The Bears have had just one winning season since they fired Lovie Smith after a 10-6 season in 2012, and they’ll try to reverse the franchise’s fortunes starting in 2022 with their fifth different head coach over the last decade. In a mild surprise, the Bears turned back to a defensive-minded head coach by hiring Matt Eberflus, even though Justin Fields’ development remains the franchise’s biggest priority over the next three to four seasons. Eberflus, 51, is a first-time head coach after coordinating Indy’s defenses the last four seasons under Frank Reich, and he’s handing Chicago’s offense to another first-time NFL playcaller in Luke Getsy.
Getsy last called plays in his late 20s at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) in the early 2010s, but he’s considered an up-and-coming offensive mind who’s spent most of the last decade with the Packers. He broke into the league under fellow Western Pennsylvania native Mike McCarthy starting in 2014, and he helped Davante Adams break out after a disappointing first two seasons in the league after being promoted to WRs coach in 2016-17. Getsy spent one season away from Green Bay over the last eight years, working as an offensive coordinator with his former Akron coach and longtime mentor Joe Moorhead at Mississippi State in 2018.
When Matt LaFleur took over for McCarthy with the Packers in 2019, one of his top priorities was to bring Getsy back as the QBs coach because of the relationship he built with Aaron Rodgers in 2014-17 — the two are separated in age by less than three months. Moorhead handled playcalling during his time with Getsy at Mississippi State, but LaFleur at least gave Getsy a taste of those duties during the preseason over the last three years. This season will be Getsy’s first without the four-time NFL MVP, and he has major work to turn around a Bears’ offense that ranked in the bottom 11 in scoring offense and total offense in each of the last three seasons under former HC Matt Nagy.
The Luke Getsy File
Playcalling Experience: IUP (2011-12), West Virginia Wesleyan (2009)
Other Coaching Experience: Packers passing game coordinator (2020-21), Packers QBs (2019-21), Mississippi State OC (2018), Packers WRs (2016-17)
Offensive Coaches Worked Under: Matt LaFleur (2019-21), Joe Moorhead (2018), Mike McCarthy (2014-17)
Notable: Akron QB who led the school to its first MAC Championship and first bowl appearance in 2005
Potential Offensive Changes
Nagy didn’t adapt his offenses enough to the dual-threat abilities of his two primary quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky and Fields during his four-year tenure in Chicago. Trubisky is expected to be one of the more coveted free agents this off-season after the league saw how Nagy also failed developing Fields last season. Nagy tried to jam a square peg into a round hole last season by failing to get Fields on the move more by calling a similar offense to the one that he ran when Andy Dalton was in the lineup. Getsy learned from two creative playcallers in LaFleur and Moorhead so there’s hope Chicago will have better offensive designs to create easier reads and throws for Fields. LaFleur worked under both Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay, and he’s run a blend of their two offenses over the last three years in Green Bay — his offenses have tilted more toward Shanahan’s offense. New GM Ryan Poles could tip off the direction of Getsy’s new offense in free agency and the draft, depending on if he prioritizes tight ends, H-backs, and fullbacks (LaFleur/Shanahan systems) or wide receivers (Moorhead/McVay/McCarthy systems) this off-season.
The Packers finished around the league average in pass rate in each of the last three seasons even with the NFL’s two-time reigning MVP at the trigger. It would make sense for the Bears to skew a little more run-heavy with a mobile but inexperienced second-year quarterback in Fields and with a defensive-minded head coach in Eberflus. Chicago finished 24th in pass rate (56%) last season but there’s reason to believe their passing game will be more creative with Getsy calling the plays over Nagy. Getsy worked under RPO guru Moorhead in 2018 and LaFleur let him install more RPOs into Green Bay’s offense last season. Green Bay went from 51 RPO calls in 2020 (16th-most) to 117 in 2021 (9th), and the Packers attempted 124 play-action passes last season (18th). Nagy and the Bears ran just 65 RPO plays (20th) and 98 play-action passes (31st) last season despite having a mobile QB who should’ve ideally been on the move more than he was as a rookie.
Players about whom we’re feeling more optimistic based on the playcaller changes.
Justin Fields (QB) — Fields’ decision-making should be simplified moving from Nagy’s offense in Year One to Getsy’s offense in Year Two. Getsy is expected to ramp up use of RPOs and play-action passes this season, which should ease the burden on Fields who struggled to make plays in the pocket in Nagy’s stagnant offense. Getsy was also credited with helping Rodgers get back into rhythm and playing within the structure of LaFelur’s offense in recent seasons after Rodgers began to improv way too much toward the end of McCarthy’s tenure.
Getsy also worked with Jordan Love behind the scenes the last two years so he has experience working with younger quarterbacks and not just MVP-caliber players. LaFleur took advantage of the last mobile quarterback he coached in Marcus Mariota back in 2018. He averaged 4.6 carries and 25.5 rushing yards per game in his lone season working with LaFleur in Tennessee. Fields actually initially committed to play at Penn State under Moorhead, one of Getsy’s other mentors. Fields eventually de-committed because he believed Moorhead would leave for a head-coaching opportunity, which he did five months later when he took the Mississippi State job in November 2017.
Moorhead described Getsy’s potential offense to The Athletic as an “RPO-based run game that takes advantage of a quarterback’s running skill set, combining that with a West Coast system that takes a ton of shots down the field.” Getsy’s potential offense sounds mighty appealing for fantasy, and Fields could go down as a major value at his current QB13/ninth-round price tag in early Underdog Best Ball drafts. Darnell Mooney also stands to benefit from a more efficient downfield passing attack.
Players whom we’re not ready to upgrade or downgrade, but their situations demand monitoring based on playcaller changes
David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert (RB) — Montgomery could be in a running back-friendly environment this season if Getsy runs a similar offense to the one LaFleur has run in Green Bay over the last three seasons. The Packers have been right around league average in pass rate during LaFleur’s time with the all-time great Rodgers at the helm. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Bears skew more run-heavy in Getsy’s first season with a work in progress at quarterback in Fields. The Bears finished ninth in run rate at 44% last season with Fields starting 10 games after they finished in the top 11 in pass rate in both 2019 (61%) and 2020 (62%).
The problem is Montgomery could find himself in more of a timeshare with Herbert this season if Getsy splits up the workload as the Packers did with Aaron Jones (59% snap share) and A.J. Dillon (43%) in 2021. Montgomery owned a 75% snap share last season while Herbert never played more than 30% of the snaps when Montgomery was in the lineup. I’ll feel better about Montgomery if the Bears load up on TEs and FBs this off-season and/or if he signs a contract extension before he starts the final year of his rookie contract in 2022. Herbert makes for an intriguing late-round flier since he should at least be a top handcuff this season, and he has room for growth if his role expands under the new coaching staff.