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What new Bears quarterbacks coach Kerry Joseph is looking for in the quarterback position

Nicholas Moreano Avatar
January 30, 2024

MOBILE, Ala. — Kerry Joseph is still getting up to speed on things.

Just four days ago, the Bears announced that Joseph would be the team’s quarterbacks coach after spending the past four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and being the assistant quarterbacks coach for the last two seasons.

Now, he’s 894 miles away from Halas Hall and coaching the quarterbacks for the American team in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. When he was asked about his thoughts on Justin Fields, Joseph couldn’t provide an answer.

“I haven’t even got to that point,” Joseph said. “I don’t even know where my office is at yet in the building. I haven’t set foot to really think about anything outside of getting transitioned over there and coming down here. Everything happened pretty fast for me.”

Joseph did have time to call Fields on Monday over the phone and speak with him and the rest of the quarterbacks room. The call was brief, but Joseph said, “it was good.”

When Joseph does get back to Chicago, he will be reunited with Shane Waldron — who was the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator the past three seasons and is now in the same position with the Bears.

Then, the two will start working on establishing this Bears offense, but everything will start with the quarterback position. And there are a few attributes a quarterback needs to have in order to be successful in Waldron’s offense

“When you think about Shane and what we will be able to do with the offense, quarterback play is about having confidence,” Joseph said. “Quarterback play is about being competitive. It’s about being smart, being dependable, having a good IQ of the game, being passionate. When you think about traits when you talk about quarterback play, when you talk about Shane’s mentality, it’s just about being connected to the play caller, being connected to the offense, and that’s some things that you’ve gotta have and you’ve gotta bring to it.”

There’s also a list of critical factors that can help predict success at the quarterback position.

“Arm talent, accuracy, you know,” Joseph said. “Delivery quickness, physicality, toughness, swagger. You got to have a little swag playing the quarterback position and when I say that, I mean confidence. You got to have confidence and I like to say arrogance, but arrogance to me, all it’s is confidence under control.”

To get these traits to blossom, Joseph has an extensive playing career and coaching background to extrapolate from. He played quarterback in college at McNeese State. Then he transitioned to safety while playing for the Seahawks and went back to playing quarterback in the Canadian Football League.

As a coach, Joseph started as a training camp intern with the Saints. Then he worked as a co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at his alma mater. In 2019, he was the running backs coach and passing game coordinator at Southeastern Louisiana. Then he joined the Seahawks as an offensive assistant in 2020 and worked as an assistant wide receivers coach the following year.

Joseph’s 19-year professional football career and four years of NFL experience give him a unique perspective on how to coach the quarterback position. Joseph said his time playing safety allows him to help “guys understand the game, not just from the offensive side but also from the defensive side and help them with where to put their eyes.”

His approach to coaching quarterbacks can be described in three words: accountability, responsibility and communication.

“It’s about trust, believing and having confidence in each other,” Joseph said. “The quarterback coach and the quarterback, you’ve gotta have those three things. And, hey, it’s about the fundamentals. It’s about developing fundamentals, developing the mentality to go out there and be a good leader, to be a winner, just willing to compete. There’s so many things that I have in my philosophy as a person that I take into the coaching world and into the quarterback room to help develop a group of guys.”

Joseph also has an acronym that he uses when coaching: D.T.A

Which stands for decision, timing and accuracy.

“Simple. Gotta make the right decisions, gotta be on time, gotta be accurate,” Joseph said.

Before any of the on-field coaching can begin, the first area of focus for Joseph will be understanding his players. That’s what he credited and pointed to for helping Geno Smith in Seattle. Once Joseph understands who the person is, then he said you can communicate with the quarterback and understand what the offense wants to accomplish schematically while also utilizing the playmakers that the unit possess.

“I just think, like I said, you’ve gotta know the person,” Joseph said. “When you’re talking about quarterback play, you’re talking about leaders. You’ve gotta have a great leader. It starts with the person. I say quarterback, but when you really think about this game, it’s about the people. It’s about relationships. Coaching is about relationships. Then you can teach football.”

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