Bears hiring Shane Waldron as next OC

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Source: Bears hiring Shane Waldron as next OC originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Bears’ exhaustive search for their next offensive coordinator has come to an end.

After almost two weeks of interviews, the Bears plan to hire former Seattle offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago. NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero was first to report the news Monday morning.

Waldron spent the last three seasons as the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive coordinator. The 44-year-old worked with both Russell Wilson and Geno Smith. He played a crucial role in helping Smith win Comeback Player of the Year in 2022.

Waldron previously spent four seasons coaching under McVay with the Rams as the passing game coordinator, quarterbacks coach, and tight ends coach.

In three seasons in Seattle, Waldron’s offense ranked 12th in EPA per play, 13th in success rate, eighth in EPA per rush, and ninth in EPA per dropback. The Seahawks’ offense ranked fifth in yards per play, fifth in explosive run percentage, and ninth in explosive pass play rate.

Waldron’s units have been good in converting first downs into a new series (2nd in the NFL) but struggled in the red zone (51.5 percent touchdown rate) and on third down (38.5 percent conversation rate).

After firing offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, Bears general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus said they would be looking for a candidate who is a “great teacher,” “adaptable,” able to “create explosives,” and “innovative.

Waldron seems to check all of those boxes. He comes from the favored Shanahan tree — an offense that uses the run game to stretch the field horizontally and open up windows in the passing game. The quarterback-friendly scheme prioritizes getting the ball to playmakers in space to prioritize yards after catch.

Eberflus hired Getsy because he believed the Green Bay Packers’ scheme — also an offshoot of the Shanahan tree — was the most difficult offense to prepare to stop. Getsy never delivered on the promise to engineer a similar offense.

Waldron was  seen as a strong candidate for the job from the beginning. He was the first to interview for the job but the Bears interviewed eight other candidates before landing on Waldron.

With Waldron now on board, the Bears now turn their full attention toward their looming quarterback decision. Poles said he believes Justin Fields can lead the Bears, but owning the No. 1 pick via the Carolina Panthers presents the franchise with a unique opportunity.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams is the prize of the 2024 NFL Draft, with most scouts viewing him as a “generational” passer who will be hard to pass on.

Williams is doing his pre-draft training with Rich Scangarello. Williams met Scangarello through QB collective, a pro-style invitational camp for elite high school prospects. Waldron, along with most of the notable names from the Shanahan tree, also has worked with QB collective.

The Bears said their OC interview process would ask the candidates how they’d plan to design offenses around quarterbacks with different skill sets.

Waldron apparently aced that test and now will play a key role in evaluating helping Poles and Eberflus plot the Bears quarterback course going forward.

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