Luke Getsy said from the start that his approach as the new Chicago Bears offensive coordinator is simple. There will be no definitive scheme to install. His job will be to assess the players on the roster and then craft a system that fits them best. Especially Justin Fields. This is a logical approach. Work to the strengths of your players. However, Getsy is like any other coach. He will lean on his past experience to build an offense that he thinks will work.
As an assistant, he has worked under many different coaches during his long career. None are more prevalent though than Joe Moorhead. The longtime college head coach helped Getsy ascend over the years, even hiring him as offensive coordinator at Mississippi State in 2018. So the Bears coordinator has a firm grasp on the type of offense that Moorhead ran. One that had tons of success in multiple locations. Most of it is based on the popular RPO (run-pass option) concept.
A lot of fans aren’t going to know exactly what that means.
Luckily someone stepped up to provide an idea. Alex Kirby is a football coach in Indiana who has doubled as a prolific author. He’s written multiple books over the years covering everything from The Greatest Show On Turf Rams to Bill Belichick, Nick Saban, and several different offenses making waves in both college and the NFL. Recently he’s been researching the Moorhead offense and provided a detailed explanation of the RPO concepts. Something we might soon be seeing with Fields a few months from now.
- Is there a free access throw? If yes, take it. If not, go to step 2.
- Is there a loaded box? If yes, change to pass protection and throw the pass called. If not, go to step 3.
- ID the “read” defender.
- Is he in a position to tackle the ball carrier around the line of scrimmage? If yes, throw to the perimeter. If not, run up the middle.
Joe Moorhead’s 4-Step progression on every RPO: pic.twitter.com/cbuNrPriG0
— Alex Kirby (@AlexJKirby) February 15, 2022
What stands out about this explanation is how organized it is. Step by step. Easy to understand. One of the worst things a coach can do is make things overly complicated for his quarterback. Fields should have no problem understanding his responsibilities on RPO plays with that approach. Given his obvious dual-threat abilities, this should instantly make the Bears’ offense more dangerous.
Luke Getsy won’t rely on just RPOs
He can’t, and he knows that. The NFL adjusts quickly. If the Bears were to lean on just a run-pass option offense, it wouldn’t take long for opposing defenses to deploy effective countermeasures. This is why Getsy figures to employ a hybrid system with multiple influences. RPOs as well as significant sections of the Shanahan-style offense that is all the rage in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Green Bay.
The idea of employing more RPOs is because Fields can run them well. His unique blend of mobility and arm strength makes him a dangerous threat in that type of offense. It puts defenders in a terrible bind. If they crash towards the run, the QB is free to either throw the ball or take off running himself. If they rush the QB, he can hand it off to the running back, who should have an open lane.
There is a reason this offense is so popular. It isn’t easy to stop.
What is so frustrating about 2021 is Fields only threw eight passes and executed 11 runs out of a run-pass option play. Matt Nagy and his staff never made a concerted attempt to install more such concepts in their offense. Even though those 19 plays picked up 137 total yards. Luke Getsy doesn’t figure to make the same mistake.