Shane Waldron is not as big of an upgrade over Luke Getsy as some fans think
The Luke Getsy era in Chicago was no doubt a failure. The offense failed to find any rhythm or consistency under Getsy. Now that he has been fired, the Bears have begun interviewing candidates for the offensive coordinator opening. The Bears have requested to interview Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. Many Bears fans online think Waldron would be a great choice as the new OC.
One of the positives Shane Waldron has on his resume is his experience with different types of quarterbacks. Starting with his time as the passing game coordinator with the Rams, Waldron worked directly with Jared Goff from 2018 to 2020 as the passing game coordinator.
After that season Waldron moved to Seattle and has worked with Russell Wilson, Geno Smith, and Drew Lock. The four QBs Waldron has worked with all have different strengths and skill sets. Waldron’s ability to be flexible and create somewhat effective offenses with each of them is a great sign.
Waldron has had limited success with a variety of different QBs to point to in his resume and has a more proven track record than Luke Getsy. These are both positive factors while looking for the next Bears OC. However, Bears fans should still be aware and cautious of some red flags in Shane Waldron’s history as an OC with Seattle. Especially before thinking he will come in and “save” the offense.
Statistically, Shane Waldron’s offense wasn’t much better than Getsy’s
The Seahawks offense had a similar 2023 to the Bears offense as far as statistics go. Which should already raise a few eyebrows.
All stats listed below come from football database unless otherwise specified
Seattle had the 21st offense (322.9) as far as yards per game goes, while the Bears had the 20th overall (323.2) yards per game.
The Seahawks scoring offense was only better than the Bears by a small margin. Seattle ranked 17th in the NFL with 21.4 points per game and Chicago was right behind at 18th with 21.2 points per game.
Seattle had the 5th highest pass percentage in the NFL with 995 total plays and 613 pass attempts. The Seahawks have had less that 1000 total plays in all 3 seasons under Shane Waldron. The least in the NFL each respective season.
2023 was a major downgrade in offensive production for Seattle compared to 2022. Such a drop in production should have Bears fans concerned about Waldron’s consistency as a conductor of an NFL offense.
The Seahawks offense has struggled to go on sustained scoring drives with Waldron at OC. Often leaning heavily on the deep passing game to result in quick touchdowns or field goals.
The Seahawks punted a total of 66 times in 2023, and the Bears had a total of 67 punts. Again, more stats showing similarities between the Bears and Seahawks offenses. Two offenses that struggled to put points on the board in key situations.
The stats don’t lie, Seattle and Chicago had very similar years on offense.
The statistical similarities between the two coordinators doesn’t inspire much confidence in Waldron being a potential Getsy replacement.
Another nugget of information to consider is that in 2022, Waldron’s best statistical season as a play caller, the Seahawks were very unsuccessful when executing screen passes. Yet Waldron continued to call them even when they resulted in negative plays consistently, sound familiar?
All stats come with context
All these stats do come with a caveat, the Seahawks are in a completely different situation than the Bears. The Bears are at a crossroads, trying to build up talent on offense. The defense was a question mark coming into the season. The Montez Sweat trade completely changed the energy and look of the defense, inspiring a late season turnaround into one of the top defensive units in the NFL.
The Bears have much less to work with on offense than Seattle, as far as weapons go. The Bears passing offense severely struggled if DJ Moore or Cole Kmet couldn’t get going. The Bears produced similarly to Seattle on offense in 2023 with less talent.
Seattle boasts an elite receiving core with all 1-3 wideouts being able to gash defenses on any play. The Seahawks primary running back Kenneth Walker III only missed 2 games all season. Yet Geno Smith and the offense visibly regressed in 2023 after a very strong 2022 campaign. One that earned Smith pro-bowl honors for the first time in his career. Is that regression more on Smith, or a predictable game plan from Shane Waldron?
Qualifications can be deceiving
While Waldron’s resume may look impressive on paper, lets remember what Getsy’s looked like when he first arrived in Chicago.
Luke Getsy was the passing game coordinator for two seasons. One of those seasons, 2021, he oversaw a late career resurgence for Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers won NFL MVP in 2021 and took the Packers to the NFC Championship game.
Clearly the Packers success in the Nathaniel Hackett and Luke Getsy era was due to Aaron Rodgers great play, not the offensive coaches schemes. We learned that once we saw Getsy in Chicago and Hackett in Denver.
So what’s to say that Shane Waldron’s one good year wasn’t just Geno Smith playing the best of his career? Instead of hiring off of one individual great season, think about if that success can be sustained. In 3 seasons with Seattle, Waldron has shown his offense is not sustainable.
What about wins?
How can Shane Waldron impact a teams winning potential?
With Shane Waldron at OC, the Seahawks are almost perfectly average as far as winning goes with a record of 25-26. That is significantly better than Luke Getsy, but ideally you want to win more than you lose.
A big factor in this just under .500 record is Seattle’s poor defensive form in the last 3 seasons. Seattle’s defense has been unable to protect leads in that time frame, and on many occasions caused the offense to play from behind.
Finally, anecdotal evidence
This is the least important form of evidence but it is worth discussing. The stats point to the Seattle offense being underwhelming, and it shows in the tape. Watching full game film of Seahawks games from 2023 will show an offense that struggles to put points on the board outside of homerun plays. drives frequently stall out short of field goal range. Seattle also struggled massively in the second half of games when defenses adjusted to their offensive game plan.
The Seahawks offense has way too much talent to be near the bottom in the league in scoring. If Shane Waldron was a top OC in the league he would be able to get consistent production out of the offense on a weekly basis.
While Waldron may not call as many poorly designed screens as Getsy, Shane Waldron will likely not massively improve the Bears offense like some fans predict he will.
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