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ESPN’s Louis Riddick: New play-caller doesn’t solve Bears’ biggest problem

Riddick sees the offensive line as the No. 1 flaw in the Bears’ offense, and unless offensive coordinator Bill Lazor can ‘‘miraculously’’ get his linemen to block proficiently, it’s hard to expect much success.

Riddick, now part of ESPN’s crew for Monday Night Football, was an Eagles executive when Matt Nagy was an assistant there.
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Matt Nagy’s play-calling certainly was part of the problem for the Bears, something his longtime friend Louis Riddick pointed out on ESPN’s broadcast during a particularly drab series against the Rams last month, but it wasn’t the only issue.

Riddick gave an unfiltered assessment, saying, “You’ve gotta come up with something a little bit better,” and had a feeling Nagy knew it, too. He believed Nagy was already considering handing over play-calling, which he did Friday to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.

“The one guy who is basically his mentor has done that,” Riddick said, referring to Chiefs coach Andy Reid. “And here in Chicago, you’re talking about a defense that has kicked ass over the past couple of years and is a championship-caliber defense. And the offense has just lagged. I’d love to play against this offense.”

That said, Riddick believes strongly that Nagy can turn it around and sees talent among the Bears’ skill players. He plans to make both those points on the broadcast of their game against the Vikings on Monday, when he’ll get a firsthand look at whether Lazor makes any difference.

While he’s as curious as anyone to see the results of Nagy’s gutsy decision, Riddick cautioned that some of the Bears’ flaws are unfixable. The biggest problem he sees, by a wide margin, is their faulty offensive line.

“They just don’t have the manpower,” he said. “You aren’t going to be able to create certain things out of the people that they have. You just aren’t gonna miraculously change who they are. That’s not being disrespectful to these guys, but it just is what it is.

“The tackles [Charles Leno and Bobby Massie] have underperformed. The guards [Rashaad Coward and Germain Ifedi] are below average. These aren’t things that you can fix right now.”