Do Chicago Bears fans truly grasp how lucky they are to be done with the Dowell Loggains era at offensive coordinator? A good way to liken it is being stuck in a humid, moist, stink-infested sewer for two years and then suddenly emerging back into the outside world. John Fox made plenty of mistakes during his time as head coach.
By far his biggest though was promoting Loggains to offensive coordinator rather than seeking a more qualified replacement for Adam Gase. As a result, the offense went from scoring 335 points in 2015 under Gase to 279 in 2016 and 264 in 2017 under Loggains. People tried to make excuses about personnel and the like.
The reality is he had virtually the same weapons in 2016 and the offense took a nosedive anyway. People think his greatest drawback was a lack of imagination. While this criticism is true, his biggest issues instead was a lack of common sense. This was hammered home by Warren Sharp of SharpFootballAnalysis.com along with Evan Silva of Rotoworld during a 2018 season preview.
Per @SharpFootball's preview, Mitch Trubisky went 98% shotgun at NC & Jordan Howard has been remarkably more efficient from gun than from under center. What did the #Bears do? 50% shotgun, 13% below league average. Just mind-blowing.
— suuma (@suuma810) July 9, 2018
Get ready for the tangible efficiency upgrade with Fox/Loggains out and Nagy/Helfrich in. https://t.co/B2ewFj3Ixz
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) July 9, 2018
Dowell Loggains committed a cardinal sin for NFL coaches
Former longtime head coach Marty Schottenheimer had a great saying about how he coached. It was, “Find out what your team does best and do that.” It may sound overly simple, but it’s true. The idea is basic but so important. Understand what your players do well and what they don’t do so well. Then work the scheme around their strengths and find a way to hide their weaknesses.
Loggains heard this idea and basically threw in the trash can. Just look at the Jordan Howard stats from 2017. When he ran from under center formations, he posted 948 yards on 242 attempts with six touchdowns. That’s 3.9 yards per carry. In the shotgun, he posted 174 yards on just 34 attempts with three touchdowns at 5.1 yards per carry.
Put it this way, if those numbers had been reversed then Howard would’ve rushed for 1,366 yards and 22 touchdowns based on the averages. This is why Loggains was clueless. It’s also why people should be thrilled Matt Nagy is in town. In 2017, Kareem Hunt ran the ball 130 times out of 238 total rushes from shotgun.
That’s just shy of half. Meanwhile, Alex Smith threw the ball out of shotgun 85.5% of the time in Nagy’s system. A substantial step up from the 50% Trubisky endured under Loggains. It’s little wonder the young quarterback is so excited about the upcoming season. He must feel like Andy Dufresne after breaking out of Shawshank.
The same goes for Howard. This offense should do so much better not just because of new personnel, but a better grasp of how to put your players in position to accent their strengths.