Bears gear up the passing game

Bears gear up the passing game

Free Agents

Bears gear up the passing game

(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

2018 brings an all-new look for the Bears offense that starts at the top with the addition of head coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich. Nagy helped run the Chiefs offense for the last two seasons and even called the plays last year. Helfrich was the head coach of the Oregon Ducks for four years after Chip Kelly bolted for the NFL.

The Bears will feature the variation of the West Coast offense that Nagy employed in Kansas City. That means a pass-heavy attack and aggressive play calling. Mitchell Trubisky played with a weak set of receivers as a rookie thanks to injuries to Cameron Meredith, Kevin White and Zach Miller. The rookie quarterback struggled most of the year on an offense that had almost no firepower. That will change for 2018.

Trubisky is primed to take the next step in his development and the Bears are ensuring that he has the tools to succeed. Meredith returns after a promising 2016 campaign that saw him catch 66 passes for 888 yards and four scores including four games with more than 100 receiving yards. Former first-round pick White also is back in what should be his final chance to erase the “bust” moniker.

More importantly, the Bears added prized free agent Allen Robinson who is coming off a lost 2017 season when he tore his ACL during Week 1. Robinson had been as productive as 1400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015 and lands on a team hungry for a true No. 1 quality wideout.

Taylor Gabriel also came over from the Falcons and brings his 4.4/40 speed to stretch the defenses. Featuring Meredith and Robinson as starters and bringing in Gabriel for three-man sets is a tremendous upgrade over what Trubisky used as a rookie. Should Kevin White actually produce much, it would just be gravy now instead of a needed difference maker.

Zach Miller is gone after his devastating knee injury last year that almost saw him lose his leg. But Trey Burton came over from the Eagles where he mostly worked behind Zach Ertz. Burton is a capable receiver with over 20 catches the last two seasons and he caught five touchdowns in 2017. Adam Shaheen was the second-round pick in the last draft and while he only caught 12 passes as a rookie, he scored three times thanks to his 6-6 frame.

New coaches, better players and a year of maturity for both Trubisky and Shaheen mean good things for 2018. The offense started to implode even before the season started last year but this group promises to erase those bad memories. With a sound rushing offense already proven, the Bears are in a great situation to exceed expectations this year.

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