LAKE FOREST – As a third-string quarterback in 2010 at Pittsburgh, Andrew Janocko looked for any way he could contribute. His college career was nearing an end after beginning as a walk-on in 2007. He earned a scholarship as a junior, but really only saw the field as the holder on field goals.
“I was just kind of being in the office quite a bit,” Janocko said. “Trying to find my way, you know, to help that team at that time.”
He quickly latched on to a graduate assistant coach named Luke Getsy, who was a former Division I quarterback himself. Getsy, who was 26 years old at the time, was only just beginning to find his way in the coaching world.
“He was doing a lot of the drawings, so I just kind of tailed around him,” Janocko said. “We kind of built a relationship and then kept our relationship going the last 10 years or whatever it has been.”
It’s not hard to imagine the two of them geeking out over offensive diagrams on the white board. Twelve years later, Getsy will lead the Bears’ offense in 2022 as offensive coordinator with Janocko as his quarterback coach. They are two of the most important people at Halas Hall in terms of finding a way to bring quarterback Justin Fields’ game to the next level.
That is a big responsibility for a first-year offensive coordinator in Getsy and a 34-year-old QB coach in Janocko.
Janocko has only one year of experience as an NFL quarterback coach. That came last year with the Minnesota Vikings. He does, however, have seven total years of coaching experience with the Vikings, plus two years with the Buccaneers a decade ago.
With the Vikings, he began as a quality control coach, but worked his way up coaching both the offensive line and wide receivers before taking over at quarterback.
So why is he the right coach for Justin Fields?
“I just think that I’m going to be somebody that is going to support him,” Janocko said. “I’m going to be very loyal to him, very loyal to anybody that comes into that room, to [Getsy], and just go to work and do whatever they need to support them and lift those guys up.”
Getsy’s experience as the QB coach for Aaron Rodgers speaks for itself. Like Janocko, Getsy has coached multiple positions in his past. Bears center Lucas Patrick sees that as a good thing.
“Every time I’ve seen him work with players, I’ve seen the progress,” Patrick said. “In the wide receiver room he started with in Green Bay, I mean, a bunch of studs that he made better. He went into that QB room, and I’m pretty sure that guy won an MVP. Now he’s coming to be our OC. I mean, everything he does well.”
Who can blame Janocko for wanting to follow in the footsteps of a guy like that? During OTAs on Tuesday, Getsy and Janocko spent a lot of time on Fields’ footwork. Janocko said the Bears have worked to make Fields’ more “efficient and compact.” So for the internet sleuths speculating that Fields’ throwing motion is shorter – it is. They’ve also spent a good amount of time working on his rollout game.
Those might seem like minor things, but every small step together makes a big difference.
“In order to be able to master our craft we have to master each step,” Getsy said during rookie minicamp. “So we’re just, we’re staying on track. I think he’s, if anything, ahead of pace.”
On Tuesday, Janocko echoed Getsy’s “ahead of pace” comment.
“He has really gone to work, mentally, in the classroom, away from the classroom, what he is doing with his iPad at night, how he studies, how he is ready and prepared the next day, how he comes and approaches everyday,” Janocko said.