The Chicago Bears always seem to hatch a surprise when you least expect it. Tom Herman was the head coach at Texas since 2017. During that time he went 32-18 while undefeated in bowl games and going 7-3 this past season. While it wasn’t the huge jump back to national relevance the program hoped for, nobody could call it a failure. He was a significant improvement over Charlie Strong. Clearly, that wasn’t good enough.

Even so, nobody likely thought Herman would have trouble getting a job somewhere else. Especially as an offensive coordinator. Something he’s had success at for several years at multiple schools including Rice, Iowa State, and Ohio State. Somebody would’ve pounced on the guy. So for him to take an offensive analyst/special projects job with the Bears is plenty interesting.

Is he just ready for a new challenge and a fresh start?

Or did the Bears make him a sales pitch he couldn’t refuse? There is no way to know for sure. However, Albert Breer of the MMQB had some interesting comments in a recent column. He interviewed Herman back in 2016 and has a keen understanding of how the coach thinks. When hearing his philosophy, it does make sense he’d be drawn to somebody like Matt Nagy.

“We have a saying around here, I got it from Coach [Urban] Meyer, ‘Anybody can teach cover-two or zone-reads.’ There’s a million coaches out there that can teach that. There are. It’s not that hard. So what separates our program and our coaches and myself from the rest of the country is that connection with the player and how much we love our players.” And so now, a few years later, with his stock in a very different place, he’s moved to the pros. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes, because back then he was seen very much as an innovator, both in how he built his program and how he ran his offense.”

Herman’s offensive philosophy has come to be called “smashmouth spread.” Essentially he likes to employ a system that features downhill running but from the shotgun-spread formation. There is a lot of play action (often from run-pass options) and vertical strikes down the field. It’s little wonder the Bears were drawn to him. That is the type of offense they’ve wanted to run in various ways since Nagy arrived.

Tom Herman role on the Bears staff is uncertain

By the sound of things, the team brought him in as another part of their thinktank approach. Somebody who can continue to help hone and craft the Bears offensive scheme. This would make sense since they just lost Dave Ragone to Atlanta. He was reportedly one of their best play designers. Particularly in the passing game. Herman can help fill that void.

Also according to a source, GM Ryan Pace was a big proponent of this move. He’s been an admirer of Tom Herman going back years. No surprise given his deep college roots as a former scout. The Bears view this move as the acquisition of an asset. One that could pay off both in the short and long-term depending on how the quarterback question shakes out in the next two months.

It’s worth noting something.

His style of offense would be perfect fits for Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson. Both can run. Both work well from the shotgun in a spread system. That may sound like a reach and it probably is. Still, just keep that in the back of your mind. This move was made for a reason. One that could hold greater significance than anybody realizes.

One thing about Herman in college? He made a lot of people money on the sports gambling circuits. If you think he can have a similar impact in Chicago, then you have to check out PointsBet. It’s partnered with the Chicago Bears and the promo code Mockery gets people two risk-free bets up to $2000.