Bears offensive coordinator Shane Waldron believes right plan is in place for rookie QB Caleb Williams

Bears rebuilt offensive coaching staff with QB in mind

Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Shane Waldron speaks during a news conference after NFL football practice in Lake Forest, Ill., Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

LAKE FOREST – When the Bears revamped their offensive coaching staff, they did it with the quarterback in mind. The moves the Bears made in January and February happened well before the team selected Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall draft in April.

Head coach Matt Eberflus knew he might have only one chance to get it right, and he knew it had to revolve around the quarterback.

The Bears hired an offensive coordinator in Shane Waldron who had previous experience in the role, and who previously served as a QB coach and a passing game coordinator. They added Kerry Joseph as quarterbacks coach and Thomas Brown as passing game coordinator. Additionally, they hired offensive assistant Ryan Griffin, who played QB in the NFL as recently as 2022.

Under the previous offensive coaching staff, the passing game coordinator doubled as the receivers coach. This time, Eberflus wanted to bring in as many knowledgeable voices as possible for the QB.

It might sound like too many voices in Williams’ ear, but the Bears aren’t worried about overloading the 22-year-old QB. It’s pretty clear who is in charge of this offense.

“Shane’s the offensive coordinator,” Brown said. “Like most places, he runs most of the unit meetings but also runs the quarterback meetings.”

Joseph, the QB coach, came to Chicago with Waldron from Seattle. He played quarterback in the Canadian Football League and, oddly enough, safety in the NFL. Joseph is much more focused on the minutiae of quarterback footwork, fundamentals and on-field training.

Waldron has to think big-picture with the offense. That means everything: run, pass, offensive line, QB, receivers, running backs. Brown is spending a lot of time with Williams now, but as passing game coordinator his job will also involve the receivers, tight ends and running backs.

“[The coaches have] done such a great job of being in sync, knowing who has different elements of the offense,” Waldron said. “But then also making sure we’ll have great discussions during staff meetings. We’ll have great discussions as we’re watching film. I would hope that not everybody agrees with each other every single second of a meeting because that would mean everyone is just saying yes to say yes.”

We’ll have great discussions as we’re watching film. I would hope that not everybody agrees with each other every single second of a meeting because that would mean everyone is just saying yes to say yes.”

—  Shane Waldron, Bears offensive coordinator

The Bears threw a lot at Williams over the spring. There were no guardrails on the offense during OTAs or minicamp. The hope, of course, is that all of this restructuring and building a new offense will lead to more points for the Bears.

General manager Ryan Poles added players like Keenan Allen, D’Andre Swift and Gerald Everett to help elevate the talent around the quarterback, too. The perfect scenario would be what happened in Houston last season, where No. 2 overall pick CJ Stroud led the Texans to the playoffs as a rookie.

“For us, we’re just trying to be the best version of ourselves and we feel like we have good pieces around our offensive structure right now,” Waldron said. “And guys are bought in. The personalities are jelling. The people are great. And so with that, the results will come.”

Brown was in Carolina last year as the offensive coordinator. He saw first-hand what can happen when a rookie quarterback doesn’t have the talent around him to succeed.

No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young struggled last season, but that wasn’t all necessarily his fault. They Panthers sent away their best receiver (DJ Moore) and four draft picks to go get Young.

“I had a different experience last year and have kind of been through that process of getting a brand-new quarterback ready for Week 1,” Brown said. “I think when it comes to our roles and responsibilities and also being able to play into the competitive nature of the prospect, Caleb ... is going to be a big part when it comes to preparing the right way and getting ready to roll.”

The Bears are simply trying to make sure he has all the tools necessary to do just that.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.