Wait felt endless, but Bears OC Luke Getsy finally has Justin Fields, offense clicking

If everyone had known going into the season that Fields and Getsy would need about a month to find their footing, that wouldn’t have been so bad. And it’s certainly better than the Nagy era, when years went by without ever finding those elusive whys.

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A photo of Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy at practice.

The Bears averaged 22.8 points per game over their last four, versus 16 over the first four.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

What a ride for Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy in his first nine months on the job.

Going into the season, receiver Darnell Mooney hailed Getsy as “a genius” who surely would bolt for a head-coaching job after two seasons. Quarterback Justin Fields said Getsy spent the offseason spilling four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers’ secrets to him so he could play with equal efficiency. It was everything everyone wanted to hear after the droning Matt Nagy years.

Then the season started and Getsy’s popularity plunged. The Bears weren’t passing or scoring. Their offense dipped below even Nagy levels. Fields was statistically the worst QB in the league.

And then, seemingly, an epi-phany: Fields is a really good runner, so the Bears should maximize that. Now every-thing looks better, and Fields is in the best stretch of his young career.

Getsy doesn’t see it quite that dramatically.

“I don’t really know that there was an adjustment,” he said when asked for his version of the offense’s evolution. “You’re growing together and you’re evaluating all the time what your guys on the field are good at. . . . Then you’re just trying to enhance those things, and you’re trying to stay away from the things you don’t do so well. We’re just in the middle of this process of trying to get better each and every day, and that’s everybody, including myself.”

Those last two words are significant. It’s important to remember that Fields and his mostly inexperienced teammates aren’t the only fledglings on offense. Getsy is 38, got his first NFL job in 2014 and is a first-time coordinator. He’s growing, too.

The Bears averaged 16 points per game and five yards per play through the first four games — near the bottom of the NFL in both categories. But over the last four, they have averaged 22.8 points and 5.5 yards. Those numbers are far from elite, but they’re reflective of an offense that’s at least functional, and that’s a step forward for the Bears.

And Fields? He has been efficient with a completion percentage of 64.1, a 97.6 passer rating and just two interceptions out of 92 passes. Next, he needs to up the production — because while 182 yards passing per game is improvement, it’s nowhere near what the best quarterbacks contribute.

And here’s someone who can help him ramp it up: wide receiver Chase Claypool.

He arrived Wednesday, after the Bears traded a second-round pick to the Steelers for him, and will debut Sunday against the Dolphins. His production is down this season, deflated in part by a move to slot receiver and poor quarterback play between Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett, but over his first two seasons, he put up 1,845 yards of total offense and 13 touchdowns.

Not only does Claypool bring something new as a big target in the Bears’ passing game, but he also should help open things up for fellow receiver Mooney and tight end Cole Kmet.

“The more good players you put around each other, it lifts the level of play for everybody, so it’s not just those two,” Getsy said. “If [defenses] have different things to worry about, that helps.”

The obvious question amid this uptick for the offense is why it took so long. Getsy said players have been executing much better lately, and that’s probably true of Fields more than anyone else. It’s also likely that Getsy needed to see his offense in game scenarios to identify what worked and what didn’t. It all works in practice — it always does. But the games reveal what’s real.

Although it felt like a long wait to see the offense bloom, perhaps it really wasn’t long at all. If everyone had known going into the season that Fields and Getsy would need about a month to find their footing, that wouldn’t have been so bad.

And it’s certainly better than the Nagy era, when years went by without the Bears ever finding the answers to those elusive whys.

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