Perhaps Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace was playing coy in his press conference when he said he hasn’t made any interview requests to kick off his head coaching search.
Because if that was the case earlier today, it didn’t last long to change:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 2, 2018
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reports the Bears have requested to interview a pair of highly-regarded offensive coordinators in the Patriots’ Josh McDaniels and the Vikings’ Pat Shurmur. Each coordinator will have some time this week, as their teams have earned a bye week before kicking off their playoff run. Not that they’re *entirely* to be credited, of course, but it’s not a bad part of the endorsement.
McDaniels has been successful in his return to New England as the team’s offensive coordinator. The offense is among the league’s best, year-in and year-out, as McDaniels handles the most important duties in play-calling and creating the weekly game plan. He also has a bit of a history as a head coach, though that flamed out spectacularly in Denver. At age 41, it is believed McDaniels has matured and learned from his mistakes with the Broncos. If that’s truly the case, he will be the top head coaching candidate to watch in the offseason.
Shurmur is in a similar boat, leading a high-powered offense into the pre-playoffs bye week. But unlike McDaniels, who gets to work with Tom Brady, Shurmur has made chicken salad out of Case Keenum, a pair of reserve running backs, a Pro Bowl receiver who was an undrafted free agent, and a 1,000-yard wideout who was a fifth-round pick. Shurmur also has a failed head coaching experience in his background, but winning nine games in two years with the Browns looks different now after watching Cleveland go through a two-year stretch where they’ve won a total of one game.
Pace gushed about Mitch Trubisky’s progress in his 12 starts as a rookie, and seems poised to hire a coach who will nurture his development. If the Bears decide to go that route, there won’t be too many candidates better than McDaniels or Shurmur.
Both McDaniels and Shurmur were among the 12 names on the NFL’s Career Development Advisory Panel list of recommended head coaching candidates
Earlier, the Bears were connected to Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo as an interview target, as well as Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.