This list breaks down the top 10 choices for the Chicago Bears entering the 2010 season.
With the season over and more than several different media sources calling for G.M. Jerry Angelo to make a change, it is time to see what options there are for the Bears in order to improve from a very... VERY disappointing season.
So the list begins with the 10th best choices and goes on until the best option...
Current Chicago Bears coach
Pros: He led the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl in 2006 and seems to be liked by all the players. He does not panic and his record against the Packers has been above average.
Cons: The defense, which is supposed to be his forte, has disappeared for several games at a time, allowing an astronomical number of points to the Bengals, Cardinals and Vikings.
The team doesn't seem to be behind him as much and the Bears haven't made the playoffs since their Super Bowl appearance.
Do I want him as head coach? No... End of story.
Likelihood of him being the head coach next year: High due to the fact he is still owed roughly 10 million dollars and the Bears are cheap.
Current Dallas Cowboys' offensive coordinator
Jason Garrett has been pegged as the next Dallas Cowboys' head coach. However, if the 'Boys somehow do not falter down the stretch and make the playoffs and actually WIN a playoff game, then Wade Phillips will be back for another season.
This could mean Garrett might look elsewhere for an opportunity as a head coach.
Cons: He will no doubt come with a higher price tag than most other offensive coordinators and while Tony Romo has been good, he has not reached the superstar level that many expected him to while operating in such a high powered offense.
Pros: High powered offense is the name of the game. Garrett currently has the Cowboys offense ranked third in total yards per game, seventh in both passing yards per game AND rushing yards per game and twelfth in points per game.
Ambitious and having a thirst to prove himself could be just what the doctor ordered in Chicago these days.
Plus...he is not Lovie Smith.
Do I want him as head coach? I would pass, in hopes of someone with a little more fire and maybe some more coaching experience.
Likelihood of him being the coach next year: Slim to none.
Current defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers
Ron Rivera was the defensive coordinator for the Bears in 2006. It was him, not Lovie, calling the shots for one of the more dominating defense the Bears had had in a long time.
Of course, Lovie and Rivera's opinions differed greatly when it came to defensive formations and after butting heads, Rivera was not retained.
Cons: Despite his great success in Chicago, the Chargers defense has not ranked in the top ten in total defense since Rivera took over. While their pass rush has been exceptional, they still give up yards and points. Plus, after the falling out with the Bears, you have to imagine Rivera would be hesitant to come back.
Pros: He is a former Bear himself, playing on the team for nine seasons, including the 1985 Super Bowl championship team. His defensive intensity is strong and you better believe that when he speaks, his team will listen. His defense has worked in the past and due to his history with the team, he would have a year or two grace period from many fans and media outlets while others would be expected to come in and show immediate results.
...Plus, he is not Lovie.
Do I want him as head coach? I would take him over Garrett just so we could have a true Bear leading us again, but there are definitley better candidates out there.
Likelihood he will be the head coach: No chance. He lacks the success of the past few seasons to earn him a head coaching position anywhere in the NFL right now. But I wouldn't mind him as D-Coordinator again.
Head coach of the Montreal Alouettes
A coach known for getting the most out of his quarterbacks.
Trestman has quite the record, and a knack for getting the most from his quarterbacks.
He has gotten the best from his players, including the best years from Bernie Kosar, Rich Gannon, Scott Mitchell and Jake "the Snake" Plummer, and some solid years from a man named Steve Young.
Cons: No head coaching experience in the NFL and that list of QBs haven't exactly blown anyone away with the exception of the few years spent with Trestman.
Pros: A QB coach at heart and a thirst to prove himself as a head coach in the NFL. In his two years in Montreal, he made the Grey Cup both times, winning it this most recent season.
...Plus, he isn't Lovie Smith.
Do I want him as head coach? As a dark horse candidate yes. But the Bears would have to fail, especially with several other candidates, if he were to have a legit chance.
Likelihood of being the next Bears head coach? None. I would totally be down with him as QB coach, but I can't figure out how much of a step down that would be.
Current Stanford head coach
A former Bears quarterback, Harbaugh has turned a once floundering Stanford program into a downhill running bulldozer.
He has beaten the USC Trojans twice and his running style of offense is a definite change of pace from the spread formation taking over many programs and teams.
Cons: Still only has a couple years as head coach and no real experience in the NFL. He might still be a couple years away from being successful, plus he seems to be enjoying life at Stanford so he too might expect a bigger paycheck than the Bears would be willing to pay for his pedigree.
Pros: A former Bear that many fans will appreciate, his style of offense is one that would be welcomed by many in the Windy City. The spread offense has not been the most popular in town, but Harbaugh's power rushing would bring back happy memories and would make Bear fans and players believe him when he might say "We get off the bus running."
...Plus, he isn't Lovie Smith or Ron Turner.
Do I want him as head coach? Yes, while I think there are more suitable candidates, if the Bears signed Harbaugh I would be happy.
Likelihood of him being the head coach? Longshot, but maybe the best chance if Angelo tries saving money.
Current defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings.
Frazier is another former Chicago Bear Super Bowl winner, like Rivera, but should have a much better chance at the head coach position due to the Vikings defense.
The Vikings have been stout under Frazier, especially the run defense, and his history with the team should make Chicago an ideal spot for him.
Conss: He is a defensive-minded coach, which I am OK with since the Bears defense was beyond pitiful, but to be successful, he would need to bring in a damn good offensive coordinator. And he has no doubt benefited from an already good defensive unit in Minnesota with the Williams sisters (that's right, I said it) and Jared Allen anchoring the line. He would be coming into a defense in search of a new identity.
Pros: Defense wins championships and Frazier has shown he can coach defenses. Another advantage is the same one Rivera would have, being a former Bear, fans in Chicago would be more willing to give him a longer leash if things did not start out very well.
Do I want him as head coach? Yes, I would take Frazier. While I am a little weary since the Vikes had a good D before he was there and odds on, will have a good D whenever he leaves, I think he would bring the right mentality.
Likelihood of him becoming the next head coach: Out of all ten choices, I would say he is in the top three in terms of likelihood. Between him, Harbaugh and number four.
Current defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengls.
Talk about a 180 degree turn. In 2007, the Bengals defense ranked 24th in total defense. Then Mike Zimmer took over and the Bengals jumped up to 19th in 2008, which by itself is not all that impressive unless you consider that they currently sit at fourth in the NFL, 16 weeks into the season.
Most of this turnaround has been attributed to Zimmer.
He spent the 2000-2006 seasons working as the defensive coordinator for some pretty good Dallas Cowboy defensive units. His stock has never been higher.
Cons: No head coaching experience at any level and one could argue that the Bengals success could be just a one year wonder. Plus, the Bears would again need an offensive guru at the coordinator position.
Pros: His defensive play-calling abilities are impressive and the players seem to not only love him but play hard for him. Bringing him in could bring a new intensity to a unit that definitely lacks it.
Do I want him as a the head coach? Yes. While he is not a former Bear, such as Frazier or Harbaugh, he has the right mentality and he brings the defensive presence that I want for our team.
Likelihood he becomes the next head coach: Doubtful, just because he will probably be at the top of the list for a couple other teams out there and they will be willing to spend more money than the McCaskeys will.
ESPN Monday Night football analyst and former head Ccoach for the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Oakland Raiders
Here is where the wishlist begins.
John Gruden has the offensive mindset that could utilize Jay Cutler more effectively than the combo of Lovie/Turner. He also brings intensity. Anyone that has watched football over the past decade knows that Gruden is synonymous with intensity and fire, something that Lovie Smith has shown none of.
Cons: Has a cushy job as a color commentator for Monday Night Football and will probably be sought after by several other high-profile teams.
Pros: Intensity, offensive mindset and the Chucky signs that would grace Soldier field.
Do I want him as the Bears head coach? I suppose, although I am not sure he would be the best fit, he would be a major... MAJOR upgrade over Lovie at this point.
Likelihood of him being the head coach: Slim to none. There will be other, higher paying options.
Former head coach of the Denver Broncos
Some would argue that he is the best choice for this team because of his offensive capabilities and his repoire with quarterback Jay Cutler.
Cutler was at his best when Shanahan was calling the shots in Denver and could be waiting to see what the Bears do with Smith before he decides where he wants to go next year. The Buffalo Bills have already expressed some interest.
Cons: Shanny would not come at a small price and while he has two Super Bowl Championships, he hasn't done much since the turn of the decade.
Pros: Cutler flourished under Shanahan and with him in charge, you can expect the development of Devin Hester and Johnny Knox to take full charge. Offensively, the Bears should rebound from a very disappointing season.
Do I want him as head coach? Yes...in a heartbeat.
Likelihood of him being the next head coach: Still a long shot, but of all the big three head coaches available, he is probably the best bet.
Former head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers
And finally the No. 1 choice for the Chicago Bears is Bill Cowher.
He comes from the mold the Bears need. Tough and hard nosed.
Cons: He employed a 3-4 defense in Pittsburgh and he would more than likely do so in Chicago, which would mean one of the defensive ends would have to move around.
Pros: He developed Ben Roethlisberger into a Pro Bowl quarterback. The Steelers defense was always at the top of the league with Cowher in charge. And the Bears are an old school team looking for an old school coach. Cowher's power running offense, stifling defense and quarterback coaching is exactly what the Bears need.
Do I want him as the head coach? Unequivocally yes.
Likelihood: Small chance. He could be looking at a job opportunity in Carolina if John Fox is fired, and the Panthers would be a little closer to home. I can hope, but I remain doubtful.