John Fox’s seat is so hot (Michael: HOW-HOT-IS-IT?!), John Fox’s seat is so hot, the Chicago Bears’ front office reportedly already has a list of candidates to replace the beleaguered head coach.
And if reports of Vic Fangio’s non-candidacy are correct, the Bears might be wise to prioritize an offensive guru to guide the team and young quarterback as soon as possible. With that in mind, Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly did some digging, connected with some sources, and put together a list of offensive-minded coaching candidates the Bears might have in mind.
Arkush’s list is headlined by New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels, who might be the most polarizing candidate in the NFL. He flamed out after two years as the Denver Broncos head coach, but a matured McDaniels should be in line for a second chance seven years later. Even though having Tom Brady execute for you may make things easy, McDaniels does the hands-on work of designing game plans and calling plays. Those aspects of his game would be upgrades from what the Bears currently have in place and could be a boon for Mitch Trubisky’s development.
It’s also worth noting that Josh’s brother Ben is in his second year with the team as an offensive assistant. I imagine this would give Josh somewhat of a leg up if he’s curious about the gig and the inner-dealings of an organization possibly in search of a new leader.
McDaniels isn’t the only former head coach on the list. Minnesota Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur served as the lead man for the Cleveland Browns in 2011 and 2012, and took over, in the interim, for Chip Kelly back in 2015. The Vikings offense has taken off in 2017 despite losing Dalvin Cook and Sam Bradford to injury. Minnesota’s passing game is led by free agent quarterback Case Keenum, undrafted free agent Adam Thielen, and fifth-round pick Stefon Diggs. Shurmur is getting the most out of what doesn’t look like the greatest situation.
Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks Coach John DeFilippo gets a mention on Arkush’s list, though, he’s believed to be a better fit as a coordinator than a head coach right now. The same could be said regarding Joe Lombardi, who also serves in that capacity for the New Orleans Saints.
The rest of Arkush’s list is littered with offensive coordinators. That group includes Pete Carmichael (Saints), Matt LaFleur (Rams), Frank Reich (Eagles), and Jim Bob Cooter (Lions). And while it’s too early for a deep dive into the candidates, it might be time to start saving these names to our memory bank for future reference.
It’s worth noting that teams cannot block promotions. Remember, those rules allowed the Bears to retain Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio and prevent the San Francisco 49ers from interviewing him.
So, in theory, a team like the Bears could offer a coordinator job to a position coach without much resistance – unless that coach’s current employer was prepared to hand down a promotion. It’s something to watch for if (when?) the Bears’ start this search in earnest and the next coach puts together his staff.