By: Thomas Gibbons
And so here we are again boys and girls. The Bears are searching for another head coach.
John Fox, who went a mere 14-33 in his three years as Bears head coach, is expected to be dismissed on Monday at Halas Hall. The Bears 5-10 finished marked their fourth straight losing season, and it has been seven years since a playoff berth.
I do not think many expect it to end this way with Fox. The Bears hired a successful coach back in 2015 with a Super Bowl ring and plenty of time around the NFL. It almost seemed to good to be true that the Bears were able to land Fox. I was a fan of the hire, as were many others. But yet so quickly, Fox failed to improve after his first season, resulting in a 3-13 season in year two and the fan base jumped off the bandwagon.
Seven years is a long time to not be playing playoff football. It has felt like an eternity since we watched Caleb Hanie almost put the Bears back in the Super Bowl.
There is no more rebuilding, it’s time to get back to being a playoff contender. The Bears have some pieces in place to continue to build a winning football team. Now, they need a new coach to lead them.
In this article, Thomas Gibbons writes about his shortlist of potential head coach candidates for the Chicago Bears.
Frank Reich is currently the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles. Reich comes from a rich football background, playing college football at the University of Maryland and played in the NFL for 13 seasons. He played quarterback and also coached Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, was the QB coach for the Chargers in 2013 before becoming the OC in 2014-15, and is in his first year with the Eagles.
The Eagles finished 7th in total offense and 3rd in points per game this season. Along with John DeFilippo, Reich aided Carson Wentz into becoming an MVP candidate. Wentz season was stopped short due to a torn ACL, but his numbers were a complete 180 from last season. The second year player finished with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 13 games, completing 60% of his passes. The Eagles surrounded Wentz with weapons, but the scheme set up by Reich allowed for their success.
There is a lot of hope that Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky can make the jump in year two that Wentz and Jared Goff did this season. The Bears have to completely upgrade their wide receiver depth chart in order for Trubisky to even have a chance at improving his numbers. But improvement also comes with a scheme designed around the quarterback’s skill set.
It is reported that the Pace wants to a hire an offensive minded coach, and Reich has to be at the top of his list. He has worked with Manning, Rivers, Wentz and you have seen the results. Reich should be interviewed once the Eagles are eliminated, which could be sooner that originally for obvious reasons, and I would not be surprised if he ends up being a finalist.
Dave Toub has made a living being the best special teams coach in the NFL. Toub, who was the Bears special teams coach from 2004-2012, had the league’s best ST units in 2006 and 2007. He was interviewed for the Miami Dolphins job after the 2011 season, but would only return to the Bears. He would interview for the Bears job after the firing of Lovie Smith, but after the hiring of Marc Trestman, he left the Bears and reunited with Andy Reid in Kansas City.
Toub is going to be a hot candidate for all the head coaching vacancies around the league. His abandonment success during his time in the league deserves him to get a shot for a head coaching job. He is highly respected by his players and with being in the NFL for over a decade, he has built up a lot of connections.
Yes, Toub does not fit into the offensive minded coach category. But the Bears needed a strong leader and he is known to get the best out of his players and his resume is among the best when ranking him against other coaches at his position. And with his connections, Toub would have a great shot at landing top coordinators.
A report from Benjamin Allbright, a co-host on AM 1340 Denver, tweeted a few days ago that Toub is the Bears top candidate. Allbright has a very good track record with his reporting and it is really not that big of a surprise Toub is the top man.
This is the year I think Toub lands a head coach job, whether it ends up being the Bears or somewhere else, his time has come.
Pat Shurmur has faced adversity this season and well, he adapted pretty well.
In his first full regular season as the Vikings offensive coordinator, Shurmur lost Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook in the first month of the season. Now, the Vikings have a first round bye in the playoffs with Case Keenum as their leader. Shurmur’s led offense finished top ten in yards per game (356.9) and turned Kennum into something no one saw coming.
The reason I like Shurmur is not just his success this season, but his past success with a certain quarterback, Donovan McNabb. He was the QB coach for the Eagles from 2002-2008 and turned McNabb into the Eagles all-time leader in every passing category.
Shurmer would return to the Eagles in 2013 to be the offensive coordinator under Chip Kelly and would set team records in points (442), net yards and others. It was also Shurmer who helped groom Nick Foles in having an outstanding 2013 season, throwing for 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions and posted the third best QB ratings in the history of the NFL.
QB whisperer? I think so. He fits the offensive mind that Pace wants and his resume may be one of the best in the field. With the Vikings on the bye, Shurmer would be able to make visits to other teams. I would expect an appearance at Halas Hall this week.
If Bill O’Brien would become available, the Bears would have to bring him in for a visit. Deshaun Watson was playing well but improving as well under O’Brien. And luckily the Bears have another QB from the draft class.
Other names would be Lions OC Jim Bob Cooter, Eagles QB coach John DeFlippo, and Patriots OC Josh McDaniels to name a few.
These are my top candidates and any of them, if hired, would please me. Reich and Shurmer are great offensive minds and have had success with their quarterbacks. Toub has a high football IQ and I would put my faith in him bringing in great coordinators.
It is going to be a very busy few weeks coming up at Halas Hall. Buckle up, Bears fans.