Fresh on the heels of a Thursday Night Football game that saw two teams seemingly revitalized by coaching changes, Windy City Gridiron is set to continue exploring the topic of the future of the Bears’ head coaching position. In Part 1, we came to the conclusion that we, at least, are ready for the end of the John Fox era.
Next, we explored the sorts of head coaches we did not want to see take charge of the beloved. While there were a lot of names thrown out, Sean Payton and Jeff Fisher led the list of those we would rather stay out of Chicago.
However, now it’s time for us to stop simply complaining and to make positive suggestions, instead. We’ve told you who we don’t want. Here’s who we do want.
Who do you want? Don’t give us a list of vague possibilities, pick someone and make a case for why that is the candidate to lead the Bears after John Fox.
Jeff Berckes: There are a number of people I’d be pretty happy with but we’re supposed to pick just one guy so let me make a case for Matt Patricia. While the Belichick disciples have not had success outside of the system, I’m really not worried about that because that’s one of those things that’s true until it isn’t. It only takes one guy to change that narrative and it’s just plain difficult to become a good NFL Head Coach in the first place. Patricia has risen through the ranks for the Patriots, starting in 2004, and has arguably the greatest tenure of any assistant coach on that staff. He above any other assistant will be indoctrinated in the Belichickian code and can bring it to Chicago. He’s coached in more big games than the Bears have been in during my lifetime and, yes, he’s a freaking rocket scientist. What I like most about how the Patriots play defense is that they’re able to play a successful hybrid front and can take away what their opponents do best. There are defenses that have been more dominant, but few if any are more resourceful and tactical in winning ball games. Plus, that beard is awesome.
Josh: I like Jeff’s choice of Patricia, and I almost went there myself. However, I have a different idea, and it’s based as much on hope as anything else: Dave Toub. Some of my reasoning is based on the observation that special teams coaches sometimes make good head coaches, and some of it is also based on the idea that having Toub “come home” might make a good story. Most of it, though, is simple respect for a man who is good at his craft, who doesn’t make excuses, and who seems to inspire loyalty. He seems like a good balance of new ideas and reliability.
Andrew Link: I have to go with Pete Carmichael. He has a familiarity with Pace, and Pace with him. That is important to have a strong relationship with general manager and head coach. The fact that Carmichael has experience under Norv Turner and Sean Payton, two brilliant football minds that just plain produce at the NFL level. I am not sure what type of head coach he will be but if you can pair him with a creative and aggressive defensive coordinator, this could be a very exciting team right out of the chute.
Patti Curl: I want an offensive-minded head coach who has the confidence to be creative and game plan aggressively. Specifically, I would be interested in Josh McDaniels. McDaniels had one failed attempt as a head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2009-2010 but he did start his time there with 6 straight wins while Kyle Orton was slinging pigskin. I like the idea of a younger (still older than you, don’t worry Jeff) offensive mind to pair with Trubisky through his career and McDaniels has shown the ability to attack opposing defenses’ weaknesses as aggressively as anyone in the league. Hopefully, he learned enough from his first experience as a head coach and working under Belichick to approach a take advantage of a new opportunity and get it right. A second chance head coach opportunity worked great for Jack del Rio, and maybe Hue Jackson. I’m willing to risk McDaniels can have similar second-chance success.
Jacob Infante: To me, it depends on whether or not the Bears keep Fangio. If they do, then I think that an offensive-minded head coach is the best way to go. It would show that Chicago is hellbent on developing Mitch Trubisky into a superstar. Personally, I really like what Jim Bob Cooter has does in Detroit. Matthew Stafford has looked like a star under his guidance ever since he took over as the Lions’ offensive coordinator in October of 2015. He has made a name for himself as an innovative play caller who is respected in the locker room. And, at 33 years of age (sorry Jeff), Cooter has the potential to be the team’s coach for years on end. Plus, his name is pretty cool, too. If the Bears were to choose to go down a different route, then I would like to see them target Toub and/or Patricia.
Jack: Again, I broke this down here, but I like Harold Goodwin, offensive coordinator in Arizona. He’s worked with four first-year head coaches (Lovie in Chicago, Tomlin in Pittsburgh, Pagano in Indy, Arians in Arizona) and three Pro Bowl quarterbacks (Roethlisberger, Luck, Palmer). He’s also an Arians protoge, which suggests to me that he’s a strong leader.
Robert: I don’t prescribe to this mentality of “you have to get an offensive or defensive guy!” Just get me a head coach who can lead men and who knows the modern game. Some of the best coaches right now were hired for their prowess on one side of the ball, but their team evolved in a different fashion. That can be a defensive or offensive guy. You don’t have to swing to the other side of the pendulum based on the man you’re getting rid of.
Bill Belichick is probably the greatest defensive mind of all time, and now his Patriots are known for spreading opposing defenses out offensively with a unique tight end and slot receiver scheme.
The Falcons’ Dan Quinn is one of the game’s best current defensive coaches, but Atlanta is built around a high-powered, deep, and explosive offense.
Mike Tomlin was a defensive guy before the Steelers hired him and they won their lone championship with him on the strength of that unit. Now, they have one of the best game-breaking attacks in the league while the defense has tried to play catch up for years.
Some of the game’s best and most tenured leaders have their teams be more successful on the side of the ball that isn’t their background. Sometimes that’s how it shakes out and that’s okay.
At any rate, with all of this in mind, give me current Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
I’m a huge fan of how Austin’s been able to work Detroit’s defense during his three-year tenure there. I think the Lions are poised for ascension on that side of the ball in 2017 and I credit that mostly to his work. He’s been a hot candidate for the past few years but has seemingly never gained enough traction. I think his time finally comes this year after a solid enough season out of Detroit and I would love for the Bears to pounce on making him the guy to take them back to the promised land.
Give Austin a young, promising quarterback like Trubisky on offense coupled with the tailbacks and offensive line infrastructure already here. Give him the pieces in place on defense the Bears already possess and watch him transform this franchise.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr: I like the choices made by my colleagues, even Patti’s unconventional pick of Josh McDaniels. I’m also not married to the idea of hiring an offensive mind to mold Mitchell Trubisky, although I think if there are two candidates that are equal in Pace’s eyes, he’ll go offense. Just give the team the most qualified candidate.
But I’ll mention a new candidate here, just to spice things up. I think Mike McCoy is deserving of another shot at his own team. He ran into some bad luck his last two years in San Diego, but he has a very creative offensive mind. Don’t forget, he had a hand in developing Adam Gase, who worked under him as wide receivers coach and quarterback coach. McCoy is back running Denver’s offense this year, and through two games, he has that unit humming. While hiring a coach that favors a 3-4 defense isn’t a deal breaker, the fact that McCoy’s Chargers’ teams did that is a plus for him.
Sam Householder: I, too, like the names of my colleagues. None are really names that I would be absolutely upset with. However, I am going to go in a slightly different direction. Of course, there’s the pipe dream of Dave Toub. I think Toub would be an excellent head coach and not just because of his Bears connections. I actually tend to trust the Andy Reid coaching tree. He’s a disciple of the Mike Holmgren, who is off of the Bill Walsh tree and there have been some successful coaches off of that tree: Ron Rivera, John Harbaugh, Doug Pederson is doing all right and I think Todd Bowles is getting a raw deal because of his roster. So taking Toub from that Chiefs staff or their offensive coordinator Bob Sutton, I wouldn’t be too upset just because of the success that coaching tree has had.
I also am a fan of the Erhardt-Perkins offensive system (think New England Patriots and Adam Gase) so a coach that ran that system would be fine with me.
Ken: I’m a big fan of Jim Bob Cooter at Detroit. He’s young, smart and has proven that he can develop both quarterbacks and the offense as a whole. I think he’s an up-and-coming star in this league, and he would be a perfect match for our strong young offensive nucleus of Trubisky, Howard and Cohen. Barring that, I would love to see Dave Toub back in town, he’s creative and really knows how to get the best out of players. Definitely a players coach, and we know that he’s the best in the business at what he does… I expect serving under Andy Reid has been great for Dave as well.
Obviously, the ownership of the Bears and general manager Ryan Pace have what they believe is a solid plan. Up until this point, their plan has included John Fox. Many fans, including most of us, are ready for that plan to change. Now it’s your turn. Tell us who you would rather see coaching the Bears in the future, and explain your reasoning.