The Chicago Bears left head coach Matt Nagy after four seasons at the helm. While Nagy didn’t have a losing season until this year and made two playoff appearances in his first three seasons, his handling of Mitchell Trubisky and Justin Fields ultimately led to the end of his tenure at Chicago.
Chicago also fired general manager Ryan Pace, so it will be a clean slate for a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since the 2010 season. The Bears have a young quarterback at Fields entering their second season and a harvest of young offensive talent led by David Montgomery and Darnell Mooney. Chicago’s defense – led by Roquan Smith – has finished sixth in yards allowed this season, so it’s a franchise that can turn things around quickly (if Fields can be developed properly).
The Bears are in a big market and in the NFC North, which is not very good outside of the Green Bay Packers. The Minnesota Vikings have just cleaned up their front office and coaching staff while the Detroit Lions are in the midst of rebuilding, so there is an opportunity to immediately win.
With the Bears being one of five teams looking for a new head coach, here are the top candidates for the Chicago vacancy.
Suddenly the Bears have the option of hiring one of the best head coaches around in Flores, whom the Dolphins surprisingly fired after a 9-8 season. Flores is the only head coach to start a season 1-7 and finish with a winning record (2021), as the Dolphins have gone 24-25 in his three seasons – with two winning campaigns. Flores has gone 24-18 in his last 42 games as a head coach.
Flores struggled with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and had numerous personnel changes including four offensive coordinators, two defensive coordinators and four offensive line coaches during his three seasons on the job. While Flores was able to win in Miami (the first head coach to win consecutive seasons for the Dolphins since Dave Wannstedt), continuity was not what owner Stephen Ross wanted.
Flores will have her players ready to play and has a great culture on the pitch which is what the Bears need. Maybe he’ll be better with the off-court staff in his second stint as head coach.
Bears shouldn’t stray away from the Andy Reid tree just because Nagy waded. There are a lot of successful coaches who were assistants under Reid and Bieniemy looks set to be next if given the chance.
Bieniemy’s CV speaks for itself. The Chiefs have scored the most points per game in the NFL (30.3) since Bieniemy became the offensive coordinator in 2018, as well as the most yards per game (404.2). Kansas City also has the best NFL record in Bieniemy’s run, going 50-15 with three conference championship appearances and a Super Bowl title in the 2019 season. The quarterback Chiefs Patrick Mahomes also has the most passing yards, passing touchdowns and the second-highest passer rating since the start of the 2018 season.
Bieniemy would do wonders with a young quarterback like Justin Fields and put a talented staff around him – helping him develop. This is the perfect opportunity for Bieniemy to set up his offensive game plan with an attack surrounded by young talents.
Harbaugh’s career as a quarterback with the Bears is much to be desired, but his tenure as an NFL quarterback in the “Windy City” shouldn’t affect his chances of becoming a head coach in Chicago.
Harbaugh is no stranger to success in the NFL, going 44-19-1 in four seasons as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers won the NFC Championship in the 2012 season and reached the Conference Championship game for three consecutive seasons (2011 to 2013), as Harbaugh compiled a 0.695 regular-season winning percentage – fifth out of the all-time list for coaches who have coached for four seasons. Harbaugh left for Michigan after the 49ers finished 8-8 in 2014, passing 61-24 for the Wolverines, winning a Big Ten Championship and a college football playoff appearance last season – but he’s 0-3 in New Years Six matches.
Harbaugh brings a ton of credibility to the Bears and he’ll get to work with a quarterback he’s seen a lot at Fields (trained against Fields when Fields was at Ohio State). What Harbaugh has been able to do with Colin Kaepernick is enough to show that he can turn Fields into an NFL star, not to mention the collection of talented assistant coaches he will bring with him to Chicago.
The Bears would be wise to see if they can woo Harbaugh in the NFL – and he could stay in the Midwest.
Day would be an off-the-beaten-path hire, but it wouldn’t hurt the Bears to call him. Day was Chip Kelly’s quarterbacks coach for the Eagles in 2015 and 49ers in 2016 before becoming Ohio State’s offensive coordinator – landing the head coach job following the retirement of Urban Meyer.
Day, who coached Fields at Ohio State, is 34-4 as the Buckeyes’ head coach with the Big Ten Championships in 2019 and 2020 and ranks in the top three in a row in the final standings of the ‘Associated Press (with a top five in 2021). Fields completed 68.4% of his passes for 5,373 yards with 63 touchdowns to nine interceptions in two seasons with Day, while rushing for 15 touchdowns. There is a huge track record of success out there.
Reuniting Day with Fields could do wonders for the Bears, especially since Day has NFL experience and knows how to work with their franchise quarterback. Chicago might be the only NFL job Day would want, which is a plus for the Bears as well.
Again, hard to turn away from the Reid tree here – especially one with a Super Bowl championship on their resume. Pederson went 42-37-1 in his five seasons with the Eagles, winning two NFC East titles and taking the franchise to three consecutive playoff appearances.
Pederson quickly transformed the Eagles, becoming one of 11 head coaches to win the Super Bowl in his first two seasons as a head coach. He accomplished this with a young quarterback at Carson Wentz, helping him become an MVP candidate in his second season in the league before an ACL and MCL injury changed his young quarterback’s fortunes. .
In Chicago, Pederson will get back to work with a young quarterback at Fields – something he himself embraces as a former NFL quarterback. He will also be able to reverse the culture with the Bears, which he quickly changed with the Eagles.
The Bears can win big with Pederson, who is no stranger to the big market. Chicago is looking for a winner, a Bill Pederson suits him very well.