Matt Nagy is hiring Bill Lazor as new Bears offensive coordinator, replacing Mark Helfrich, who was fired on Dec. 31 after two seasons.
Lazor has four years of coordinating experience at the NFL level, most recently in 2018 with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he spent 2016-18 helping in the development of three-time Pro Bowler and potential free agent QB Andy Dalton. Lazor coordinated the Miami Dolphins in 2014-15, working with Ryan Tannehill, who set records for completions in a season (392) and eclipsed 4,200 passing yards.
The well-traveled Lazor, a former three-year star QB at Cornell University, has been an NFL quarterbacks coach in Cincinnati (2016), Philadelphia (2013), Seattle (2008-09) and Washington, cutting his coaching teeth under Dan Reeves and Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, in addition to former Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Holmgren.
Lazor's new role in Chicago is likely to be a hybrid between QB coach and offensive coordinator, as Nagy has given no indications he intends to cede play calling despite a major step backward on offense last season, when the Bears ranked 29th in points scored. It's worth noting that Lazor has no connections to the Andy Reid tree, from which Nagy found Bears new O-line coach Juan Castillo last week. Though Nagy is expected to keep calling plays, Lazor will bring a fresh set of eyes scheme-wise to Halas Hall, including spread and Air Coryell experience.
Lazor, 47, was named Bengals interim offensive coordinator in Week 3 of the 2017 season and helped spark a slumping Dalton and Bengals offense that had been shut out in its first two games. Under Lazor's guidance, Dalton tossed 25 touchdowns against eight interceptions in the final 13 games, when the offense averaged 20.1 points.
Following a solid start to the 2018 campaign for Lazor's Bengals offense, injuries marred the unit, contributing to the franchise's decision to replace Lewis with Zac Taylor. Under the rookie head coach in 2019, they went 2-14, benching Dalton en route to being awarded the No. 1 overall pick, which is fully expected to be spent on a quarterback.
There was already plenty of dot connecting between Dalton — who has no remaining guaranteed money on his contract but can offer Cincinnati $19M in cap relief via his release — and the Bears, who remain committed to No. 2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky despite his stark Year 3 regression yet don't have any other quarterbacks under contract.
Dalton, 32, holds several Bengals franchise records, including passing yards in a season (4,293) and career passing TDs (204).
In his first year as a coordinator in Miami, Joe Philbin's final full season in 2014, the Dolphins ranked 11th in scoring and Tannehill threw a career-high 27 touchdowns. However, in Lazor's other two complete seasons as coordinator — Miami in 2015 and Cincinnati in 2018 — the Dolphins ranked 27th and 17th, respectively.