For the third time since 2013, the Chicago Bears are looking for a head coach. The ideal candidate is someone who can stabilize the position, hire a top-notch coaching staff, keep the defense performing at a high level, bring the offense up to speed, and ultimately, win a Super Bowl. It’s a lot to ask, but someone could be up to the task.
With those characteristics in mind, we’re going to take a look at each of the candidates the Bears plan on interviewing leading up to the announcement of a new head coach.
Name, Current Team, Position
John DeFilippo, Philadelphia Eagles, Quarterbacks Coach
NFL Coaching Experience
- 2005-06 New York Giants (Offensive Quality Control)
- 2007-08 Oakland Raiders (Quarterbacks)
- 2009 New York Jets (Quarterbacks)
- 2012-14 Oakland Raiders (Quarterbacks)
- 2015 Cleveland Browns (Offensive Coordinator)
- 2016-present Philadelphia Eagles (Quarterbacks)
- 2005-06 Tom Coughlin
- 2007-08 Lane Kiffin
- 2009 Rex Ryan
- 2012-14 Dennis Allen
- 2015 Mike Pettine
- 2016-present Doug Pederson
Starting Quarterbacks Coached as QBs Coach/Offensive Coordinator
Josh McCown (2007, 2015), Daunte Culpepper (2007), JaMarcus Russell (2007-08), Mark Sanchez (2009), Kellen Clemens (2009), Carson Palmer (2012), Terrelle Pryor (2012-13), Matt McGloin (2013), Matt Flynn (2013), Derek Carr (2014), Johnny Manziel (2015), Austin Davis (2015), Carson Wentz (2016-17), Nick Foles (2017).
Hey, It Might Work…
DeFilippo’s experience with with Carson Wentz has made him a hot candidate this winter, but his time with other players is equally intriguing. For example, he’s coached up rookies (Derek Carr, Johnny Manziel, JaMarcus Russell, Mark Sanchez, Wentz), veterans (Carson Palmer), and journeymen (Josh McCown, Matt Flynn) among others. Just because DeFilippo is young doesn’t mean he is inexperienced. In fact, his entire body of work that could give DeFilippo an edge over some candidates despite his age. DeFilippo has been coaching since age 22, with his career kicking off as Fordham’s Quarterbacks Coach in 2000 – right after graduating from James Madison University that spring.
DeFilippo has the vibe of a coach with a tireless work ethic that would play well publicly in Chicago and behind the scenes at Halas Hall. Back in December, DeFilippo’s boss Doug Peterson called him “a great teacher” and “great communicator” who excels at preparing quarterbacks, especially via film study.
This extensive tape study of Wentz’s play against the Washington Redskins in October is equal parts impressive and encouraging:
OK, Maybe He’s Not The One…
DeFilippo is young, has no head coaching experience at any level, and his one year as an offensive coordinator in the NFL came in an uninspiring 2015 season with the Cleveland Browns. He has experience coaching young quarterbacks, but players like Russell, Manziel, and Sanchez never amounted to much of anything considering each player’s status as a first-round draft pick.
DeFilippo’s lack of play calling experience might be held against him by someone in the interview process. So while he has experience calling plays for the Browns, as well as a two-year stint with San Jose State, there’s a bit of a leap from those respective offenses to running what the Bears need to be successful in 2018 and beyond.
In The End …
The NFL is a copycat league and DeFilippo could be viewed as this year’s Sean McVay. Moreover, GM Ryan Pace could see DeFilippo as his own Sean Payton, of whom he holds in high regard after working together in New Orleans.
If you’ll recall, the Saints hired Payton away from the Cowboys after he spent three years as the team’s quarterback coach. Like DeFilippo, Payton also had prior experience as an offensive coordinator that ended on a sour note. When the Giants offense struggled in 2002, head coach Jim Fassel took over play calling duties and led a turnaround that pushed the team into the playoffs. After the season, Bill Parcells hired Payton away from the Giants and installed him as as Assistant Head Coach/Quarterbacks Coach. The rest is history.
Pace needs to nail this hire, so perhaps he choose a less risky path than DeFilippo. But if Pace’s transaction history has taught us anything, it’s that he values upside and potential – two things DeFilippo has plenty of entering this round of interviews.