The Bears have feasted on poor defenses the last two games, but the offense has looked more cohesive and purposeful than at any time in the last two seasons.
It’s a shame it took this long, but coach Matt Nagy’s relinquishment of play-calling to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor appears to have opened up the offensive staff to a more collaborative approach.
Nagy said he sees better communication between possessions, which implies the assistants weren’t speaking up as much when their boss was the one calling plays. And quarterback Mitch Trubisky, seemingly emboldened by the realization his future is now in his hands as an upcoming free agent, no longer hesitates to assert himself in game-planning.
‘‘The last 3 1/2 weeks, we’ve actually gotten a lot better in the procedure,’’ Nagy said of game-planning and play-calling. ‘‘With Mitch, too, having him a little bit more involved with the things he likes, with a little bit of a change with the identity of this offense, it’s kind of helped out. It’s been good, and I think that’s probably why we’re all working better together.’’
It also helps that Lazor appears to be finding some rhythm after four games calling the shots during games. While he declined to comment about that, it’s natural that he would have a better feel for the personnel and the system now than he did when he debuted as the Bears’ play-caller against the Vikings in Week 10.
And it’s highly likely Lazor will have a more refined, effective plan for the Vikings when he sees them again Sunday.
‘‘We have a pretty good system that we’re settling into,’’ Lazor said. ‘‘It’s evolved a little bit as the year has gone on, but I think we have a pretty good system of game-planning and how we are going to call the plays on game day. A lot of people have input in both of the processes the way it works together.’’
Keeping with a seasonlong trend, Nagy is showing more urgency by analyzing the offense between possessions rather than waiting until halftime to confer with Lazor, pass-game coordinator Dave Ragone, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and other assistants.
Nagy acted quickly when he changed quarterbacks in Week 3 and again in Week 12 and when he gave Lazor the keys. Putting aside whether those decisions worked perfectly, the recurring theme is that Nagy isn’t wasting time as he grapples for a solution to his wayward offense.
Switching quarterbacks and play-callers are more big-picture moves, but the same principle applies to huddling with the offensive coaches to problem-solve issues between drives rather than continue to stumble. The Bears can’t afford to go two or three possessions without making a necessary change.
‘‘There’s more communication from all of us coaches on the headset in regards to talking about what plays we want to get to next and where we’re at and the flow,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘There might be a certain concept that we like that we all know is on the call sheet, and we want to all see it and might have more discussions on that than we did prior.’’
The big question that swirls around the recent uptick in production — 91 points, 1,149 yards and Trubisky’s 100.0 passer rating in the last three games — is whether the Bears can maintain it against better opponents.
It might be awhile before that’s truly tested because the Vikings are 24th in scoring defense and 26th in yards and have allowed the ninth-highest opponent passer rating. But they still will provide a decent measurement because the Bears played them last month and managed 13 points and 149 total yards as Nick Foles floundered.
This game will offer some clue as to whether this is a mirage or something solid.