Bill Lazor’s job as Bears’ new offensive coordinator? Make Matt Nagy better
Why were seemingly good game plans ending with the Bears barely scoring? Lazor is helping Nagy try to solve that puzzle.
It’s murky figuring out exactly what new Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s role is given that he won’t be calling plays. The offensive line coach will probably oversee the ground game and he’s one of at least four voices in the quarterbacks’ ears.
It’s an issue for any coordinator when the head coach specializes in their side of the ball, as Matt Nagy does in the offense and particularly with quarterbacks. But Nagy is at a crossroads after his offense crashed last season and was eager for “new ideas from new offensive coaches” after cleaning house on that side of the ball.
That’s where Lazor, who began coaching in the NFL when Nagy was still playing arena ball, can help. While they have similar philosophies, the idea isn’t for him to be merely an extension of Nagy. Lazor needs to challenge him, push him and help him rethink everything that went wrong in 2019.
“The final decision comes down to how he wants to do it, and that’s our job, whatever our role is, to support him,” Lazor said Wednesday. “You provide [him] with an expertise based on the wisdom that you’ve gained through experience.
“When you’ve screwed something up, and you come out of a game that you feel was a heck of a game plan, and you come out and score seven points . . . that didn’t work. So you bank that and understand why, and then you can carry that experience forward. Then, hopefully over time, you can score 37 points.”
Thirty-seven points?!? The Bears? If Lazor delivers that, he’ll be a hero.
There were 50 instances of a team reaching that number last season, but none by the Bears.
Instead, they finished 29th in points (17.5), and yards (296.9) per game. Their rushing attack wasn’t really an attack at all (3.7 yards per carry) and their quarterbacks combined for an 83.9 passer rating. The Bears scored one or zero offensive touchdowns in half of their games.
Lazor is an interesting choice to clean up the mess.
The Dolphins fired him as the coordinator in 2015 and the Bengals did so two years ago, but both were changing head coaches. Lazor was out of the NFL last season and worked as a consultant for Penn State.
As a coordinator, his teams finished 11th, 27th, 26th and 17th in scoring. However, he was the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach in 2013 when Nick Foles had a career year, and held the same job in Cincinnati when Andy Dalton put up one of his better seasons in 2016.
“It’s been exciting . . . being able to go through the scheme eval and go through some things and get some ideas,” Nagy said in February.
They were “casual” friends, as Lazor said before Nagy hired him, but had enough of a relationship that Nagy hosted Lazor at the facility last season.
“I just decided to reach out to him and see if he’d be open to it,” Lazor said. “Having a chance to spend a couple days, watching practice, sitting in on some of the meetings . . . I got to see the energy.”
That was the starting point. It got the wheels turning for Lazor, and he has been giving Nagy suggestions for months now. And in another month, when training camp starts, the Bears will see how much he has helped reshape an offense that needed it.