This subject gets beaten up in the threads, but it is such a reoccurring topic I thought I'd drop in on the front page. Every time someone mentions a name to replace Ron Turner as offensive coordinator or even a name to replace Pep Hamilton as quarterbacks coach we get the lateral move conundrum.
Bottom line is, a coach that is under contract with another NFL team can not leave his current position unless his new position represents a higher title (* see below... the rule may have been changed, teams have the right to block their assistants from interviewing with other teams). And yes, a team can easily slap the Assistant Head Coach title before his actual title to circumvent the rule, but is that really good business on a prospective coaches part. How often does this happen? Has it ever happened? I'm sure it has, I just can't think of any instance.
Usually franchises use the Asst/HC title for their coaches in order to protect themselves from other teams poaching their staff. Like Jason Garrett the Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator in Dallas, Russ Grimm the Asst. Head Coach/Running Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach in Arizona, or Winston Moss the Assistant Head Coach/Inside Linebackers in Green Bay. They don't want to lose their own guys unless they're going to get a head coaching job.
Other times teams use the Asst/HC title for a long time veteran coach, or a guy that was a previous Head Coach himself, as a way to give him his proper respect. Like Rod Marinelli the Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Line here in Chicago, Marty Mornhinweg the Asst. Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator in Philadelphia, or Mike Tice the Assistant Head Coach/Tight Ends in Jacksonville.
Some teams have more than one Asst/HC on staff. The Houston Texans have Alex Gibbs who is their Assistant Head Coach/Offense and Bill Kolar who is their Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line. While others have no coach designated as Asst/HC. Technically speaking the Asst/HC is second in command, but how much weight that title carries really depends on the Head Coach and the organization.
Getting back to the point of this post: Could the Bears really steal away a teams offensive coordinator just by adding the Asst/HC title? Yeah, but we all know they won't. For starters, doing this kind of move would be very, very, very, pricey. Odds are an offensive coordinator isn't leaving one job for another (even with that fancy new Asst/HC title). He'll leave one job for another only if a fat raise is attached. Most Assistant Coaches are looking to run their own show someday, so when picking their jobs, doing so with tact is an important thing to keep in mind.
Mike Heimerdinger, the O.C. in Tennessee, is an oft mentioned name here on WCG. Unless he's really really looking to work with Jay Cutler, then why leave the Titans? There's no such thing as job security in the NFL, but coaching in Tennessee is as close as it gets. It's a good and loyal organization that has had the same head coach, Jeff Fisher, since they were still known as the Houston Oilers. Why leave that team for a team that has a GM and head coach on shaky ground, a history of being frugal, an offensive line in flux, a young and inexperienced group of receivers, and a notoriously cheap organization? Did I point out their penny-pinching ways twice?
Cam Cameron is another name brought up by Bears fans. He's currently the O.C. in Baltimore, but again, why leave the Ravens for the Bears? When did Chicago become some kind of dream job that would see coaches leave their current positions? Again, a coach currently employed as an O.C. will only come to the Bears as an O.C. (with that new cool Asst/HC title of course) if they get paid. And I did cover the economical ways of the McCaskey clan.
In my opinion the Bears have 3 options for a new offensive coordinator:
1 - Hire a guy currently not employed by an NFL team.
2 - Hire a position coach away from an NFL team and promote him to O.C.
3 - Keep Ron Turner. I just shivered typing that...
With so many teams rumored to be making changes at the top, the list of candidates should grow. Then again with so many job openings looming, they better act quickly. The Bears need to target a few guys at seasons end (if they haven't started already) and get someone in place. The 2010 offensive cupboard isn't entirely bare, so finding a coach that would relish the opportunity to work with Cutler, Greg Olsen, Matt Forte, and Devin Hester shouldn't be too difficult.