Some of these names I’m going to pass along may be off the market by the time most of you read this, but here goes anyway. It may be a waste of time because Matt Nagy said most of the staff is assembled. Rumor is the Bears will keep the QB coach Tight End Coach and the entire defensive staff. But if not here are some names to keep in mind. I’ll stick strictly to Defensive and Offensive Coordinator positions. I actually did an extensive research on Special Teams Coordinator candidates but the Bears just announced the hiring of former Cleveland Browns Special Teams Coordinator Chris Tabor. He’s a past Dave Toub protoge so there is that connection to Kansas City. Very likley Toub put him on Nagy’s radar at some point.
Vic Fangio- By now everyone knows the latest news is in favor of Fangio returning to the Bears as their Defensive Coordinator and the franchises top expert on that side of the ball. This will likely include a heavy influence on the roster and player profile on that side of the ball. Continuity will be a huge thing here. Instead of learning a brand new offense, with a brand new staff, with a brand new way of running practices, film study, and strength training and fitness thing will remain status quo. No one knows the current roster of defensive talent better than Fangio. The Bears will be getting a few guys back they lost or were in and out of the lineup and hopefully with a new head coach they’ll learn how to minimize the injuries they experienced throughout recently fired John Fox’s 3 years as Head Coach. It would also help the continued development of young talent the Bears have drafted over that 3-year span.
James Bettcher- News Broke out Today that the Bears may be interested in discussing the Defensive Coordinator position so perhaps talks are going south with Fangio a little bit. He is still under contract with the Cardinals too so they can block him from interviewing with the Bears. It would make a lot of sense to hire him or at the very least do everything in their power to retaining him as he is a young innovative mind. Much like Nagy but only on the defensive side of the ball rather than offense. So there’s a good chance that he won’t even be available should negotiations with Fangio break down. In 3 seasons since taking over as Arizona’s Defensive Coordinator Bettcher lead his defense to 3 top 6 finishes. 5th in year one, 2nd in year 2 and 6th in year three this past season.
Mike Nolan– Nolan has ties to Pace being the Linebacker Coach in New Orleans with the Saints. He also has had a very good career as a respected defensive mind and plays a little more aggressive brand of the same Hybrid scheme Fangio runs. He also has experience as a Head Coach and has a lot of experience in this league which would help with Nagy’s transition to Head Coach. It may also help them get some of the brightest defensive minds to fill in as assistants as Nolan has a ton of contacts through his years in the league and should have a ton of names to reach out to after 35 years of coaching 30 of it in the NFL alone. He has the pedigree as he is the son of Don Nelson who was once a head Coach for the Saints from 1978 – 1980. Nolan’s been around the game a long time and there isn’t anything he hasn’t seen before. He would provide a valuable sounding board for Nagy who is only in his 10th year as a coach. Most famously known as the Coordinator for the Ravens suffocating defense in the early 2000’s and his defenses have a penchant for creating pressure and creating turnovers which is something that has been missing here in Chicago under the tutelage of Fangio. Turnover wise especially.
Kris Richard– Richard was just fired today and would be a good hire. He comes from a very successful defense in Seattle and a winning program. There would likely be a slight different philosophy shift as Seattle runs a base 40 front, but it’s a HyBrid one and as mentioned previously the entire league is running the same fronts in 60-75% of the time as the new base offense is run out of 11-personnel. This has defenses in Nickle to match up with the extra Wide receiver which means you take out an Inside Linebacker in favor of a Defensive Back. The biggest drawback to this hire would be that Richard has even less experience than Nagy as he’s been a coach for only 8 years in the NFL. His record is impressive however and he has 3 years experience as a Defensive Coordinator. He has been a part of five consecutive top 5 finishes since being the Defensive Backs Coach in 2012 and now as Defensive Coordinator since 2015. Since being a Defensive Backs Coach and now Coordinator Seattle has had one of the best defenses in getting takeaways and scoring defenses under his guide. Here’s an excerpt from the Seahawks website under Richard’s bio to give you scale. “In his first season as coordinator in 2015, Seattle continued its defensive dominance since 2012 as it led the NFL in scoring defense for the fourth-consecutive season (2012-15), becoming the first defense in the Super Bowl era to accomplish the feat. Cleveland led the league in scoring defense for a record five-straight seasons from 1953-57 in 12-game seasons.”
Ken Zampese– Zampese comes with a ton of pedigree. He is the son of famed former NFL Offensive Coordinator Ernie Zampese who is most known for his role in helping engineer the “Air Coryell” offense along with Head Coach of the Chargers Don Coryell in his time with the San Diego Chargers. He began his career with the Rams as an NFL Offensive Assistant Coach under Mike Martz who ran a Variant of the “Air Coryell” offense and the coach who guided a record-breaking offense known as the “Greatest show on turf.” Here he gained more exposure to the famed 3-digit offense and assisted Martz with the passing game there. He moved on to Cincinnati and helped Carson Palmer to be a pro bowl Quarterback and with it making the Bengals one of the most feared offenses in the league at that time. There is a small connection to Reid through Ray Rhodes where Zampese was an Offensive Assistant with the Eagles in 1998 and the Packers in 1999 where Rhodes was the Head Coach at both stops. There are reports that he was fired after only two games into the season because players including normally soft-spoken A.J. Green spoke to Marvin Lewis about firing Zampese. So that is a huge black mark and one the Bears will have to thoroughly investigate.
John DeFilippo– DeFilippo was one of the six candidates for the Bears Head Coaching job and apparently interviewed well with Pace. Jumping up to a Coordinator position from Quarterbacks Coach to Coordinator gets him one step closer to getting the Head Coaching job he obviously covets. Not many teams will hire a guy from a position coaching position to Head Coach. Right off the bat, there is a connection to Nagy through Pederson who was Reid’s Offensive Coordinator prior to Nagy. There is also the interview that went well. Not Exactly a stretch to think this is a possibility. Especially now that the league passed the new rule that position coaches can accept interviews and jobs as Coordinators without being blocked by other teams. DeFilippo has made quite a stir with his videos on the Eagles website breaking down film and doing some interpersonal pieces about himself like the one about his Shoe collection. This would be a great addition to help with the development of Mitch Trubisky.
Darrell Bevell- Bevell has been fired today which is good timing for me and this article. Bevell has guided a successful offense and is the main man to be responsible for the drafting and development of Russell Wilson. Pete Carroll stating Wilson was Bevell’s project. Well, that is quite the feather in Bevell’s cap and one that should carry a lot of weight in considering him as the Offensive Coordinator. Bevell a former Quarterback for the University of Wisconsin has shown the ability to develop Quarterbacks which is a huge requirement for the Bears next Offensive Coordinator. There’s also the connection with Reid as Bevell was brought over to Minnesota from the Packers to be Brad Childress’ Offensive Coordinator who served on thr same offensive staff with Nagy at Kansas City. Nagy literally called Childress his guy and partner in crime during his Bears Head Coach Introductory press conference so the connetion could lead to an interview.
Andy Heck– The connection here is obvious as Nagy and Heck were as recently as this past Saturday on the same offensive staff together. This move can also help with how the Offensive Line is run as Offensive Line Coach is the position Heck held in Kansas City. With the team confirming that the Bears are going to hire Harry Hiestand who is Notre Dame’s former Offensive Line Coach and served in that role under Ron Turner with the Bears it would mesh with the same style the Bears have been running and the one the Kansas City offense runs now. The West Coast Zone Blocking scheme.
Brad Childress– Yes, I realize he just announced his retirement but how retired is he really? Nagy pretty much told the world how close he was to Coach Chilli as he’s affectionately known as. An excellent offensive mind who was a part of the famed Packer staff under Mike Holmgren and later on went to Head Coach and develop an explosive Minnesota Vikings offense in his time there. We all know what the Chiefs have done recently especially this season which Childress was a huge part of as the Assistant Head Coach and right-hand man to Andy Reid.
Dan Campbell: Campbell has ties to Pace from his New Orlean’s days and could be put in touch with Nagy and possibly hired as his Offensive Coordinator. Many people around the league feel Campbell was an even better Head Coaching candidate than Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael who many tried connecting to the Bears Head Coaching job early in the process. He also has 12 games of Head Coaching experience as acting interim coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2015. He also holds the title of Assistant Head Coach under Sean Payton as well as Tight Ends Coach and actually coached Bears Tight End Dion Sims who the Bears currently have on the roster.