”Good artists copy. Great artists steal.”
This quote is attributed to Pablo Picasso. I don’t know whether he said it or not, but I’m going to embody the quote, be a great artist and steal it to make a point about the Bears’ coaching staff.
They’re thieves, dirty rotten scoundrels, and I love every minute of it!
Justin Fields is a unique talent. He’s a ridiculous combination of smarts, competitiveness, size, strength and speed. Unique talents deserve a unique approach to coaching.
There’s a history in the NFL of coaches, especially offensive coaches, being stubborn when it comes to change. If their precious scheme has birthed even a measure of success, they rise to ”guru” status and become pretty rigid about their system.
This doesn’t bode well for quarterbacks who don’t immediately take to the system that is being taught. There have been plenty of coaches who continued to try to keep pounding a square peg into a round hole, no matter the results.
Since the Bears’ loss to the Commanders, we’ve seen a much more interesting path: Theft! Matt Eberflus and his staff went to Fields, talked with him and figured some things out. Then Eberflus and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy got their team together, like Danny Ocean, and set their sights on pulling off the biggest heist in football history.
When you watch Fields and the Bears’ offense, there are clear elements from multiple teams around the league. It shows the Bears’ coaching artistry is pretty good and trending toward great.
From the Giants
Coach Brian Daboll put together an excellent game plan against the Bears for a 20-12 victory in Week 4. At the time, the Giants’ receiving corps was in tatters, so they put the onus on quarterback Daniel Jones to make plays with his feet. He threw only 13 passes for 71 yards, but he ran for 68 and scored two touchdowns on the ground. Jones put the Bears’ defense on skates. The Giants’ ability to use misdirection effectively helped put the game away.
The Bears have done plenty of this in the last three weeks with incredible success. Making the effort to add Fields to the running game has elevated the Bears’ offense into historic company. Since 1976, only the 2022 Bears have had four consecutive games of 225 rushing yards or more. They’ll strive for five Sunday against the Lions.
From the Chiefs
If you’re going to steal, why not steal from the best? Andy Reid is a master offensive designer. He’s also a terrific play-caller. During his time with the Chiefs, he has found unique ways to get the ball into tight end Travis Kelce’s hands. Passes, handoffs, direct snaps, it doesn’t matter.
On back-to-back plays in the first quarter Sunday, the Bears called an end-around for tight end Cole Kmet, then followed it up with a direct snap to him. Both plays netted positive yards. The direct snap converted a third down. The 15-play drive culminated in a 18-yard touchdown pass to Kmet. I promise you’ll see more of this going forward.
From Greg Roman
Roman is the offensive coordinator of the Ravens. He used to have the same job for the 49ers. In both places, he has designed offenses for ultra-athletic quarterbacks. Not so coincidentally, he has worked for Jim and John Harbaugh. During their 11 days off after their game against the Commanders, the Bears looked at the success of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson as a template for what they can do with Fields.
On Sunday, Fields set a regular-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 178 against the Dolphins. The only quarterback to have more rushing yards in a game in NFL history is Colin Kaepernick, who had 181 rushing yards in an electrifying playoff performance against the Packers in 2013.
Guess who Kaepernick’s offensive coordinator was back then? Yep, it was Greg Roman.
Add it all up, and the results have been a masterpiece for Fields and the Bears’ offense. Picasso would be so proud.