Mark Helfrich

Report: Bears to hire former Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor

Report: Bears to hire former Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor

The Bears are officially moving forward from Mark Helfrich. The Bears have hired Bill Lazor as their new offensive coordinator, sources say.

Lazor has previously worked as the offensive coordinator with the Dolphins from 2014- 2015 before being fired in November 2015.  He was then hired by the Bengals in 2016, where he served as their quarterbacks coach. He was promoted to interim Bengals OC in 2017 after the organization fired Ken Zampese, becoming the full time OC in Cincinnati in 2018. Lazor was fired by the Bengals in January of 2019. Prior to this past year, he had been coaching for 24 straight seasons.

How will this affect the Bears current offense? Lazor has been known for using a west coast style offense, which places a greater emphasis on passing than running. During the 2018 season with the Bengals, Lazor’s offense ranked 27 in yards gained per pass attempts. Under Lazor, the Bengals were the worst ranked offensive team in the league in 2017. There was previous speculation the Bears would consider Chiefs OC Mike Kafka for the role, but reports say he wasn't under consideration. 

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Bears officially hire Juan Castillo as new offensive line coach

Bears officially hire Juan Castillo as new offensive line coach

The Bears didn't take long to hire their next offensive line coach.

After firing Harry Hiestand on New Year's Eve, the Bears announced the hiring of Juan Castillo in his place on Sunday. 

Castillo has worked primarily as a line coach since he started with Texas A&M University–Kingsville in 1982. Since then, he's held positions with the Eagles (2005-2012, including five seasons with Matt Nagy), Ravens (2013-2016), and Buffalo Bills (2017-2018). During both of his seasons in Buffalo, the Bills finished top-10 in rushing yards. 

He'll be working to fix a rushing offense that finished 2019 ranked 29th in rushing DVOA. With the almost-immediate firing of Hiestand, offensive coordinator Mark Helfich, and tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride, the Bears are sending a clear message that fixing the run game is one of the offseason's top priorities. 

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Bears parting ways with offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich and others on coaching staff

Bears parting ways with offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich and others on coaching staff

After a disappointing season, the Bears are making changes on the coaching staff.

On Tuesday afternoon, after the team's end-of-season press conference with GM Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy -- and after the news leaked -- the Bears made it official that they have fired a number of coaches, including offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.


Helfrich came to the Bears after running a high-powered offense at Oregon from 2013-16. This was his second year as OC for the Bears.

This season, the Bears' offense ranked 29th in both yards per game (296.8) and points per game (17.5).

When the Bears hired Nagy in 2018, he was touted as an offensive guru. It's the head coach who still calls the plays, but Helfrich is losing his job after a lackluster season across the board on offense. 

Nagy was asked about any changes to his coaching staff during Tuesday’s end-of-year press conference.

“That’s all a part of the reflection stuff that I talked about a few days ago,” Nagy said. “We’re working through that. Just being so fresh to being out of this, we’re going to look at everything right now.”

He was asked a follow-up about the timeline for those decisions and again remained vague.

“It all depends,” Nagy said. “I think it’s our job and it’s my job to make sure the reflection process is done the right way. Regardless of the timeline, we want to make sure that they’re the right decisions.”

In addition to Helfrich, offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, tight end coach Kevin Gilbride and assistant special teams coach Brock Olivo are out. Hiestand, a veteran line coach in the college and pro ranks, had been under fire from fans after a disappointing showing by the Bears' O-line.

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