Last week, Davis Mattek analyzed the Colts’ new offense. In this article, I look at the Chicago Bears new offense. This year the Chicago Bears break in a new Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator. What impact will this have on the Bears offense? I don’t know what effect a “fresh start”, “new schemes”, or different training camp routines will have. But I can analyze some numbers.
To do this I’ll look at Trestman/Kromer’s careers as Offensive Coordinators vs. the Bears offense over the past 5 seasons. I’m leaving out Trestman’s CFL experience because, frankly, it’s a very different game. And I’m including Kromer’s data with Trestman’s because Kromer only has one year of data as an OC. Trestman was an OC in 1989, 95-96, 98-00, and 02-03. Kromer was an OC in 2012.
|Year||Team/Coach||Rush Att/Yr||A/G||Rush Yds/Yr||Rush Y/A||Pass Att/Yr||Pass A/G||Diff vs League Ave||Pass Y/A|
So Trestman/Kromer average one less rushing attempt per game, and three more pass attempts/game. Both rushing and passing YPA are comparable. Three pass attempts/game is 48 more attempts/season; while it may not seem like much, it represents a 10% increase, per game, in pass attempts.
Now let’s look at total number of plays run.
|Coach||Year||Ave Plays/Season||Ave Plays/ Game||League Ave Plays/Game||% Difference|
For his career, Trestman’s teams averaged 2.3% more plays/game than the league average. Kromer’s one season as OC produced 5.2% more plays/game than league average. The Bears over the past five seasons average 2.9% FEWER plays than league average. Looking at just 2012, the Bears were 2.78% below league average in plays/game.
If Trestman/Kromer can just get the Bears up to “league average”, they’ll run 2 more plays/game. But if they get the Bears to Kromer’s 66+ plays/game, the Bears will run 4+ more plays/game vs. last year, or 5.5 more plays/game than they averaged over the past 5 seasons.
Five more plays/game doesn’t sound like much, but it’s 8% more plays/game. It’s 88 more plays, or more than an extra game’s worth of opportunities for Cutler, Marshall, Bennett, Forte, Jeffery and company.
To summarize, I expect the 2013 Bears to run about 5.5 more plays/game. In the pass game, I expect the Bears to average about 4% better than the league average in pass attempts/game.
Applying those premiums to the Bears, we get the following predictions. Remember, these projections are based on the average Trestman/Kromer offense. If they were based just on Kromer’s 2012 season, they’d be higher.
Jay Cutler Could Have a Big Year
|Year||Player||Pass Att||Pass Comp||Pass Yds||TDs||Fantasy Points*||Fantasy PPG|
Things look good for Cutler. Assuming he takes every snap, he’ll attempt about 578 passes this season. Based on his career completion percentage (60.8%) and TD Rate (4.6%), he could see a 100-point boost to his season fantasy point production. That’s a six point/game boost, and would have made him a top-10 fantasy QB last year. Currently the 21st QB drafted in Dynasty leagues, Cutler could be a huge bargain this year.
Brandon Marshall Will Have a Good, Not Great, Year
Last year, Brandon Marshall accounted for 41% of the Bears total receptions. Excluding his rookie year, Marshall has never caught less than 25.6% of his team’s total receptions. His 118 total receptions last year were a career high. Despite predicting a more robust passing game for the Bears, I expect Marshall to collect fewer receptions and yards in 2013, and here’s why: This graph shows, by year, the percentage of team completions caught by Trestman’s (or Kromer’s) 1st, 2nd, and 3rd leading pass catchers (note, “pass catcher” could be a WR, RB, or TE).
Trestman/Kromer Percentage of Team Receptions by Top Three Pass Catchers
The high-water marks for team-leading receivers came in 95-96, when Jerry Rice (JERRY RICE!) caught 28% and 30%, respectively, of his teams’ total receptions. On an average basis, however, Trestman/Kromer’s top three pass catchers collect 25%, 20%, and 16% of total receptions.
OK, so what. Here’s so what. Jerry Rice! Even in his great 95 and 96 seasons, Rice never accounted for more than 30% of his team’s total receptions. It seems very unlikely that Marshall will come close to his 41% mark from last season. Even his career average of 28.5% of his team’s total receptions might be out of reach.
I’m projecting 393 completions for the Bears this year. At 25%, the average percentage of completions a Trestman/Kromer number 1 pass-catcher gets, Marshall would get 98 catches, or twenty fewer than last year. At his career average 12.7 yards/reception, and a TD Rate of 7.4%, here’s what I see for Marshall’s 2013 season.
Still good numbers, but a significant drop from last year. He still projects as a top-10 WR, but much closer to guys like Vincent Jackson and Roddy White, who can be gotten later in drafts.
Matt Forte Could Have a Super Season
Based on my projected number of plays and run/pass breakdown, and his 2% career rushing TD rate, here’s how Matt Forte’s 2013 projects from a rushing perspective.
|Year||Player||Rush Att||Rush Yards||TDs||Fantasy Points||Fantasy Points/Game|
Essentially unchanged. The good news is on the receiving front. Trestman/Kromer’s top three pass catchers typically account for 60% of a team’s total receptions. In 2013, that projects to be 236 receptions. If Marshall gets 98 of those, it leaves 138 receptions for the next two pass catchers. Last year, the second and third leading pass catchers for the Bears caught a combined 73 passes.That means there’s 65 extra catches for the Bears second and third leading pass catchers!
Remember that Forte has always been a good pass catcher, so a boost to the passing game will boost his production as well. I’ve already written about his pass-catching ability here, and both Trestman and Kromer are willing to pass to running backs. Here’s how running backs have finished in team receptions over the nine seasons Trestman and Kromer were Offensive Coordinators: 3rd 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd. Also, in two of those seasons, a second running back finished 4th in team receptions. Let’s plug in Forte as the Bears’ second-leading pass catcher in 2013.
Since 2008, Matt Forte has caught 18% of all Bears’ receptions. That’s close to the 20% average of Trestman/Kromer #2 pass catchers. If Forte gets 18% of the 393 completions I project for the Bears, that’s 70 catches! At his career average of 8.7 YPR, and a 3.3% TD Rate, here’s what would happen to Forte’s production.
|Year||Player||Rec||Yards||TDs||PPR Points||PPR Points/Game|
That’s more than 3.5 points/game in increased production. In PPR formats then, Forte projects to 281.4 total fantasy points, or 17.6 points/game. That’s top-five RB production. Seventy catches for a RB is a lot, and Forte very well may not get there. But it seems reasonable to assume a significant increase in catches, which is likely not factored in to his current ADP.