It was a genuine shock when Pete Carroll stepped down as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, ending a 14-season run that was by far the most successful in franchise history. It was an additional shock when they allowed the entire coaching staff to seek employment elsewhere if they wished. That included offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, who’d done such a good job elevating quarterback Geno Smith over the past two years. Barely 48 hours after the news dropped, the Chicago Bears had him in for an interview about their vacated offensive coordinator position.
Fast forward a week, and the two sides came together on a deal. Waldron would officially replace Luke Getsy in Chicago, likely gaining the opportunity to coach presumptive #1 pick Caleb Williams. That may have been the decisive argument in luring him to Chicago, but it wasn’t the only one. It was the Bears’ aggressive approach and their willingness to act fast. Albert Breer of the MMQB told NBC Sports Chicago that Waldron was a target for several teams around the league. Had the Bears dragged their feet, it’s almost certain his market would’ve spiked.
“I think one thing the Bears did that was really smart is they got ahead of the market,” Breer said. “A lot of other teams went through a longer process– Pittsburgh, New Orleans, New England– and by being aggressive and by identifying who they wanted and by going and getting him, I think they did as well as anybody. I mean, Shane Waldron was– I don’t want to use the word coveted, but he was coveted. And I think if you let that thing play out four, five, six days more, then there’s a pretty good chance that Shane Waldron has three or four offers.“
Shane Waldron has a chance to build a rare legacy in Chicago.
Few offensive coordinators in franchise history had any success elevating the quarterback position here. One was Ed Hughes, who oversaw the best years of Jim McMahon in the 1980s. The other was Ron Turner, who got a franchise record season from Erik Kramer in 1995 and a Super Bowl run from Rex Grossman in 2006. That is the kind of history Waldron is up against. The good news is he should have enough quality pieces to work with. D.J. Moore and Cole Kmet are great weapons for a young quarterback. The offensive line improved considerably last year and might be a center away from top-10 status.
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If Shane Waldron helped elevate Williams or whoever the Bears draft to early success, there is no doubt he will have a head coaching job within the next two years. Better still, the team has positioned themselves to have a replacement ready with the hiring of passing game coordinator Thomas Brown. It feels like this entire process was so much more well-thought-out than two years ago. Chicago got somebody everyone else wanted. That has to bode well for what is to come.