This is our first Sunday without Chicago Bears football in quite some time, so let’s re-visit some of the good times with this highlight package via the Bears’ official Twitter:
Remember that time @PatODonnell_16 threw a touchdown pass? We do.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 5, 2018
We’ll have our eyes on today’s playoff games while monitoring the head coaching rumor mill, so it’s not like this Sunday will be completely Bearsless.
- We profiled Matt Nagy earlier today as he became the sixth coaching candidate interviewed since the Bears fired John Fox on New Year’s Day. That’s six in a five-day stretch if you’re keeping score at home. So much for being worried about the Bears falling behind other teams in their search for a head coach because they didn’t fire Fox during the season.
- Do the Bears love Matt Nagy? If so, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times notes they can hire him now after the Chiefs were eliminated in soul-crushing fashion on Saturday. The fact that the Bears could hire Nagy right now will test the front office’s patience. Even though they have already interviewed six candidates, there are a handful of coaches who I thought would have received interviews who haven’t. With that being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if more interviews (even some first interviews) are in line for this week.
- Had we posted our Nagy candidacy piece at halftime of Saturday’s game, you would have been hard-pressed to find too many passionate arguments against him. The Chiefs were up 21-3 behind a crisp offense that utilized a pass-catching tight end all over the field and a speedy pass catcher all over the formation. And then the second-half happened.
- Ah, what could have been: JJ Stankevitz and Paul Aspan of NBC Sports Chicago digs into what kind of candidate Jim Harbaugh would have been if he wasn’t so publicly adamant about staying at Michigan.
- Whether it’s an offensive-leaning coach or a defensive-minded leader coaching the Bears next year, John Mullin of NBC Sports Chicago writes whoever the Bears hire has questions to answer regarding Mitch Trubisky’s future. Surely, these coaching candidates will also have questions they would like to ask GM Ryan Pace about Trubisky and the rest of the offense. We often see these coach interviews from the franchise’s perspective, but potential coaches should be inquiring about what they’re getting into if they were to accept the job.
- And no matter who the candidate is, Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly writes the coach will undoubtedly be GM Ryan Pace’s guy. Yes, Pace hired John Fox, but that felt something between an arranged marriage and a shotgun wedding. Pace has already interviewed more people in six days since firing Fox than he did before making his first head coach hire. Pace will sink or swim with a coach he hired and there won’t be a consultant to share blame this time around. With that being said, I feel better about this process than I did about what the Bears did in 2015. Hopefully, good process leads to good results.
- There’s no coincidence the Bears are prioritizing the offensive side of the ball in their coaching search, according to ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson. Four of the six candidates are offensive assistants, while the two defensive coaches have some pretty serious questions about how they’ll piece together an offensive support staff for Trubisky. That isn’t to say those coaches should be eliminated from consideration, but there is a reason the Bears are going about their search in this manner.
- If the Bears go with an offensive guru as their next head coach, hopefully the team can retain Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator – who the Bengals were reportedly denied a chance to interview. If not, whoever takes over that position will be in a better spot than when Fangio took over back in 2015. It all starts up front for the Bears and nothing exemplifies it like this nugget from Pro Football Focus’ Mark Chichester in his 32 NFL observations after Week 17. “Interior defensive lineman Akiem Hicks produced 49 quarterback pressures and 44 stops this year for a total of 84 impact plays, which is tied for the fourth-most among all interior linemen this year.”
- To put up those numbers from a 3-4 defensive end spot shows how dominant Hicks was at his position this season. His Pro Bowl snub continues to irk me.
- One guy who knows about applying pressure from the defensive line is Hall of Famer Dan Hampton, who believes Bears ownership doesn’t know enough about football to make good decisions. Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune has the details from Hampton, who has never been one to mince words. There aren’t too many ex-Bears as passionate as Hampton when it comes to his former team, so when he speaks, we all listen.