title in addition to coaching quarterbacks, a common launching point for NFL coaching careers.
“I’m very excited to have coach Groh join our staff,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said in a statement Monday. “He’s a talented young coach that has proven himself on the college level as well as in the NFL. We’re looking forward to what he will bring to our offense.”
Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.
According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.
The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.
For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.
Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.
The Chicago Bears will kick off the fourth season of "Meet the Rookies" on June 25, a series that profiles four of the team's 2018 draft picks for a behind-the-scenes look at their journey to the NFL.
The four-episode series will air on ChicagoBears.com at 7:00 p.m from June 25 - 28 and will feature one rookie per night.
Monday's episode will cover the Bears' first-round pick, Roquan Smith. Selected with the eighth-overall pick, Smith is expected to become an instant-impact player on defense. He's expected to make an impact off the field, too, as a high-character leader. Smith's linebacker-mate Joel Iyiegbuniwe is the focus of Tuesday's episode, with Anthony Miller (Wednesday) and James Daniels (Thursday) rounding out Season 4.
For a deeper dive into what's in store in "Meet the Rookies," check out this description.