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Bears’ offense will have numerous influences

Published: Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 10:56 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — While Marc Trestman continues to seek the right fit for a wide receivers coach, the Bears coaching staff is assembling a playbook from scratch.

Offensive coordinator/line coach Aaron Kromer talked Thursday about the process at the simplest level — making sure everyone is using the same verbiage to describe formations and motions. From there, the playbook is being created.

When it’s ready to be unveiled, the Bears offense will be a hybrid attack because of the numerous influences. Running backs coach Skip Peete said Trestman even might bring some successful concepts from Canada that should translate.

“Marc and I have a history together back with the Oakland Raiders and we had a lot of success there, and obviously the New Orleans offense has been very successful lately,” said Kromer, who was the Saints’ line coach the last four seasons and designed their running game.

“It will be a combination of a lot of things, and you don’t want an offense to get stagnant, so you are constantly researching and finding new things that you can add to make it better and more versatile.”

Kromer, who declined to talk specifically about any players he is inheriting, comes with a solid track record. The Saints were known for a high-powered passing attack, but they ran the ball with consistent success. Twice in the last four seasons, they ranked in the top five in the NFL in yards per carry, and that was without the benefit of a quarterback who can scramble and boost the average.

The only season they struggled, injuries forced the Saints to use eight running backs in 2010. Situationally, they have had one of the better rushing offenses in the league.

“As long as we were within reach of the game, we would continue to keep a balance of run and pass,” Kromer said. “I feel that is important. It is very hard to protect the quarterback when you’re not running the ball.”

Kromer’s career got started with a boost from late Northwestern coach Randy Walker, who hired him as a graduate assistant at Miami (Ohio) in 1990. They worked together there until Walker took the NU job in 1999, and Kromer was with the Wildcats for two seasons before heading in 2001 to Oakland, where he worked with Trestman for three seasons.

“That family has been very close with me,” Kromer said. “(Walker) was a huge impact on my life and my career as a coach. He’s the one that got me started. He’s the one that really trained me as a young man to be a coach.”

Kromer began to get consistent publicity in New Orleans when three Saints offensive linemen were selected to the Pro Bowl in 2009, his first year as line coach after one year coaching running backs. He had a knack for helping mid- to late-round draft picks develop into top performers. Of course, having Drew Brees at quarterback made everyone better.

Kromer’s philosophy is to work to the strengths of his personnel, a concept that’s sometimes easier to talk about than implement.

“You just have to do it,” Kromer said. “You don’t have a choice.”

He hopes the Bears have a transitional offseason but don’t miss a beat once September arrives. General manager Phil Emery is expected to add linemen in free agency and the draft, and Kromer isn’t ready to pass judgment on the players still under contract.

“It’s a group you have to work with to find out,” he said. “You can’t watch tape always and tell exactly the way an offensive lineman is, so I look forward to working with the group and really getting hands on, using techniques that we have used in the past and finding out what the guys’ attributes are and using that to our advantage.”

The Saints used a mix of inside zone and power running schemes, and Kromer said the Bears also will show multiple looks.

“It will be a variety,” he said. “If you watched the Saints and what we did there, what was best for their personnel was an inside zone and some outside zone. It’s a lot of gap scheme. There was such a variety, you couldn’t say you are one thing.

“We’re going to find what’s best for us and best for our linemen and our running backs and utilize that.”

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