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What Can the Chicago Bears Do to Get Back into the Playoff Hunt in 2015?

Ross Read@@RossReadContributor IIIDecember 24, 2014

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan watches his team during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J.  (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)
Peter Morgan/Associated Press

Where did it all go wrong for the Chicago Bears, and how did they get to this point? This is the first time in 10 years the Bears have posted double-digit losses, and head coach Marc Trestman must go if the team wants to win again in 2015. 

It's been said a fish rots from the head down. Trestman's inability to run a balanced offense, utilize the weapons given to him and hold defensive coordinator Mel Tucker accountable should cause his demise. 

This Bears team can compete for a playoff spot in 2015 with a few tweaks, but it starts with the coaching staff.

Phil Emery and the Bears brass must admit they made a mistake with Trestman, cut their losses and bring in a veteran coach who can get the most out of the talent on this team. 

Former Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has been a rumored name should the Bears part ways with Trestman, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk

Shanahan is an experienced coach who could possibly get the most out of quarterback Jay Cutler. He also drafted wide receiver Brandon Marshall and has a great history of running the football effectively. 

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While Shanahan comes with flaws, he's a solid bridge to an eventual team rebuild three seasons from now. There's too much veteran talent and money invested in key player to think about purging them all. 

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"He's got all the intangibles. I believe in Jay that the future is ahead of him .. He is a franchise type QB" - Mike Shanahan on Jay Cutler

It's going to be difficult to trade Cutler and get anything decent in return. Given his remaining salary and his play this season, he will likely garner a mid-round pick at best. 

Moving Cutler leaves a giant hole at quarterback. Considering the free-agent options are thin this year and the top rookies will be gone by the time the Bears draft, it's wise to hang on to Cutler for at least another year. 

Many people are going to want current San Francisco 49ers head coach and former Bears quarterback Jim Harbaugh. The 49ers will likely let him go at the end of the season, according to Florio

Harbaugh has been a successful coach at San Francisco and Stanford, but he also has a volatile personality. Can he and Cutler coexist? Will he and Brandon Marshall clash? 

While Harbaugh is a good coach, he seems to wear out his welcome everywhere he goes and still has no championships to show for it. Given the conservative style of the Bears organization, he might not be worth the risk or the high price tag he brings to the table. 

Shanahan might be the best guy right now to get Cutler and this offense back to respectability. He will play to Cutler's strengths while running the football and will bring stability to an offense that desperately needs it. 

In his 20-year coaching career, Shanahan's offenses have averaged above the 70th percentile in both overall yards and rushing yards. His defenses have trended slightly above average, which is really all this team needs right now. 

On defense, the Bears need to start their youth movement right away. Linebackers Christian Jones and Jon Bostic are pieces to build around, but they need help on the inside. 

Brock Vereen and Kyle Fuller are two young pieces in the secondary, and they would benefit from a defensive style that plays to their strengths. It's time for this vanilla 4-3 base defense to leave with Tucker. 

The Bears could transition to a 3-4 but would be wise to run a more hybrid style until they can further develop their front seven. 

Defensive end Lamarr Houston is best suited for a 3-4 when he comes back, and youngsters Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton are good rotational pieces up front. 

The Bears lack a run-stuffing nose tackle, a reliable middle linebacker and a playmaking strong safety. Luckily, they will be sitting pretty in the 2015 NFL draft and should address all three areas early on. 

The NFL is a league of parity. A five- or six-win team can bounce back the next season to win 10 or 11 games without surprise anybody.

Could Shanahan convince his old friend and current Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak to come to Chicago? The Bears could perhaps pry Kubiak out of Baltimore by giving him a promotion to assistant head coach. Kubiak could then take over the team when Shanahan is ready to make his exit in about three years. 

With the talent on this roster, the Bears need a good kick in the butt, not a complete overhaul. Shanahan is the man to do it. He should be hired fairly quickly after the end of this season. 

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