Strong defense was the calling card of the Bears in the Lovie Smith era. As the old saying goes, defense wins championships, yet defense can only take a team so far. Teams in the modern NFL need an offense that can score at will in order to be successful. The number one and two seeds in the AFC playoffs (Denver and New England) are fourth and first in total offense respectively. Our beloved Monsters of the Midway ranked 28th in that category.
In Smith’s tenure, the Bears only ranked inside of the top 20 in total offense once. This may seem like an overstatement of the obvious, but the best way to fix it is to start with hiring a coach who knows offense inside and out. As we’ve seen with the Washington Redskins and the Pistol, speed based offensive schemes are starting to infiltrate the NFL. Heck, New England has been running a high paced offense to the tune of an average of 427.9 yards per game.
The Bears need every advantage they can get on the offensive side of the ball if they want to be successful in the near future, which is why the best choice to replace Lovie Smith is Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly. If you consider yourself a football fan, you have surely seen the Oregon Ducks play. Their offense is nothing anyone has ever seen in college football, gaining 550 yards per game and scoring an NCAA leading 85 touchdowns this past season.
The Ducks are one of the toughest teams to defend, simply because they outrun their opponents. With possible sanctions coming down on Oregon for recruiting violations, the time is right for Chip Kelly to make the jump to the NFL, and there is no doubt he could transform his team’s offense into the most high octane attack in the entire league. Kelly’s offense is unique in the sense that they are able to snap the ball every 13 seconds and time of possession is never an issue.
The caveat to the whole thing though is personnel. Speed is not something that can you just put into your players on offense, you have to be able to find new guys who work well in the system. For the Bears, that would mean a more athletic offensive line, a more mobile quarterback, a scatback type of running back, and faster receivers.
Chicago already has a pretty fast running back with Matt Forte, and a Chip Kelly offense could see Devin Hester be used as more of a east to west running back who will gain five plus yards at a time running a jet sweep type of running play. Either Jay Cutler would have to be able to use himself as a regular running threat or the Bears would have to find another quarterback who could run Kelly’s system.
Seeing as he is the most coveted college coach by NFL teams right now, Kelly is going to demand a lot of money, probably more than the Bears want to pay. Yet, this is Phil Emery’s chance to get his most important personnel decision as the Bears new GM right, and hiring a coach who would make Chicago an offensive juggernaut would make Emery and that coach beloved in this town for a very long time.
The Bears certainly have other options to be their next head coach, but Kelly is someone that could make the Bears offense the envy of every other team in the NFL. It may be hard to pull off, but if Kelly could make it work, it would not be outside the realm of possibility to consider the Bears a perennial Super Bowl contender.