7 Head Coach Replacement Options for Chicago BearsDecember 18, 2017
7 Head Coach Replacement Options for Chicago Bears
Simple math says the Chicago Bears will be in the market for a new head coach this offseason.
On paper, the Bears improved going into this season. Quarterback, cornerback and other problem areas received makeovers as the rebuild continued, guided by general manager Ryan Pace and a front office committed to the long outlook.
Yet somebody has to take the fall for another downtrodden season featuring little in the way of improvement in the win column and some iffy player and schematic decisions.
Said somebody is head coach John Fox, who always felt like a stopgap while Pace enacted his plan. He hasn't done a terrible job and has had a brutal injury bug hit his roster the past two seasons, but this offseason might be the time the team gets a coach to pair with rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
If Fox is out, these are a handful of names the Bears might consider.
Continuity might be something the Bears covet in their next head coach, which could mean a promotion for offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.
Loggains has been far from perfect, yet it can't be an easy task to scheme for a unit featuring little in the way of threats at wideout. Without Cameron Meredith, Kevin White and with new arrivals dealing with issues, he hasn't had many options.
Still, Loggains is a former quarterbacks coach and coordinator elsewhere who could provide a sense of familiarity for Trubisky while free agency and drafts continue to improve the trenches and weapons available.
After a few disappointing seasons, promoting from within wouldn't be the most popular move with fans. But if the Bears front office takes the temperature and decides this is the right move for Trubisky, a little patience as the roster improves would be a must.
The other candidate from within is defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, one of the most well-respected names in the league. He put together monster units with the San Francisco 49ers before coming to Chicago in 2015, and most would agree he's had the Bears playing beyond what the on-paper outlook might suggest.
Fangio has taken so-so depth charts riddled with injuries and turned in some strong performances while helping a guy like Akiem Hicks erupt into one of the league's best players. While it hasn't always been perfect, the front office's work to get him a strong boundary guy like Prince Amukamara has worked wonders.
The front office will likely want an offensive-minded guy to pair with Trubisky. But if not, continuity in Fangio's versatile front while giving him even more talent to utilize wouldn't be the worst idea.
If the Bears go outside the organization, they might target someone like Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.
Lazor has kept Cincinnati's head above water offensively after surprisingly getting shoved into the spotlight after Week 2 this year and despite an overall lack of talent after wide receiver A.J. Green.
The man has an interesting history too, helping coach up an interesting prospect like Ryan Tannehill while a member of the Miami Dolphins. He also has a track record of creative concepts, which could help some potential talent-deficiency issues with the way he could unleash a guy like Tarik Cohen.
This one would hinge on the Bengals not wanting to promote Lazor to the same spot, but he's starting to feel like someone who is due a shot at being a head coach.
Jim Bob Cooter
How an offensive coach brings along a quarterback is arguably the biggest talking point when looking at his head-coach candidacy.
For the Bears, this is the biggest talking point outright.
Naturally, we then look within the NFC North to Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, the man responsible for squeezing every drop of production out of quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Cooter, whose rise has spanned all of 10 or so years, helped keep Stafford afloat and even improved the Detroit offense despite Calvin Johnson's retirement in 2016. Familiarity with the division doesn't hurt, either, but the biggest point here is how much his oversight could help along Trubisky.
If the Bears want a dose of culture with their offensive flair, it's tough to ignore Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
Haley didn't have the most impressive stint as a head coach with the Kansas City Chiefs, drumming up a 19-26 record with a playoff loss between 2009 and 2011. But he's a known name and has feasted with the Steelers, using Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell and a host of others to command one of the NFL's most explosive offenses.
The Bears obviously don't have the same calibre of skill players in place. But Haley could excel given the presence of a strong-armed quarterback like Trubisky and running backs like Jordan Howard and Cohen, not to mention whatever else the front office decides to add through its copious amounts of resources.
Though Haley might not have plans of leaving Pittsburgh, he would bring some attitude and offensive innovation to a young offense seeking direction.
There are plenty of budding head-coaching names who have done great work with quarterbacks recently in the ever-evolving NFL.
One of those people is Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur. In his first year on the job in L.A., LaFleur has Jared Goff looking like a different player and the Rams outright looking like a playoff-bound team.
Remember, too, LaFleur was also a quarterbacks coach for one Matt Ryan with the Atlanta Falcons for a few years before moving West, so he has experience with all ranges of quarterbacks.
LaFleur is a great example of what the right hire can do for a quarterback considering Goff looked like a major bust as a rookie. Trubisky doesn't look anything like that—but the polish and innovation a guy like LaFleur could put on could make all the difference.
Everybody wants a piece of New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, provided he wants to leave.
That's the big question. McDaniels has interviewed for gigs recently but hasn't gone anywhere—why leave Tom Brady if the quarterback keeps playing at an elite level?
McDaniels wasn't a bad head coach with the Denver Broncos, but he caught them at an odd time. With Chicago, he would at least have a promising young quarterback with a strong running game backing him and a defense with nice pieces.
The Bears would have a hard time competing for a top name. But with a high-end prospect like Trubisky, anything is possible.
All contract information courtesy of Spotrac unless otherwise specified. Stats courtesy of NFL.com.