Bengals fans may still be trying to block out any memories of the 2017 or 2018 season, but a major name from that time has emerged along the NFL landscape. Bill Lazor who was the interim offensive coordinator in 2017 and then the offensive coordinator in 2018 will fill the same role with the Bears.
Lazor took over a terrible offense in 2017 that failed to score a touchdown over the first two games of the season. The offense was still tethered mostly to Jeremy Hill at running back until he went on injured reserve despite Joe Mixon obviously being the better choice. It was also not getting the most out of Tyler Boyd in his second season.
2017 wasn’t Lazor’s fault. There is very little an offensive coordinator can do at Week 3 to turn around an offense. He showed promise by being able to script plays at the beginning of games to pretty solid success, but over the course of the game the offensive scheme, which had grown stale since being started with Jay Gruden in 2011.
It should also be noted that Lazor had to deal with an offense that had just lost Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth to free agency, which only made things harder.
In 2018, the Bengals went out and traded for Cordy Glenn at left tackle and drafted Billy Price to play center. However, the offense didn’t take too many steps forward. Individula performances like Joe Mixon leading the AFC in rushing and Tyler Boyd getting 1,000 receiving yards were great, but the offense as a whole just wasn’t doing well enough to get Cincinnati to the next level.
Lazor was also able to build a new offensive scheme from scratch for the first time since Gruden came to town, but it severely lacked the modern NFL style plays that many of the high powered offenses were running.
Ultimately, Lazor’s time was ended due to Marvin Lewis and the Bengals opting to move on from each other, and Zac Taylor was going to bring in his own offensive staff.
Lazor now gets an opportunity in Chicago to try and turn around a disappointing Mitch Trubisky career at quarterback. He also gets a chance to try and kick start an offense that isn’t devoid of talent.
One interesting thing to watch will be whether the Bears now become more serious contenders to trade for Andy Dalton given the connection between the two. Considering the success we’ve all seen the Titans have after bringing in a veteran backup as a possible replacement for a struggling young quarterback, it isn’t too crazy to think there may be some interest there.
At the end of the day, Lazor was a pretty inexperienced coordinator when he took over the job for the Bengals, and a year away from football may have been just what he needed. He was also a very experienced quarterback coach prior to being an offensive coordinator, and with Jim Nagy as the head coach in Chicago, he may be focusing more on working with Trubisky than anything.