Chicago Bears: What hiring Pat Shurmur would mean for Mitch Trubisky

Chicago Bears (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

If the Chicago Bears brought in the former New York Giants head coach to be their offensive coordinator, it could signal further support for Mitchell Trubisky.

Two years ago I wrote that Ryan Pace should hire Pat Shurmur to be the next head coach of the Chicago Bears. That was before he decided on Matt Nagy, and the Bears went 12-4 in his first season, while Shurmur struggled in his two years in New York with the Giants, resulting in his termination this offseason.

Thankfully, Ryan Pace did not listen to my recommendation, as Shurmur was a bit of a disaster as a head coach in New York, after going 9-23 in his first stint as a head coach with the Cleveland Browns.

However, as I reflect back on the reasons I liked Shurmur for the position, I realize that all of them would still apply if he were to be named the offensive coordinator.

Now, first of all, it’s unclear whether the Bears want to hire an offensive coordinator at all. If they do, there is no guarantee Shurmur would be an option, unless Nagy agreed to relinquish play-calling duties. However, if Pace and the rest of the organization truly believe in Mitch Trubisky, they might want to strongly consider doing just that.

In 2017, Shurmur was the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings that lost its starting quarterback, Sam Bradford. Case Keenum was thrust into the starting role and all the Viking did was go to the NFC Championship game. Keenum had a career year leading the 11th ranked passing offense in the league. He threw for 3,547 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions.

Part of how he did that was through establishing the 7th ranked rushing offense, carrying the ball 501 times for 1,957 yards. In doing so, Shurmur was able to hide a lot of Keenum’s deficiencies, which became exposed in Denver last season, and to an extent in Washington this year — though the Redskins had many more issues contributing to his failure.

As an offensive coordinator, he has proven he can design a game plan that helps cover up a quarterback’s warts while maximizing his talents. He did it with Keenum by designing a scheme that featured a lot of play-action passing and getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers. He realized Keenum’s limitations and worked around them.

While Trubisky may never be the elite quarterback you’d expect of the No. 2 overall pick, Shurmur might just be able to turn him into Keenum which could be enough to win with their defense. However, that will require the Bears to admit he is not the quarterback they thought he was and resign themselves to the fact that he is more of a game manager than a franchise quarterback.

dark. Next. Kellen Moore should be the Bears' next OC

So if the Bears end up hiring Shurmur to be their offensive coordinator, it could be the strongest signal yet that the organization is committed to Mitch. Of course, it could also just mean they plan to sign Keenum, who is a free agent.