Packers, Vikings lament losing talented offensive coaches to rival Bears

As new Bears coach Matt Eberflus builds out his staff for Year 1, he scoops up OC Luke Getsy and QBs coach Andrew Janocko from within the NFC North.

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LaFleur is 39-10 in three seasons as Packers head coach.


LAS VEGAS — Packers coach Matt LaFleur knew when he hired Luke Getsy as his quarterbacks coach in 2019 that he wouldn’t be able to keep him for long. It was obvious Getsy was on his way up, and it was only a matter of time before another team lured him away.

You can imagine the F-bomb LaFleur must’ve dropped when that team was the Bears.

‘‘I would say I am going to wish him luck, just not too much luck,’’ LaFleur told the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘I said, ‘I’d be happy if you were coaching for 28 other teams.’ It’s always tough when you lose a guy in-division, but Chicago got a great coach in Luke Getsy.’’

Getsy, 37, landed his first NFL coordinator job a week ago, when new Bears coach Matt Eberflus picked him to lead the offense out of its prolonged funk. While Eberflus intends to have a significant say in the offense, he’s a defensive-minded coach, so Getsy is the most important hire he’ll make heading into his first season.

Not only has Getsy been given the task of redirecting an offense that scored the sixth-fewest points in the NFL this season, but he also has the ultra-important responsibility of helping Justin Fields become a franchise quarterback. Fields’ trajectory will have a bigger effect on this staff’s success than anything else.

Getsy seems like a smart pick. He got his start in the NFL as a quality-control coach for the Packers in 2014 and went on to work two seasons as their receivers coach and three as their quarterbacks coach. He also served as their passing-game coordinator the last two seasons.

The variety of assignments provided Getsy with a perfect course load to prepare for a coordinator job. It also helped that he spent the last three seasons as Aaron Rodgers’ position coach, which was mutually beneficial.

‘‘Think of how much they both learned from each other,’’ said Chargers Pro Bowl center Corey Linsley, who overlapped with Getsy for six seasons with the Packers. ‘‘I’d bet the house on him to advance Justin Fields and help him grow. I couldn’t think of a better guy to help a young quarterback grow.

‘‘He has a great grasp on every facet of the game. You could sit there and talk O-line play with him, you can talk passing game, play-action, whatever. Being in meetings with guys, you can tell who’s full of [garbage] and who’s not. And he’s absolutely not.’’

That’s part of what made it obvious to LaFleur he would lose one of his key coaches, a guy he said is ‘‘the complete package.’’

Beyond Getsy knowing technique and having a knack for deciphering defenses, LaFleur said he saw an exceptional ability to relate to players. Recognizing his potential, LaFleur handed play-calling duties to Getsy in preseason games last summer and got exactly what he expected.

‘‘Luke has been so ready for this opportunity for a really long time,’’ LaFleur said. ‘‘That was pretty evident in some of the preseason games, [with] his tempo and feel and being able to get the calls in crystal clear and being on the same page with the quarterbacks.’’

In an effort to bring Fields along after a rocky rookie season rife with the Bears’ self-sabotage, Getsy and Eberflus brought in Vikings quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko. Like Getsy, he has a well-rounded background that includes working with the offensive line, receivers and quarterbacks for the last seven seasons with the Vikings.

This season was Janocko’s first as quarterbacks coach, and he helped Kirk Cousins finish fourth in the NFL with a 103.1 passer rating. Cousins threw 33 touchdown passes and had the best season of his career interceptions-wise with only seven in 561 passes. Nobody at Halas Hall will have a closer working relationship with Fields than Janocko, and Cousins described him as an ideal guide for a young quarterback.

‘‘He was tremendous,’’ Cousins said. ‘‘He really reminded me to come to work every day with a mindset that you’re gonna take on hell with a squirt gun and still be positive. His energy, his enthusiasm and his passion for the game is contagious. It helped me as a player, and I think it’ll help their offense.’’

Janocko’s red-zone expertise also might help the Bears. That was one of his primary game-planning responsibilities for the Vikings, who finished ninth in red-zone touchdown percentage. The Bears were 30th.

While it’s going to take more than a solid coaching staff to turn the Bears’ offense around, this is a good start.

They’re still counting on new general manager Ryan Poles to fortify the offensive line and give Fields some better weapons in the passing game. Hopefully those upgrades and a clearer offensive plan will translate to a breakthrough.

But the Bears appear to have built a strong support system for Fields on the coaching side, and that’ll be essential in helping him turn the flashes of potential he showed this season into the sustained success that could change everything for the team.

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