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Bears will seek explosive athletes to boost offense

Matt Eberflus and Ryan Poles

One of the most pressing challenges that new Bears general manager Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus will face is revitalizing a struggling offense.

Under the previous regime the past four seasons, the Bears ranked ninth, 29th, 22nd and 27th in scoring and 21st, 29th, 26th and 24th in total yards.

"We want an attacking, effort-based offense that has great mental focus and intensity, and we're going to measure every single one of those," Eberflus said during Monday's introductory press conference at Halas Hall. "Taking care of the ball is the most important thing and then being smart in our situations, being smart pre-snap, post-snap and understanding the game of football, and it's our job as coaches to educate that."

It's no secret that the development of promising young quarterback Justin Fields is key to the Bears sustaining success. Last season, the 2021 first-round pick showed flashes of the dazzling dual-threat ability he displayed at Ohio State, but he also committed some costly rookie mistakes.

Other key skill-position players under contract with the Bears through at least 2022 include running back David Montgomery, receiver Darnell Mooney and tight end Cole Kmet.

"There's always talented players in every organization, and that's especially true here," Poles said. "I'm excited to have Justin and put him in position to succeed and get players in the building who are going to help amplify his ability."

Eberflus provided a snapshot of the type of players the Bears will seek to help them put the ball in the end zone.

"Explosive athletic ability is one of the traits we are looking for," Eberflus said. "That equals chunk plays on offense and it equals stopping chunk plays on defense. If you want to score points, you have to get chunk plays and big plays. That's how you score. And how you eliminate scores is you eliminate those plays. That comes down to the athletes we are bringing in here."

Eberflus pointed to a play in Sunday's AFC Championship Game that was made by Bengals running back Samaje Perine, who turned a screen pass into a 41-yard touchdown in Cincinnati's 27-24 overtime win over the Chiefs.

"You saw it last night, throwing a quick screen and it's blocked well, but you can see the athlete on the perimeter take that all the way to score a touchdown," Eberflus said. "That's what we are looking for and what we are going to do with the selection of the players, the development of the players and the scheme."

Don't be surprised if Poles—a guard at Boston College who signed with the Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2008—takes a long look at the offensive line.

"I think it starts with the foundation of the offensive line and establishing that run game, which then leads to explosive plays," Poles said. "We have to continue to work on that, get that to a level and I think you will see more points scored and more efficiency, more explosive plays. Everything plays off that, so that's going to be a focal point."

The Bears on Sunday hired Luke Getsy as their offensive coordinator. He arrives after spending the last three seasons as Packers quarterbacks coach while also serving as Green Bay's passing game coordinator in 2020-21.

Under Getsy's tutelage, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is expected to win a second straight NFL MVP award this season. In 2020, Rodgers led the league and set team records with 48 touchdown passes and a 70.7 completion percentage, and his 121.5 passer rating was the second best in a season in NFL history. In 2021, Rodgers threw for 4,115 yards with 37 TDs, four interceptions and a league-best 111.9 rating.

Getsy originally entered the NFL with the Packers, working as an offensive quality control coach (2014-15) before being promoted to receivers coach (2016-17). He then left Green Bay to serve as offensive coordinator and receivers coach at Mississippi State in 2018 before returning to the Packers in 2019.

"During the course of your time in the NFL—13, 14 years now in the league—you look at certain offenses, certain styles," Eberflus said. "You look at the tree of which certain people come from, and then you look and see how they operate. I'm big into metrics and measuring how people operate in terms of their efficiency, and they have certainly been that where he's been.

"And then you start calling around and asking about the man, and that's where Luke is special. He's special that way. He's tough, innovative, smart and works well with team. He's a big team guy. I'm excited about where he is. He's been on my radar for a while."

While Eberflus' coaching background is on the defensive side of the ball, he'll also be involved with the Bears offense.

"A lot of times when you talk about offense, you talk about plays," Eberflus said. "You always hear that 'this play was wrong, that play was wrong.' To me, it's about concepts. We're going to install the concepts in the spring … run concepts, pass concepts, play-action concepts, screens; everything that goes along with running an offense.

"I've been defending offenses for 30 years. It's going to be my input with Luke and the rest of the offensive staff about a dual education: 'What are the defensive guys looking at in terms of, 'this is hard on us, this is not hard on us.' I'm excited about having those conversations."

Get an exclusive look inside the Bears practice facility at GM Ryan Poles & coach Matt Eberflus signing their contracts, meeting the Chicago media and making their way through their first days on the job.