One could argue the Bears are in the best position to improve their roster across the entire league. They have the first overall pick in a top-heavy draft and a boatload of money (they have the eighth-most available cap space) to burn this offseason. While we will have to wait to see how they shape the roster, the first domino of the offseason fell when they axed former offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. They wasted no time finding his replacement, as they promptly went to work interviewing a formidable list of quality candidates. They eventually landed on Shane Waldron, who has been Seattle’s offensive coordinator since 2021.

Naturally, with a massive decision looming over the quarterback position, many attempted to read the tea leaves to decipher what each candidate meant for their plan at the position. While some names hinted at going the Caleb Williams approach (Kliff Kingsbury), others pointed to potentially moving forward with Justin Fields (Greg Roman). Waldron, on the other hand, could conceivably be an ideal hire for either quarterback, as he helped both of his QBs in Seattle (Russell Wilson and career backup Geno Smith) get to the Pro Bowl despite their knack for holding on to the ball too long, which is arguably both Fields and Williams’ biggest weakness.

Waldron was at the top of many people’s list of candidates for the offensive coordinator position, and there is a good reason that is the case. His resume is elite. He spent time with New England throughout the first half of their dynasty era before expanding his resume at the collegiate level. From there, he rejoined the league as a member of the Washington Commanders (formerly Redskins) well-documented coaching staff in 2016. While much of the staff got poached by then, he was still the offensive quality control coach under offensive coordinator Sean McVay, who he would follow to Los Angeles the following year.

McVay has proven to be one of the league’s best offensive minds since becoming the Rams head coach, and many teams have attempted to follow their lead in signing young innovative coordinators since they struck gold with the signing. A few coaches from his initial staff, including Matt LaFleur and Zac Taylor, have already found success leading their own teams. Waldron has also received interest in open coaching positions but has gotten passed over thus far.

One of the best aspects about Waldron is that he has coached a variety of offensive schemes. He spent one year as the tight ends coach with the Rams before expanding his role as their passing game coordinator from 2018 to 2020. LA had a balanced approach early in his tenure before developing into more of a pass-heavy approach once Todd Gurley’s career took a nosedive. He also adapted to Seattle’s run-heavy approach after becoming the offensive coordinator there in 2021 before reviving Geno Smith’s career and developing a more balanced approach.

Flexibility is vital for coaches (especially those in charge of play-calling duties), and the good ones adapt their schemes to fit their player’s skill sets. Waldron has proven capable of doing that. While the results were not always there in the win/loss column, he has consistently thrived where Getsy, and practically all of Chicago’s previous lame-duck offensive coordinators (it’s a star-studded list) failed. He knows how to get the most out of his best players by putting them in positions to succeed.

Waldron’s full impact is still a complete unknown, but it feels safe to assume pre-snap motion will be a bigger part of the Bears’ offense moving forward. Many Bears fans thought we might see more of that under Getsy (considering he learned under LaFleur in Green Bay), but his inexperience as a first-time play-caller became obvious far too often. When times got tough, he ran a screen. When we needed a yard on third-and-one, he called a pitch. Those repetitive signs shouldn’t be an issue with Waldron, as he has called plays in the past and has shown that he can do so effectively.

Finally, Waldron is also a former tight end (and has coached the position multiple times throughout his career), and he has shown a knack for getting the most out of the position through two tight end sets. In his six seasons as passing game coordinator and offensive coordinator, his teams have averaged a combined (usually with two tight ends splitting the brunt of the work) 919 yards through the air at the position. This is something to keep an eye on as the offseason progresses, as Kmet is currently their only proven threat at tight end, so they will probably be looking to add one more capable pass-catcher there.

It seems as though the Bears might be slowly becoming a destination right before our eyes. Despite having several options, Waldron chose to take his talents to the Windy City. While the front office still has a slew of questions left to answer this offseason, they passed the first test with flying colors. Nearly every team across the league is looking to integrate the McVay offense into their scheme, and the Bears just added a direct descendent of it.

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