Mark Helfrich

Bears Rumors: Daniels, Robinson, Helfrich

Looking to sport at least two Day 1 starters from this 2018 draft class, the Bears also believe they acquired two first-round-caliber talents in April. Chicago brass placed a Round 1 grade on Iowa center James Daniels, whom the Bears selected at No. 39 overall.

We had him as a first-round player,” Bears director of player personnel Josh Lucas said during an episode of Meet the Rookies (via Bryan Perez of NBC Sports Chicago). “You never know. Every team’s going to have different flavors with interior linemen. It’s just one of those things that you hope he’s there. But based on our grades, based on where we saw the top 32 players in the draft, we definitely weren’t anticipating him being there.”

The Warren, Ohio, native served as the Hawkeyes’ starting center for the past two seasons before declaring for the draft after his junior year. However, the Bears plan to use him at left guard to replace Josh Sitton, per Perez. Cody Whitehair will make the transition back to center full-time. He served as Chicago’s snapper in 16 games as a rookie in 2016 but saw action at both center and guard in 2017.

Here’s the latest from the Windy City:

  • In recovering from the torn ACL that ended his 2017 season and his time with the Jaguars, Allen Robinson did not take part in most of the Bears’ offseason work. However, the former Pro Bowl target is expected to be full go by the time the Bears convene for camp July 19, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com reports. Robinson will be playing on a $14MM-per-year contract and will be essential to Chicago’s passing attack from Day 1, provided he can shake off the knee injury.
  • On the subject of Bears receivers, Taylor Gabriel, not Robinson, will be slotted at the position that Tyreek Hill plays in this scheme, Perez notes. Although Robinson delivered dominant work on deep balls with Blake Bortles in a breakout 2015 season, Gabriel profiles as the player who more closely resembles Hill on this new-look receiving corps. He’s twice averaged more than 16 yards per reception in a four-year career.
  • Chicago’s new offense won’t just be an NFC version of Andy Reid‘s. While Chiefs viewers who find their way to Bears games on Sundays will see familiar concepts, Matt Nagy‘s attack will also contain elements from OC Mark Helfrich‘s former Oregon offenses, Mitch Trubisky said (via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, on Twitter). The 2017 No. 2 overall pick said the Bears’ new offense is more complex than he’s accustomed to, so it will be interesting to see how the North Carolina product looks with a mostly new cast of pass-catchers. With the Chiefs using plenty of college concepts in recent years, and the Bears hiring a former college HC, Trubisky could be piloting one of the more unique offenses in the NFL this season.

Bears Hire Mark Helfrich As OC

Matt Nagy‘s staff is starting to come together. The Bears have hired former Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich to be their new offensive coordinator, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Bears’ offensive scheme figures to be a mix of the west coast offense and the spread offense, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. That’s roughly the style that Nagy employed in Kansas City. Mark Helfrich (vertical)

Helfrich has been out of football since he was fired by Oregon in November of 2016. In his first two seasons (2013-2014), the Ducks went a combined 24-4. Unfortunately, in 2015, his team failed to win ten games for the first time since 2007. In his final year, Oregon went 4-8 – the program’s worst record in a quarter century.

Helfrich’s resume includes the grooming of some solid young quarterbacks, including Marcus Mariota. In 2015, Helfrich and Mariota reached the College Football Playoff National Championship game. The now Titans QB also won the Heisman trophy.

Nagy and Helfrich are both represented by agent and former Bears defensive lineman Trace Armstrong, which could explain how the two men came together.

Nagy will be charged with turning around a franchise that has sagged in recent years. The Bears went 5-11 last year and have missed the playoffs in ten of the last eleven years. The Bears’ last playoff berth came was in 2010.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.