The Chicago Bears new coaches have come in quickly since the main man Matt Nagy arrived. It hasn’t allowed for a lot of time to explore their own personal stories. Most fans can afford the time to learn about them and why exactly the team sought out their services in the first place. That is what this article will help to clarify.
Often the easiest way to do that is giving a flashback of the best work that respective coach has done. Vic Fangio and other holdovers will not appear on this list as most fans are familiar with their work by this point. It will be only the new names that have arrived in the past week including the head coach himself.
Some might be surprised by the quality work these men have done.
Matt Nagy: Getting three Pro Bowls from Alex Smith
People need to remember context in these situation. At the start of 2013 Alex Smith was considered mostly a bust at quarterback. His track record in San Francisco was littered with disappointment aside from a surprisingly decent 2011 season in reaching the NFC championship. Then the next year he was supplanted by Colin Kaepernick. The Chiefs took a chance on trading for him anyway. Nagy was his quarterbacks coach and later offensive coordinator. Together they reached the playoffs four times and Smith has now gone to three Pro Bowls.
Mark Helfrich: The 2014 Oregon offense
Chip Kelly gets most of the credit for what a juggernaut Oregon became offensively but the truth is the best unit that program ever produced didn’t appear until he’d left for the NFL. That machine was constructed by Helfrich in 2014, the culmination of years of work. Led by quarterback Marcus Mariota it was a balanced attack that ran opponents off the field. Not only did it finish #1 in total yards (8,205) but they also were #1 in total points scored (681). That team would reach the national championship game, proving the high point of Helfrich’s career to date.
Charles London: The 2015 Texans running game
Having success when you have a star player is easy. Having success when you lose that star player? That’s when the real coaches emerge. London got his moment in the sun in 2015. Four game into that season, Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster was lost to injury. The Houston Texans were forced to push on with a stable of backups and unproven running backs. All things considered they did a way better job than they had any right to. Led by a triad of Alfred Blue, Chris Polk, and Jonathan Grimes Houston finished 15th in the NFL in rushing that season (1,731 yards). They won the division title for their efforts.
Harry Hiestand: 2008 Bears offensive line
Bears fans have no idea how much they’d miss Harry Hiestand until he was gone. In 2009 their offensive line allowed 35 sacks. Not great but fairly solid. A year later after he left? They allowed 56. The man is really good at his job. He proved that in 2008. That year Kyle Orton was their starting quarterback. Chicago, traditionally a running team, threw the ball 557 times that year. That’s dangerous considering how immobile Orton was. Yet the team only ended up surrendering 29 sacks. Keep in mind this was a line with John St. Clair as the left tackle and Josh Beekman as left guard. Hiestand is a treasure.
Mike Furrey: Limestone College
It’s fair to say most people didn’t do much digging on Mike Furrey. All they know at this point is he’s a former NFL wide receiver who has kicked around the college ranks as a coach to this point. It doesn’t make sense the Bears would take him from Limestone College of all places to become their new receivers coach. Except it does. Furrey in fact did an amazing job down there. Understand that Limestone did not have a football program until 2013. They won just four games in their first two years. Their first season under Furrey? They won five. In their third year of existence.
Kevin M. Gilbride: Odell Beckham’s rookie year
Gilbride was hired to coach up the Bears tight ends. This is a job he can do well as he did with the New York Giants. However, his most impressive work actually came prior to his promotion to that position. Before that he ran their wide receivers group from 2012 to 2014. Given the lack of star power he had he did fairly well. Then in his final year he put icing on the cake. Despite missing the first four games with injury he managed to help rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. post 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. Again, this was managed in 12 games.