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After the Bears' embarrassing Prime Time loss to the Commanders a few weeks ago, I hopped onto my blog to complain about the team's offensive design philosophy and play-calling, and called for the Bears to either fire their offensive coordinator, or trade Justin Fields in exchange for a better pocket-passing quarterback. I also outlined my opinions for the types of plays that I thought the Bears should be running with Justin Fields.

Now, I admit, I'm not a football coach. I don't think I'm knowledgeable enough about football to actually be a coach -- at least not at anything above the high school or pee wee level. I'm no football genius over here. I would be fully willing to admit that the Bears could probably try what I recommended, and they'd still suck, and it would just prove that I have no clue what I'm talking about.

But starting with the Patriots game the following week, the Bears have been doing almost exactly what I recommended that they do. And it didn't make the offense incrementally better; it made the offense considerably better. The Bears came out in that Patriots game, and almost right from the start, they were running designed bootleg and rollout passes, read options, designed quarterback runs, and play action. They've also been incorporating a heavy dose of screen passes to their speedy wide receivers to help make up for their mediocre route-running. Ever since implementing these changes, the offense has looked genuinely good. The Bears have almost doubled their points per game, from 16.7 points per game in the first 6 weeks, to over 31 points per game in the three games since.

Justin Fields rollout vs Patriots
Photo credit: NBC Sports
The Bears have recently started executing an offensive gameplan closer to what I expected from the team.

If the Bears' coaches had been calling these sorts of plays, and getting this level of execution from the start of the season, they might actually still be in the playoff hunt. This average of over 30 points per game would have been enough to beat every opponent in those first 6 weeks. If the offense were playing like this early in the season, the Bears would definitely have beaten the Commanders, probably would have beaten the Giants, and might have been able to eke out wins against the Packers or Vikings. Instead of being 3-6, being mostly out of playoff contention, and trading away 2 of their 4 best defensive talents in exchange for draft capital, the Bears could potentially be 5-4 (or maybe even 6-3) and looking to acquire veteran talent to make their own playoff push.

Roquan Smith crying
Photo credit: Bleacher Nation
Several elite defenders were traded away.

I want to emphasize that the Bears' offensive personnel hasn't changed much. I don't think the players are playing particularly better on the field either. Almost all of the difference in offensive outcomes seems (to me) to be the result of changes in play design and play-calling. It's all coaching. This is still a young team. They're making a lot of mistakes. The conservative play-calling of the first half of the season was only serving to exacerbate those mistakes and the lack of experience on the field by refusing to take advantage of the raw talent available at the quarterback position and elsewhere.

This begs the question: if the Bears' current play design and play-calling is proving so effective, why the heck weren't they doing this all along? Why were they so conservative and afraid of letting Justin Fields run keepers or get out of the pocket by design? Did they just not have this stuff installed in the playbook yet? But if so, then why wasn't this some of the first stuff that they put in the playbook? Why did this seem so obvious to everybody else, but not to the Bears' coaching staff? Commentators, analysts, and even stupid fans like me could see it, but the coaches being paid millions of dollars in salary were blind to it?

Sadly, I don't have an answer to any of that, and I don't think we're going to get one from the coaching staff.

Montgomery and Herbert
Photo credit: Elijah Harris, Chicago Bears
The Bears should put Montgomery and Herbert
on the field at the same time.

If I have any more advice to the Bears coaching staff, it would be to do the one thing in my previous blog post that they haven't started doing yet. Which would be to start putting together offensive packages that put both David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert on the field at the same time. Now that Fields is established as a running threat, defenses are going to start keying on him. Adding yet another running threat to the backfield would just further stress defenses and prevent them from being able to key explicitly on Fields. If the defense is going to stay home to play Fields on keepers, then the Bears could shift towards more of a triple option look and allow him to pitch the ball off to Herbert or Montgomery (whoever isn't the dive read).

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