With the Chicago Bears training camp set to begin in just two weeks, one of the more anticipating questions will be what new head coach Matt Nagy’s offense will look like. Nagy comes from Kansas City where once he was named the offensive coordinator for the team’s final five games. During that span the Chiefs offense averaged 26 points per game.
Last season, the Bears offense score only 26 points or more just once, the offense did, however, have a game plan similar to that of the Chiefs against the Green Bay Packers in week 10 and could be a guide to what to expect from the Bears this season.
Nagy’s offense relies on both deep and short passing patterns complimenting one another. The goal in the passing game is to provide the quarterback with as many options to either make a big play and if not there, to gain as many yards as possible to set up a manageable down on the next play. For instance, a wide receiver may have a 2o-yard deep route, but a running back or tight end can run a pattern of 10 yards or shorter to provide the quarterback a safe play to pick up the first down.
In Kansas City, quarterback Alex Smith thrived in this offense game plan as he could either go deep to wide receiver Tyreek Hill or check it down to either running back Kareem Hunt or tight end Travis Kelce. It worked as Hill averaged 15.8 yards per catch and both Kelce and Hunt combined for over 136 catches. Smith had Pro-Bowl season featuring a completion percentage of 67.5 and a quarterback rating of 104.7.
Against Green Bay in a 23-16 loss, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky completed 21 of 35 passes for 297 yards including a touchdown. he posted a quarterback rating of 97 and completed passes to seven different receivers. The game plan itself featured a mixture of short, intermediate, and deep passing route similar that of the Chiefs last season.
Trubisky attempted three passes of 20 yards or longer through the air and completed two of them for gains of 26 and 46 yards. The 26-yard pass was caught by Dontrelle Inman and it was a post out where Inman was running towards the sideline and away from Trubisky on an angle. The second pass which went for a touchdown to Josh Bellamy, was a fly pattern deep down the sideline in which Trubisky released the ball at his own 45-yard-line and Bellamy caught the pass in stride at Green Bay’s ten yard line running it in.
These two passes are the types of routes that were run by the receivers in Kansas City last season, the routes stretch the opposing defenses vertically and allow for short to intermediate routes to open up underneath. Against the Packers, The Bears had running back Tarik Cohen and Benny Cunningham, and tight ends Adam Shaheen and Daniel Brown run these underneath routes.
The four combined for eight catches against the Packers defense as all but one pass was thrown 10 yards or longer from the of the line of scrimmage. Of the four passes to running backs, one was a screen pass that went for 23 yards, one was a swing pass for four yards, two were swing passes out of the backfield, and the final one came with Cohen running a short out pattern out of the slot for 10 yards to pick up a first down.
The tight ends were used on short out patterns with 10 yards or short dig routes over the middle. Shaheen picked up 31 yards on a short bootleg pass from Trubisky and Brown picked up 16 yards on a pass over the middle where he was running near the first down marker.
Of Trubisky’s 297 passing yards, 114 were completed on eight passes to either a tight end or running back. While the two biggest plays to wide receivers accounted for 72yards and a touchdown. These numbers show that the Bears against the Packers, the coaching staff provided multiple passing targets to their young quarterback allowing him to chose where he wanted to throw the ball.
When the Bears start their slate of pre-season games, many can expect to see passing routes and designs similar to the Week 10 game from last season. Trubisky will be given the option to throw the ball deep to wide receivers Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, or Anthony Miller. If the play isn’t there, he can check the ball down to either Jordan Howard, Trey Burton, Cohen, or Shaheen to create positive gains. Nagy’s offense will feature a lot of run-pass options which will provide further control and options to his second-year quarterback which could lead to a lot of offensive success.