Much has been changed in the Chicago offense under the direction of coach Marc Trestman and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer, nothing more that what amounts to a complete change in one of core underpinnings of what the Bears do with the football.
Where once “balance” was a goal and directive for the offense under Lovie Smith, the Bears have become unequivocally a pass-first offense; play calls through six games have been 62 percent pass plays.
The fundamental difference: Where the previous administration talked about, sought and won with balance, Trestman does not see that as axiomatic to success, but rather more as coincidence if it so happens.
“I’ve never talked about balance,” Trestman pointed out. “I don’t think it’s significant. I think what’s most important – I’ve said it from the beginning – is scoring touchdowns and moving the football…
“We have a guy [Matt Forte] who we feel good about running the football. We feel our line is good run-blocking, but I’ve never felt run-pass ratio was necessarily the most important thing.”
[Week 6 Bears grades: Wide receivers]
In a 10-6 season last year, the Bears had eight games in which they ran the ball as many or more times than they passed it. Through six games this season, they have yet to run more than the 46.6 percent they did in the 40-23 win at Pittsburgh.
The change has come about despite:
· Breaking out to a 4-2 record and being in traditional “run the ball” situations in all four of the victories. Going into the fourth quarters of their wins, the Bears trailed Cincinnati by only four points, were tied with Minnesota and led Pittsburgh and the New York Giants;
· Offensive line coach Aaron Kromer also as offensive coordinator.
Clearly the Bears will run the football; they did not draft Kyle Long and Jordan Mills and go into free agency for Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson solely for pass blocking. Forte has averaged more than 100 combined yards per game, including an average of 71.2 rushing yards per game, which is nearly what Brandon Marshall (72.7) averages.
[Week 6 Bears grades: Offensive line]
“We are evolving,” Trestman said. “We need to continue to work our ‘movement package.’ Continue to develop play-action off of what we’re doing running the football. I think that’s pretty much what every team does, and we’re no different.”