I think most of us Bears fans are resigned to the fact that Lovie Smith isn't going anywhere. Barring a disastrous finish to the 2009 season the Chicago Bears will move forward with Lovie Smith as Head Coach again in 2010. But unless the Bears make a dramatic turnaround and fight their way into the playoffs at least one head will roll. The head most of us would like to see chopped is offensive coordinator Ron Turner, although quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton might be the scapegoat.
If Turner is jettisoned the Bears will eat the final year of his contract. He signed a one year extension before this year locking him up through the 2010 season. So will the Bears organization take the salary hit? If Turner is fired the Bears will need to chose the next OC carefully, he'll need to be an established offensive mind (no John Shoop types please) with a proven track record in the NFL. If the Bears fire Turner and replace him with an unknown, with thoughts of going cheap, the fan base should revolt and march on Halas Hall. Potentially, this hire could be franchise altering decision.
In this semi-regular series I'll look at possible replacements if Turner is canned. First up a name that has been floated on this very site, but one that I think is highly unlikely, a lot of things must fall into place for him to be available, and that's Charlie Weis.
Would I like to see this hire? Oh. Hell. Yes. But like I said, it's highly unlikely. I think Weis has one of the best offensive minds in football, but his arrogance isn't the best fit at the college game. Reports of his living room demeanor on recruiting trips suggests he's out of his element at Notre Dame as does his so-so record, and I think he may be out of place as a head coach entirely.
But in the NFL and running an offense, he'd be at home. He has the experience, from 1998-2004 he was an NFL offensive coordinator, the first two years with the Jets and the final four in New England. He helped groom Tom Brady into "Tom Brady", so working with Jay Cutler would be appealing to him. Especially if Cutler continues to struggle, Weis could lay claim to "fixing" his career. If you're wondering how he is at developing talent, other than Brady, the following is from his bio on the Notre Dame website;
In Weis' first tenure with the Patriotsfrom 1993-96, he assisted in the development of some of New England's all-time best individual season performances from Coates, Martin and Terry Glenn, respectively. During his first four seasons in New England, he coached three different positions. In 1993 and `94, Weis served as the Patriots' tight ends coach and, in his second season at the position, Coates set an NFL record for receptions by a tight end with 96 and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. In `95, Weis coached the Patriots' running backs and was credited with developing Martin, a third-round `95 draft pick, into one of the premier running backs in the NFL. That year, Martin won league rookie-of-the-year honors and set franchise rushing records with 1,487 yards and 14 TDs. In `96, Weis coached the New England receivers, with Glenn leading the team and setting an NFL rookie reception record with 90 catches for 1,132 yards and six TDs.
From 1997 to '99 (with Parcells as head coach and Belichick as assistant head coach), Weis called offensive plays for the New York Jets... In `98, Weis was named the offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach. By season's end, his offense ranked among the greatest in franchise history and led the Jets to their first division title. The team scored 416 points, second-highest total in franchise history (after 419 points in `68) and averaged 357.2 yards per game. It marked the second-best total-offense season average in Jets history (368.5 yards per game in `85). Both of Weis' starting receivers, Johnson (1,131) and Wayne Chrebet (1,083), eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving plateau for the first time in their careers.
He has 4 Super Bowl rings (1 as a Giant assistant & 3 in N.E.) and would bring instant credibility to the locker room. Name me one offensive player that wouldn't be jacked up to play for him?
Even with the struggles he's had in South Bend, his offense has produced the two greatest passing numbers in school history in ‘05 and ‘06, and in 2008 his offense scored the most points ever at Notre Dame.
It's looking more and more likely that Weis could get the boot from Notre Dame, but will he be looking to jump right back into coaching? More often that not coaches elect to take a year or two off to refresh the batteries. And would he be willing to take on the roll of an OC after being in the spotlight as the head coach?
Weis would bring a lot to the Bears; calling a game, developing a game plan, nurturing talent; three things we haven't seen in Chicago in a long time. So what do you guys think? Could you see a scenario where Charlie Weis will replace Ron Turner?