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Waldron seeking effort, toughness, teamwork on offense

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During his introductory press conference, new Bears offensive coordinator Shane Waldron described the type of offense he envisions running in Chicago.

"I'm looking forward to a group that can put together a great effort on the field, display toughness and then work well together," Waldron said Thursday at Halas Hall.

"We put together a staff that we feel like can really encapsulate all those traits, everything that we're looking for, and with that, being adaptable. It's a game where things change, players change. Can we adapt? Can we overcome certain situations? And I feel like we have that."

Waldron, 44, boasts 10 years of NFL coaching experience. He spent the past three seasons as Seahawks offensive coordinator after working for the Rams as tight ends coach (2017), passing game coordinator (2018-2020) and quarterbacks coach (2019).

Waldron had other job opportunities but chose the Bears in part because they possess a talented group of core players as well as the No. 1 and No. 9 picks in the draft.

"The combination of those two things is really intriguing," Waldron said. "And then even furthermore than that was just even from the initial interview was that connection and interface between coach [Matt] Eberflus and [general manager] Ryan Poles and seeing a connected organization. You walk through the building, and you really feel like you get really excited about the direction that this thing is going."

Waldron told reporters Thursday that much of the conversation during two interviews with the Bears involved adaptability and placing players in the best positions to succeed.

"What can you do with different pieces of the puzzle depending on each year?" he said. "Each year in the league is going to be its own individual year. I think priding ourselves on having an offensive system, a group of coaches that can adapt and adjust the scheme to a player's skillset, it's our job first to be great leaders and second to put guys in the right position and the best position for their own individual success to lead to our team's success."

Waldron will be working with several familiar faces. He brought running backs coach Chad Morton, quarterbacks coach Kerry Joseph and assistant quarterbacks and receivers coach Robbie Picazo with him from the Seahawks and coached with passing game coordinator Thomas Brown with the Rams.

One of the staff's first joint tasks before players return for offseason workouts in April will be to determine which concepts they want to be part of their core offense.

"It's having a system that's speaking the same language, that's multiple in the ways it can attack a defense," Waldron said. "Then you start to get the players and start to know what your personnel is going to look like that season. Then you build it around a player's skillset. For me, that's been part of my core beliefs."

In Seattle, Waldron worked with quarterbacks Russell Wilson in 2021 and Geno Smith in 2022-23. Smith experienced a career resurgence in 2022, leading the NFL in completion percentage (69.8) and ranking fourth in touchdown passes (30), fifth in passer rating (100.9) and eighth in passing yards (4,282). He was named to his first career Pro Bowl and earned Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year honors.

"My experience with Geno was unbelievable," Waldron said. "It started with him as a player, and I think you talk in terms of what guys can learn from him was a unique ability to have a positive mindset no matter what the scenario was. When I got a chance to start working with him, there was an unwavering mindset that he was a starting quarterback in the NFL, which I think is a part of the thought process that every quarterback and every player in this league is going to have."

While the Bears' starting quarterback situation remains unresolved, Waldron is confident that whoever is in that role—whether it's veteran incumbent Justin Fields or a rookie chosen in the draft—will be able to operate the offense effectively.

"Different quarterbacks have been able to step foot into the system and be able to learn it quickly," Waldron said. "And that starts with us being able to teach it in a good and effective manner where they understand it, and then being able to go, 'just because each guy's going to have a different skillset, what direction does it go?' The players really take ownership and control of that."

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