10 takes from Shane Waldron's introduction as the Chicago Bears offensive coordinator

Welcome, Shane Waldron. You’re the seventh offensive coordinator the Chicago Bears have hired since 2014.

"I'm looking forward to a group that can put together a great effort on the field, display great toughness, and then work well together," Waldron said. "We put together a staff that we feel like can really encapsulate all those traits, everything that we're looking for."

Here are 10 takeaways from Waldron’s introduction on Thursday.

1. It was ‘obvious’ he should join the Bears

Waldron was arguably the most sought-after offensive coordinator candidate on the market this offseason.

He had interviews with other organizations to lead their offense once Pete Carroll was officially not going to return as the Seahawks head coach.

In the week that followed that development, Waldron identified what he was looking for and it came together quickly.

"It became obvious pretty quickly where I wanted to take this thing and really go after this job," Waldron said. "Fortunate that it all worked out, and I'm totally appreciative of it."

2. Waldron understands what his first road challenge will be, aside from the quarterback

When it comes to putting the Bears offense together, the one major aspect still remains an unknown: the quarterback.

The Bears have to make that decision, and Waldron will have a hand in shaping that. Until then, he approached the next biggest challenge and that’s making sure the offense is on the same page.

"The first part for us was building a staff, getting everyone together," Waldron said. "But the first part of that is really speaking our language. What's the 2024 barriers going to look like in terms of how we're calling certain coverages? How are we calling routes? What concepts do we want to have as part of our core offense when we start OTAs? And we start with that building block approach as teachers. So that's the first part of it."

3. How much did Waldron talk about the quarterbacks in his interview?

When pressed about how much his interview processes revolved around either Justin Fields or a rookie quarterback leading his system, Waldron didn’t tip his hand much about what those conversations looked it.

Instead, Waldron talked about the conversation he had which focused about how he would approach either decision.

"A lot of the conversation on offense revolve around adaptability," Waldron said. "What can you do with different pieces of the puzzle depending on each year. Each year in this league is going to be its own individual year. And I think we pride ourselves on having an offensive system, a group of coaches that can adapt and adjust the scheme to the player's skillset."

4. Waldron believes his offense can work with any quarterback

Coming from Seattle, where Waldron went from Russell Wilson to Geno Smith in his second season as offensive coordinator, Waldron had to adjust.

Smith found success as a Pro Bowler under Waldon, resurrecting his career from a second-round pick with the Jets, to a journeyman and finally to being a starting quarterback in the league.

"Quarterbacks have been able to step foot into the system, be able to learn it quickly and that starts with us being able to teach it in a good and efficient manner where they understand it," Waldron said. "And then being able to go and, again, adjust. Because each guy's going to have a different skill set."

5. So, what does Waldron think of Justin Fields?

Waldron was asked about his evaluation of Fields. Waldron shied away from speaking on an individual player evaluation.

It wasn’t because he was dancing around the topic. It was because he hasn’t gotten there yet.

"Talking about individual evaluations, it's been much more to build the staff, build our base of what we're going to do," Waldron said. "We've started to get into our personnel with regard to really meet with the scouts and having that full evaluation of what our roster looks like."

6. Beyond that, has Waldron been in contact with Fields?

"We've exchanged messages," Waldron said.

There’s that.


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7. If there is a decision on the Bears’ quarterback position, there was no way Waldon would tip it Thursday

Waldron was asked about planning an offense when the quarterback wasn’t in place, even if he knew what the plan was or not.

He gave a smile at the back end of the question. We’re not going to read into what that means at all. 

Either way, any question about an individual quarterback, be it Fields or Caleb Williams, was met with some generalization. 

He didn’t dance around the questions. He just gave general answers. 

For Fields, he alluded to getting to learn more about him as the staff begins their evaluations. For Williams, whom he was specifically asked about, he talked about his explosive play but shifted towards evaluating Williams through the pre-draft process.

"When we start this afternoon with some of our draft process, then the combine kicks off," Waldron said. "To me, that's a chance to really dive into this and get going."

8. The chance to utilize two high draft picks stuck out to Waldron, but that didn’t seal the deal

Waldron is very aware the Bears have a chance to reshape the future of its offense.

With the No. 1 and No. 9 overall selections of the NFL Draft, the Bears could pick two immediate playmakers. That got Waldron’s attention, but what piqued his curiosity was the chance to meet members of the Bears staff.

"It just felt very comfortable very quickly with meeting those guys," Waldron said. "Then obviously having that piece of the draft puzzle where you get a chance to evaluate so many top players around the college game with those two high picks made it totally appealing."


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9. Every year was a step for Waldron’s growth

Moving on from Wilson to Smith was a shift across the NFL. For Waldron, he was able to shift his focus into seasons.

His first year as Seattle’s offensive coordinator was his first taste of play calling at a high level. It was a leap for Waldron.

"You don't know until you do it, and then once you've done it, been exposed to it, I think it's all about reps just like no different for a player," Waldron said. "You know, the more reps you accumulate, the more situations that are put in front of you, the more natural it becomes to react with a positive decision in those scenarios right there."

This past year, Waldron won with Smith and Drew Lock at quarterback. Those games, especially how he adjusted as a play caller, stick out.

"For me, I'll look back at this past season and take away the amount of game winning drives that we were able to accomplish and thinking about it from the calmness as a play caller in those scenarios," Waldron said.

10. OTAs will be a big time for Waldron

With so much in flux as far as the Bears’ roster goes, Waldron has an eye on specific time to get to know his players.

For him, that’s the Bears’ organized team practice activities, or OTAs. Those dates will be announced later in March 2024.

"For me as a coach coming in, the best chance to start developing those real relationships is when OTAs get going," Waldron said. "Being able to reach out to guys and just say hello, to introduce myself, get a chance to spend time with them, get them a chance to know our coaches, get a chance to know them outside of just football."

Once those relationships are set, the work begins.

"Then you get a chance to really coach them harder, coach them better understand how they work and how we would interact together," Waldron said.