Whether it was going to happen after the Bears’ Thanksgiving game against the Lions, sometime later in the season, or after the year’s conclusion, there is (and has been) an overwhelming sense that time is running out on Head Coach Matt Nagy’s tenure in Chicago.
So much so, a short-list of replacements is already being floated.
Jason La Canfora (CBS Sports) name-checks a trio of offensive coordinators who the Bears are expected to consider should they cut ties with Nagy. La Canfora specifically names Brian Daboll (Bills), Byron Leftwich (Buccaneers), and Josh McDaniels (Patriots) while also squeezing in how others could be under consideration, too. The CBS reporter also mentions discussions regarding Nagy’s job status date back to last season, which seems to check out. But evidently, things are serious enough to name-drop some worthwhile coaching candidates.
Each of the head-coaching prospects La Canfora names makes sense as a Bears fit. So, let’s briefly explore each’s potential candidacy.
⇒ Daboll runs the show for the NFL’s second-highest-scoring offense, and has a résumé that includes coaching stints under Nick Saban, Bill Belichick, and Andy Reid. His work transforming Josh Allen from an athlete who plays quarterback into a possible MVP candidate has been remarkable. The Jets, Chargers, Giants, and Eagles all had reported interest in speaking with Daboll for their respective openings last offseason. But each of those teams went in a different direction. Perhaps Daboll will find the openings this year more enticing?
⇒ Leftwich is a most interesting potential candidate. I’m old enough to remember wanting the Bears to *DRAFT* Leftwich in the 2003 NFL Draft as a solution to their long-standing QB issues. However, it wasn’t in the cards. The Jaguars chose Leftwich with the seventh overall pick, while the Bears took Rex Grossman later in the round. Eighteen years later, Leftwich is a coach on the rise as he coordinates the NFL’s highest-scoring offense. And while Bruce Arians is the head honcho, he credits Leftwich for doing the heavy lifting:
Bruce Arians doesn't attend offensive meetings; he says Byron Leftwich fully runs the Tampa Bay offense. https://t.co/wTOYhTp9OH
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 21, 2021
⇒ McDaniels popping up as a candidate (again) intrigues me. Remember, McDaniels interviewed for the opening in 2018 before it went to Nagy. There was even a belief that it would come down to the Bears and Colts for McDaniels’ services. If you’ll recall, McDaniels was set to take the Colts job later that offseason before that fell through. Seeing what McDaniels has done with Offensive Rookie of the Year front-runner Mac Jones might be intriguing to the Bears, who have a young QB of their own.
Who makes the coaching hire for Chicago seems up-in-the-air, too. La Canfora adds GM Ryan Pace’s job “is in the balance as well” — which paints a picture foreshadowing a possible house-cleaning at the top. This could lead to an compelling hiring cycle in Chicago. Would the Bears make a GM hire first? Could the team try to entice a coach by giving them the kind of power to choose a general manager they want to work with? Perhaps a change at the top of the power structure is in order? The possibilities seem endless at this stage of the game.
Nevertheless, this whole thing is something we’ll watch with great interest.