The Chicago Bears’ head-coaching hire can be described as progressive and outside-the-box, but it was also an aggressive, quick-strike hire that has set the ball rolling in a positive direction.
Meanwhile, some other teams are slow-playing the process.
- The Indianapolis Colts have narrowed their search to two finalists, with Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels and Texans Defensive Coordinator Mike Vrabel at the top of their list.
- New England’s Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia seems to be the Detroit Lions’ top target, and probably should be after watching Teryl Austin leave for the Cincinnati Bengals.
- The New York Giants have both of the Patriots’ coordinators on their list of finalists, as well as Carolina Panthers DC Steve Wilks, and Vikings OC Pat Shurmur.
- The search for the Arizona Cardinals’ new coach is “the most open and methodical” as a second round of interviews is on deck.
But not only did the Bears quickly hire a head coach, they’ve also locked in three coordinators and a handful of positional coaches. If there was any major benefit from GM Ryan Pace showing conviction in his hire, it’s that the Bears are chugging along with their pick of the litter when it comes to the coaching staff rather than having to play the waiting game, only to risk falling behind.
- Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio seems pleased with returning to Chicago and wants to take the Bears’ defense back to where it belongs at the top of the charts.. “I’m very happy to be back to continue to try to improve the Bears and get the Bears back to being relevant again in the NFL,” Fangio said, via Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com. “I think the NFL is a much better league when the Bears are in the hunt and I want to be a part of that when we do get back into the hunt.”
- At some point, we’ll need to put everything on the table and dive into what our expectations for the Matt Nagy era will be. Over at the Chicago Sun-Times, Adam Jahns sets some parameters with the 2018 Los Angeles Rams representing a starting point in the process. The Bears-Rams comps are nothing new, but they will only come into the light more as the Bears fired an old-school, conservative, defensive-minded head coach and replaced him with a young, aggressive, offensive-leaning leader. But in the end, you can’t help but look at Nagy as an Andy Reid disciple and not use him as the standard. Ideally, Nagy follows in Reid’s footsteps and wins some games behind a high-powered offense, reliable defense, and a coaching staff other teams want to poach head-coaching candidates from. Not that we are rooting for other teams just to raid the Bears’ staff, but it would mean something is going right with the Bears if other teams come to take their coach.
- So far, so good as far as that coaching staff is concerned:
The Bears' coaching staff is all kinds of interesting.
— Doug Farrar (@BR_DougFarrar) January 13, 2018
- Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune hit the road and spent a day in Nagy’s hometown of Manheim, Pa. There, she would gain some perspective on how Nagy got to where he was today by visiting the place of his humble beginnings. It’s an outside-the-box kind of dive that you should probably clear some time on your schedule to read today. Also, there are pictures:
Some of the photos, provided and taken. More photos and video in the story link. pic.twitter.com/dScwpzfUxe
— Colleen Kane (@ChiTribKane) January 13, 2018
- There’s some good stuff in John Mullin’s notebook via NBC Sports Chicago, including the expectation that tight end usage will be on the rise under Nagy in 2018. Mullin cites examples of prior West Coast offenses getting production from the position under the likes of Marc Trestman and Ron Turner. Martellus Bennett had a 90-catch season in 2014 and made the Pro Bowl in Trestman’s offense. Greg Olsen’s 60-catch (with 108 targets!) with the Bears in 2009 were career bests for him until his breakout in 2012. Travis Kelce played on 84.9 percent of the Chiefs’ offensive plays in 2017, so it’s safe to expect Adam Shaheen will be on the field for more than just 24.2 percent of the team’s snaps in 2018.
- Another former John Fox assistant has landed on his feet. The University of Connecticut’s football team announced John Dunn will be the team’s offensive coordinator in 2018. “He’s very versed in offense,” Head Coach Randy Edsall said, via the Hartford Courtant. “We’re going to be a multiple, no-huddle offense that is going to use tempo, formations, and other things to create advantages. The good thing is, he’ll take the system that we had and enhance it.” Dunn was an offensive quality control coach in 2016 and offensive assistant last season.
- Brian Gutekunst’s football life has prepared him for his new job as the Green Bay Packers’ GM, writes Gerano C. Armas of the Associated Press. Gutekunst has first-hand experience in the kind of pressure he’ll be under to put in the work to be great. His dad was a college football head coach for six seasons with the University of Minnesota. Not that Packers fans will be out for blood or anything, but it was evident that the fanbase (and upper management) wasn’t pleased with missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Here’s to making it back-to-back postseason-less trips for the first time since the 2005 and 2006 seasons.