Shea Speaks

Terry Shea spoke with the media Wednesday night upon accepting the offensive coordinator position with the Bears. The following is a transcription of the interview.

How well does the Bears' personnel fit what you like to do offensively?
"In terms of the Bears' offensive personnel, I had a great opportunity to go through each player with Jerry (Angelo) during my visit to the Bears' office, so that's as much as I really know about each Bear in terms of position breakdown. When you're working in the NFL, you tend to evaluate your opponent from your side of the ball, so consequently all of my evaluation during the course of the season when we got ready to play the Bears was on their defensive side. I'm going to have to take some time when I get to Chicago on Monday and kind of put myself in an office for a week and see what I can come up with in terms of a real detailed evaluation."

Receivers were able to gain separation off the line of scrimmage on slant patterns in your system in Kansas City. Will we see that here?
"You definitely will see that, the old slant pattern that a lot of people reflect back on, particular as they remember the 49ers' style of play. Our post pattern is really our vertical passing game in this system and what it does is it allows the yards after the catch, and a lot of that comes off of reverse stems off the line of scrimmage, and that's probably what you're referring to. It does look like a pick or a rub-action. The post itself, the route that we try to declare as one of our vertical routes, is a route that's caught anywhere from 10-to-12 yards. It's not quite a slant, but it's more of a quick post. From that standpoint, that's one of the real trademarks of this offense."

How big of an adjustment will it be to call plays at the NFL level?
"First of all, I'm really looking forward to it, and being an ex-quarterback, it's more intuitive to me than it is maybe to the next guy who's never played the position and been responsible for play-calling. But I've had a great career prior to the NFL. The other day I was counting up 17 years of play-calling, so from that standpoint, I feel I can fall back on a real solid foundation, and I'm really excited to look forward to that opportunity. I feel like I'll be very, very intuitive to it. It's something that once you do, the more you do it, it is really important to improve every year in your play-calling, and that's one of the axioms that I learned working with Bill Walsh."

Will you hire a quarterbacks coach?
"Lovie (Smith) and I will discuss that possibility, but I would like to have somebody under my tutelage who can sit in the meetings and absorb the language and understand the nuances of the offense. He would probably be more of a technician-oriented coach, but I think in the very first year of this offense, I have to be very careful that I'm not tripping over people to communicate with the quarterback because that is so important as this offense starts to unfold. I will be handling the quarterback as closely as I can from that standpoint."

For Rex Grossman, is it merely a case of different terminology or is he going to have to change his way of thinking out on the field in terms of progressions and play-calling?
"That's a great question, and I really don't know without having talked to Rex what the process was for his first year with the Bears in terms of the principles of quarterback play and how they progressed through their quarterback progressions. This is really a highly complex offense if you don't do it right and you can't throw all this right at Rex. We were very fortunate at the Chiefs to have Trent Green, who'd been in this system for years (with the Rams). I'll make sure that we take one step at a time. It may take us a full season for us to go through the substance of the offense as we finished up in these last couple years with the Chiefs with Trent Green. I would imagine it'll be different for Rex. I'm not sure what he had at Florida, but just the language itself will probably be different than what Rex had last year at the Bears."

Do you need certain types of players to run your system or can you teach your system to any player?
"You certainly try to funnel all your talent toward what makes the system click. Obviously there's a certain style in which we practice this system. There's a language to be learned. There are enough good players on the Bears' offense to allow this system to flourish. It's just a matter of teaching it very, very fine to them and allowing them to make plays. That was a big part of our system at the Chiefs. The quarterback's role was just to put the ball in the hands of the playmakers and they were expected to make the plays, and I believe the Bears have some playmakers."

Has Jerry Angelo indicated that he will give you more offensive weapons?
"Jerry really wants me to come in-as does I'm sure Lovie-and evaluate and see what I see and that's what I mean by spending whatever amount of time it's going to take for me to just evaluate. Then I will give my thoughts and my ideas to Jerry and then he'll take it from there. I remember back to our first year with the Chiefs. We had very few of those perimeter players still on the team as we started years two and three. Even when we started with the Chiefs, we didn't have all the right pieces to the puzzle. Maybe the Bears have more than we had three years ago."

How much of a premium do you place on the running back being involved in the passing attack?
"As it's worked out in these last couple years, he's been a major factor. Priest Holmes has been a very, very talented player for us at the Chiefs, and he would catch the ball out of the backfield. But Trent Green had a lot to do with that because he was so accurate with his passing. Our quarterbacks with the Bears will be called upon to be very accurate, particularly in the short-range throws. You can develop a back who may not have been exposed to the passing game … but that remains to be seen. We had a chance to have a back with the Kansas City Chiefs that really was the catalyst behind this offense who was not there when that staff first arrived at Kansas City. I know we've got some pretty interesting names in the running back position. Now we just have to kind of groom them and see if they can allow us to be as dynamic as we want to be with the passing game."

How did the Bears first contact you?
"The first contact obviously came from Lovie. What Lovie really was quite strong about is that he had been around this style of offensive football at the Rams for three years and he had seen how dynamic it is, what first down production has been, and the 20-yard gains, those kinds of things. I'm sure Lovie was taken with the offense. So that was probably what led him to me. After our first conversation or two, obviously there had to be permission granted, and once the permission was granted, I was able to visit the Bears Sunday night and Monday morning, and that's when I first got to sit down with Lovie and Jerry and really get into the nuts and bolts of making a decision. From there I asked them just for some time because I knew what I had at Kansas City in terms of the players I was working with personally and I knew what the potential was at Kansas City. I just needed some time to kind of figure out who I was in terms of the decision-making and then today it all kind of came about."

Have you ever worked with Lovie before?
"I've never had the chance to work with Lovie. He said he'd done his homework and a lot of research on me, which I certainly believe he did, and I think that's what led to Lovie making the call to me."

Are you aware of the criticism of the previous offensive coordinator from not only the fans but even some players?
"I'm not aware of any specific criticism. When I had a chance to visit with Jerry, he gave me some of the background. One of my key questions to Jerry was, 'What went wrong with the previous staff?' I've been through staff changes before and I felt that was a very pragmatic question. He explained to me that there were some real problems in terms of generating offensive production, so I was aware of that, yes. But nothing in regards to the players or anything like that."

In the big picture, what will we see from your offense and what role does the running game play?
"Some of the trademarks of this offense certainly are first down production. We were very fortunate at the Chiefs to lead the NFL for two years in a row in the turnover takeover ratio and that was because we did such a great job of protecting the ball. You'll see another trademark of this offense, hopefully it will flourish with the Bears, and that's the plus-20-yard gains. Probably the highlight of the Chiefs' offense these last two years was being ranked No. 1 in the red zone and a major part of that was because we could run the ball in the red zone and we did with a very fine running attack. So it's not a question of this offense being short-sighted in terms of the run. We've wanted to run the ball when we could and when we needed to and we also had a very special design in the red zone to run the ball and I think that's what led to our success. If that's part of the Bears' tradition-I certainly appreciate that-we're going to find ourselves a running back to handle that."

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