The Bears 2014 campaign has been on a downward spiral, at least since they blew a 21-7 lead at the Carolina Panthers back in October. Some would say it started even before that. Perhaps as early as when they made the decision to retain embattled defensive coordinator, Mel Tucker. Now, we are left with the aftermath, which looks like it will lead to the firing of Marc Trestman and the bulk of his staff.
So let’s just play it forward. December 29th, “Black Monday” in the NFL. The first Monday after the season ends is typically when coaches are informed they no longer have a job with their current team. Financially, it might seem a bold move, especially by a Bears team that usually doesn’t cut ties with coaches after only two years. The fallout of this season though, is begging for it.
Marc Trestman may or may not have been put behind the proverbial “8 ball”. If it was his decision to sign Cutler to a multi-year deal, then he definitely deserves the ax. If he was talked into it, then perhaps Phil Emery can join him. I have some scenarios and wild ideas, but now that it looks like a reality, let’s flesh out a nice list:
Jim Harbaugh would make the top of my list. The soon to be ex-San Francisco 49ers coach was a Bears QB. Ironically, he was cut just a year after signing a big contract (at the time) and wildly under-performing. Truth be told, Dave Wannstedt did him no favors. Harbaugh is a tough nosed but offensive minded coach that could probably turn the current roster into a playoff contender. He would also have the stones and the credit to take Cutler on and get whatever you can get out of him. Or, he could pick a new QB. Harbaugh is clearly the most qualified, having won two straight division titles, gone to three NFC championships and one Super Bowl.
Rex Ryan is also soon to be out of work as the head coach of the New York Jets. He could be the man for the job. Ryan did a decent job righting the ship last year after Geno Smith was forced down his throat. Ryan has ties to Chicago as son of formers Bears defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan. He is also a hard nosed dude who won’t put up with a bunch of BS. He can help turn this defense into a respectable unit. My only concern with him is, he never had much of an offense in New York. He had Mark Sanchez for a few years, then as I said, had Geno Smith thrust upon him. Ryan did go to two straight AFC championship games and is known as a top notch defensive mind.
Darrell Bevell was on my “short list” 2 years ago when the Bears passed on him and Bruce Arians to go with Trestman. Mostly for his work with undersized rookie (at the time) Russell Wilson. If they don’t go with a proven coach, Bevell would be my guy.
Frank Reich. Yeah, that Frank Reich! The former Buffalo Bills backup QB to Jim Kelly. The one who lead one of the greatest comebacks of all time. He is in San Diego with Mike McCoy and QB Phillip Rivers.
Jack Del Rio, the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator has done a fine job at the position. He is another one of those tough nosed, no nonsense types, who was a former NFL linebacker. He would quickly be able to evaluate the defense, especially the young linebackers. Coach them up or ship them out. Del Rio did a nice job with the Jacksonville Jaguars but eventually ran out of talent and time.
Gary Kubiak is a long time favorite of mine since his days with the Denver Broncos. I loved his running game and blocking style. He took unknown and often undrafted players and turned them into stars.
Todd Bowles has done an excellent job as the defensive coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals. While they have some talented players, they have had some key injuries as well. He also got to learn under Bruce Arians who has been a longtime friend and associate.
Dave Toub, former Bears special teams coordinator was always at the top of his field. He was innovative and very successful.
Hopefully the Bears will do something else that is uncharacteristic–act quickly. The Oakland Raiders are another organization in turmoil and have already fired their head coach. They could very well be the front runner for Jim Harbaugh’s services when he hits the market. The biggest thing is being able to assemble a competent coaching staff, and that can’t be done if you take your time (drag your feet) and let the other newly hired coaches snatch them up. Here’s hoping!