Chicago Bears Football Concepts

Matt Nagy, have you met Mike Martz? You two have a lot in common.

Martz and Nagy insisted they use high powered offenses when they arrived in Chicago. Their former Pro Bowl players didn’t come with them.

So, I just learned Cole Kmet plays for the Bears this past Sunday. No really, I “ignored” the plethora of internet wannabe analysts who claim that Kmet is a bust because their fantasy team, “didn’t do so good”, and maybe the Bears should have drafted someone else. Lo and behold, Kmet was targeted several times on Sunday and even though it was mostly low grade throws in the flat, he was able to get his George Kittle going, and run over smaller defenders.

It seems he isn’t the only player enjoying the move to Bill Lazor as chief play caller the past few weeks. We’re not here to nominate Bill Lazor as OC of the year but he has done something that has inflated his value, and nearly burned away all of Nagy’s: Using his players and being an actual coach. David Montgomery and Mitch Trubisky are very thankful for this, as are the fact that Alex bars and Sam Mustipher, two fantastic Notre Dame guys from a heralded linemen factory, have buttressed a very porous offensive line.

Bill Lazor is out here coaching what he has

I am not going to beat a dead horse, but even after cracking a few Busch Light’s and or fancy pants IPA’s, the casual fan can notice that the Bears offense just seems more focused. Regardless of the dog shit defenses the Bears have faced, sometimes getting confidence is half the battle. There are more movements in and out of the pocket from the QB, and in turn more play action. As well, they are bringing in tight ends and rolling in 12 personnel with two TE’s, which provides the biggest conundrum when it comes to defenses being able to cover up all their gaps AND having the proper coverage behind it. If there are routes the Bears are deploying, it’s 2-3 guys at most, limiting Trubisky’s downfield processing, which as we all know, is a good thing four our collective sanity. It’s not the most complicated offense known to man, but it’s functional and the players seem attentive to their assignments.

This doesn’t look a whole lot like the West Coast offense that Lazor is running. We can dive down the rabbit hole about the three man family trees of offenses, “West Coast”, “Coryell” and “Earhardt-Perkins”, a whole ‘nother day, as teams now mix them together at times. Nagy was hell-bent on the meticulous West Coast, which is a progression offense. It sometimes doesn’t work, if the QB either can’t move, or if the offensive line is a lingering close to dog shit, because the GM thought a cast off from a perennial playoff team (The Seahawks) would solve the world’s problems. #germanifedi

Each play has to be explicitly run the same, regardless of coverage. The reads go in a certain sequence, which might help the QB, but makes it tougher on skill guys trying to acclimate themselves. #anthonymiller

Point is, this is all damning on Matt Nagy. I am not here to “Stan” for Mitch, I just want my offense to function and score some points. Nagy’s decision to bench Mitch for not being able to run that West Coast was more stubborn than anything. And hell, maybe he taught it well and Mitch couldn’t grasp it, that has to be a fair discussion, but it is an indictment on Nagy. Right now, the Bears O is being being run on simmer, but it’s still cooking, regardless of the low end competition. The Foles experiment failed not because “Foles” sucks, he kind of does, but he also fell victim of the classic Nagy mantra….run my stuff! I don’t care how deficient your O line is, or guys who can’t get open.

Before the Chiefs there was….

If ya got 15 minutes ,watch this over the holidays. total time warp, and Super cool.

Nothing to see here, just FIVE Hall of Famers running around, having a grand old time. (Okay, technically four, and Torry Holt.) I have found old YouTube clips, and Warner was under center a lot, Faulk was basically a receiver, and those receivers we’re running posts and daggers, and then running a ton of crossing routes underneath. It was like Steve Spurrier’s “Fun ‘n’ Gun” on acid. Kind of like spreading the floor in hoops with three point shooters, which in turn creates driving lanes to the basket. Key to note, the Rams had a solid O line, allowing for these 7 step drops and big downfield routes to develop. Well, at least when it was the Rams. (Ooooo, I wonder if this will be brought up later?)

This looks like chicken scratch, but Coryell offense acolytes like Martz like to read “downfield” first, then hit the guy closer to the line of scrimmage later. Like, reverse West Coast offense.

Side Note: The worst thing about the Rams was living in the dorms at Eastern Illinois as a Chicago suburbanite in the early 2000’s amongst obnoxious Cardinals and Rams fans, the latter of whom just got an NFL team 6 years before. It was hell on earth. Primarily because I didn’t know these people existed in downstate Illinois. To quote comic book guy from the Simpsons: “Worst. People. EVER!”

Bringing the NFL out of the Dark Ages

Now before we take a dump on Mike Martz (settle down over there, Odell.) NFL defenses actually dominated NFL offenses in the 90’s with zone dog blitzes, which forced teams to stay back and protect, hence the lack of multiple downfield receivers. Holy hell, did the Rams flip that script. The 2000 Rams would have set the all-time offense record the Broncos from 2013 with Manning have. It’s sort of like the Chiefs now. 3-4 top tier players with the system suited to them, and you have lightning in a bottle. What stopped it? Of course, Bill Belichick. In the Rams Pats Super Bowl, he started mugging receivers so much so that the NFL made a rule about it in 2004. Also, maybe filming the Rams in their walk through helped, but that’s not important right now!

Jay Cutler and Martz are best friends. Believe me.

Just a nice QB, expressing his desire not to be murdered behind a marginal O line.

By the time Martz arrived in Chicago in 2010, he had unceremoniously presided over Lions and 49ers in the late 2000’s without much to show. Apparently, that cantankerous Jay wasn’t thrilled about the lack of adjustments Martz had in his special high octane offense, specifically the aforementioned deep as hell 7 stop drops. Check out this fun little description I stole from the internet, describing a Bears Lions game from 2011: “And speaking of the 7 step drops, what I saw on film was thirteen called 7 step drops by Mike Martz.  I counted 44 pass plays while re-watching the game, I also counted just three 3 step drops the entire game.” Good thing they were getting the ball out! Right!?

Time to wrap it up

Martz and Nagy may adhere to different offensive coaching trees, (there are three of them) but one thing is in common. THEIR System works, damnit! But, there are some major differences. Martz was the OC for the Rams in ’99, then they got super cool gold and navy jerseys, and he moved up to play calling HC in for the next half decade. So in that regard, he wasn’t some burgeoning assistant waiting for his turn, like Lord Nagy. Maybe it was ego that led Martz to think his “stuff” would work, but if you ever saw Mike Martz speak, obviously it was. His head couldn’t fit through a goddamn doorway. Shit’s a lot easier at the low levels when you “give the ball to the fast kid”, but I don’t run around like I’m the bees knees. Matt Nagy has been so hell bent on running his precious system, that it may have cost him his job. As the good football lord once said, and always will: “It’s not about X’s and O’s, it’s about Jimmy’s and Joe’s”. See you next week.

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