Saturday, May 18, 2024

Chicago Bears Bring Back Remnant Of 2006 To Solve Injury Crisis


In 2004, the Chicago Bears suffered an uncanny array of injuries that torpedoed their season. Several started missed multiple games, and some were lost for the season. Brian Urlacher missed seven games. Mike Brown missed 14. The list was long. So in 2005, the team hired a new strength and conditioning coach, bringing Rusty Jones over from Buffalo. The injury woes evaporated almost instantly, and the Bears won the division.

Next to the great Clyde Emrich himself, Jones is widely regarded as the best strength coach the organization ever had. Now it seems the team aims to put his protege in that same job 17 years later. The Bears announced on Friday that Jim Arthur would take over the strength and conditioning department for the departed Joe Loscalzo. Arthur was the right-hand man of Jones from 2006 to 2013. He stayed two more years through 2015 before leaving for the Miami Dolphins in 2016.

This opportunity was a long time coming for Arthur.

He’s been an assistant strength coach for well over a decade. At 43-years old, he is well-prepared for this opportunity. It is somewhat fitting that the Bears are the team to give it to him. Their new GM Ryan Poles worked with him briefly during 2008. Poles was an undrafted free agent offensive lineman out of Boston College at the time. It seems the young coach made a favorable impression on the future executive.

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This also feels like another step by the organization to further modernize. Poles came in with a reputation for embracing old school scouting and the latest analytics trend. He brought that same mentality to the strength and conditioning department too. Brent Salazar arrived to take over as director of high performance. His job will be helping to open up the sports science possibilities at Halas Hall. Something Arthur figures to champion as well.

Arthur can help solve Chicago Bears’ injury issues

Football is a physical sport. Injuries are inevitable. That is just the way the league works. However, the difference between good and bad teams is often those that can avoid unnecessary ailments. Soft tissue injuries like hamstrings, groins, calves, and the like. The Bears saw seven players miss at least one game in 2021 due to a soft tissue injury. Among them were Allen Robinson, Akiem Hicks, and Eddie Jackson.

By contrast, the Dolphins where Arthur just came from had three such cases. This was a trademark of the Jones years. The Chicago Bears avoided lesser injuries, allowing their best players to stay on the field more often. When that happens, the team tends to win. Arthur was present for four winning seasons in Chicago, including two NFC championship appearances and a Super Bowl berth.

He has learned from some of the best.

While he still has plenty to prove given this is his first promotion in over a decade, the experience is there. If he brings the same ideas to Chicago as Jones did with some modern flavors mixed in, this team should be a lot healthier moving forward. It might be a small addition, but it’s an important one.

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