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Column: New QBs coach Kerry Joseph says ‘it’s about trust’ with the Chicago Bears QB — whoever that ends up being

MOBILE, Ala. — Kerry Joseph doesn’t have any thoughts yet on the Chicago Bears’ biggest offseason decision, the one that holds the key to the NFL draft.

The team’s new quarterbacks coach, hired Friday, doesn’t even know where his office is at Halas Hall. He has been on a whirlwind tour since the season ended, free to seek a new job after the Seattle Seahawks forced out coach Pete Carroll.

Joseph, the assistant quarterbacks coach for the Seahawks the last two seasons, spent one day in Lake Forest interviewing for the Bears job. In between, he was scrambling to get to Mobile, where he’s serving as quarterbacks coach of the American team in the Senior Bowl.

Somehow along the way, Joseph got hooked up with Bears gear and was wearing a team-issued navy hat, navy shorts and gray sweatshirt at practice Tuesday at Hancock Whitney Stadium on the South Alabama campus.

He doesn’t have preliminary thoughts on Justin Fields. Joseph was the assistant wide receivers coach in Seattle in 2021, when the Bears drafted Fields. He has yet to dig in on this year’s draft, in which the Bears hold the first and ninth picks and are in position to select a new quarterback.

“I was getting transitioned to coming out here,” the 50-year-old Joseph said.

It’s the first time he has been an NFL position coach — above the assistant position coach level. The connection is easy to make. He worked with new Bears offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, who came from the Seahawks. The Bears also interviewed Seahawks quarterbacks coach Greg Olson for the offensive coordinator job.

The last first-time quarterbacks coach the Bears hired was Shane Day in 2010 based on his experience working with then-offensive coordinator Mike Martz in San Francisco. Since Day, the Bears have rolled through Jeremy Bates, Matt Cavanaugh, Dowell Loggains, Dave Ragone, John DeFilippo and most recently Andrew Janocko.

It would be overly dramatic to say this is the most important offseason for a Bears quarterbacks coach. There has been urgency to get the position right for the longest time. It just so happens they own the No. 1 draft pick as they prepare to thoroughly examine a talented group of passers, including USC’s Caleb Williams, North Carolina’s Drake Maye (who was a spectator at practice Tuesday), LSU’s Jayden Daniels and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.

Joseph, who was responsible for red-zone preparation with the Seahawks, had a hand in helping revive Geno Smith’s career in Seattle as Smith threw for 4,282 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2022. Joseph’s knowledge of Waldron’s system will be critical whether the Bears draft a quarterback or not.

“When you think about Shane and what we were able to do with the (Seahawks) offense, I think quarterback play is about having confidence,” Joseph said. “Quarterback play is just 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 and when you talk about Shane’s mentality, it’s just about being connected to the play caller, being connected to the offense. There are some things you’ve got to have and you’ve got to bring to it.”

Joseph was a quarterback at McNeese State and had a 42-11 record as a four-year starter, helping the Cowboys to two Southland Conference titles. He spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1996 as an undrafted free agent before playing in NFL Europe. He tried to make the Washington Redskins as a slot back and then played safety for the Seahawks from 1998 to 2001, appearing in 56 games with 14 starts.

He returned to quarterback in the Canadian Football League in 2003, winning a Grey Cup with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2007, when he was named the league’s most outstanding player. After retiring following the 2014 season, he got into coaching at the college level with stops at his alma mater and Southeastern Louisiana before joining the Seahawks as an offensive assistant in 2020.

The diverse background — having played defense in the NFL — gives him a different perspective to teach offensive football.

“It helps me tremendously,” Joseph said, “because playing the safety position, playing that dime (position), playing down in the box helped me understand how defenses attack the offense, how guys fit. So now that I’ve gone back to quarterback, I see it from a defensive mentality.

“Being able to help guys to understand the game, not just from the offensive side but from the defensive side, kind of helped (with) where to put their eyes. That’s what it did for me as a player, and I try to teach it that way with a defensive mentality.”

Joseph will learn where his office is soon, and then he can hit the ground running as the Bears prepare for the draft and install a new offense — quite possibly with a new quarterback. As far as his philosophy on developing a young quarterback, he leaned into some basic tenets.

“I use three things: accountability, responsibility, communication,” Joseph said. “It’s about trust, believing and having confidence in each other. A quarterbacks coach and a quarterback, you’ve got to have those three things.

“Then, hey, it’s about the fundamentals. It’s about developing the fundamentals, developing the mentality to be a good leader. To be a winner. Just willing to compete. There are 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.”