As the Chicago Bears enter the fifth day of their search for a new head coach, a popular ex-Bear player and assistant has signed an extension with his current team:
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) January 6, 2018
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport has some details regarding Rivera’s extension, which will keep him with the Carolina Panthers through 2020. With the Panthers poised to make another run at the Super Bowl, the timing to reward Rivera seems ideal.
The move also comes at a time of instability at the top of Carolina’s organization. If you’ll recall, the team will go up for sale when the team’s season officially comes to an end.
- As for the Bears search, I found myself digging this piece from Dan Pompei in The Athletic. It’s a wide-ranging array of thoughts from the Hall of Fame writer on what’s happening in the Bears’ world as they go through their fourth head coach search in seven seasons. I don’t want to give up too much because The Athletic is a subscription site and you should subscribe to get a full lay of the land, but what I found most interesting was his angle on the changes that could have occurred if John Fox was retained for another year: a Denver-style reunion with Mike McCoy being hired as offensive coordinator and Jack Del Rio to replace Vic Fangio, if he were to leave his post as defensive coordinator. All things being equal, a Fox-McCoy-Del Rio trio would have looked good on paper … *IF* you’re forced to start from a place where Fox is sticking around.
- After double-dipping on Friday by conducting interviews with Pat Shurmur and Josh McDaniels, the Bears’ decision-makers took their talents to Philadelphia to interview Eagles Quarterbacks Coach John DeFilippo – whom we profiled earlier today as a head coach candidate. DeFilippo is one of the handful of offensive-minded coaches who the Bears have lined up for this first round of interviews, but is the only one who isn’t currently a coordinator. He has experience in that role (albeit one year with the Cleveland Browns), but his work with Carson Wentz should not be overlooked.
- Over at CBS Chicago, Chris Emma believes DeFilippo could be the team’s next head coach if GM Ryan Pace decides on making a bold, outside-the-box choice. Emma recalls an April quote from Pace that could provide a window into the GM’s thinking: “If we want to be great, you can’t just sit on your hands. There are times when you’ve got to be aggressive, and when you have conviction on a guy, you can’t sit on your hands. I just don’t want to be average around here – I want to be great, and these are the moves you have to make.”
- These were Pace’s words after the team shocked the football world to trade up and pick Mitch Trubisky with the second overall pick. One of my friends has a frequent saying that always speaks to me: “Fortune favors the bold.” No one can be sure DeFilippo will be The Man when he is hired, but if he is someone who you believe can grow into that role with your team, then your organization is better off taking that leap of faith now rather than play it conservatively and watch someone else come away with your preferred candidate. Just some food for thought.
- That isn’t to say the safe choice is a bad one. The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain dives into Pat Shurmur’s candidacy and writes his experience makes him a safe choice for an organization seeking stability from the position. After all, cycling through four coaches in seven years is anything but stable. Fishbain digs up some of the lessons Shurmur has learned along the way, from his time as offensive coordinator with the Rams to his failed stint as the Rams head coach. Anyone who can learn from their mistakes and apply their lessons to improve down the line is worthy of a second chance at a head coaching job in the NFL.
- It puzzles me when I read about a coach’s future hanging in the balance with the result of a playoff game ultimately a deciding factor, but here we are with Tennessee Titans Head Coach Mike Mularkey ahead of the team’s Wild Card game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Naturally, it could impact the Bears (who could have eyes for a coach on the other sideline):
The #Titans are in the playoffs, but coach Mike Mularkey’s job is not safe. Sources say a loss could end his tenure, as the team prepares for a run at #Patriots OC Josh McDaniels. Big game today with multiple ramifications.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 6, 2018
- Want to take a trip down memory lane? The Chicago Tribune re-visits January 5, 1993, the date where Mike Ditka was fired as Bears head coach. Ditka went 106-62 with the Bears, made the playoffs seven times in 11 seasons, and won Super Bowl XX. Chicago reached the postseason in each of the last two seasons before a 5-11 mark in 1992 spelled the end of Ditka’s time with the team.
- And how did the Bears replace a living legend? They hired a 40-year-old hot-shot defensive coordinator who was calling the shots for a dynasty in its prime. You guys remember Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Dave Wannstedt, don’t you?
- Happy Birthday to one of the Bears’ most productive defensive players. Nose tackle Eddie Goldman won’t come up with eye popping sack numbers like other defensive linemen, but his steady play in the middle of the defense shouldn’t go unnoticed. There’s no coincidence the Bears rush defense took a big leap from 2016 to 2017 with a healthy Goldman anchoring the defensive line. Goldman is just 24 and is a building block on this defense moving forward. Even though the Bears might have whiffed on their first-round pick in 2015, Goldman (second round, 39th overall) has been a nice find for Pace and his staff.