Monday, January 24, 2022

Chicago Bears Keeping Close Tabs On Head Coach Hopeful


Matt Nagy may have survived beyond Thanksgiving, but nothing about his win over the hapless Detroit Lions suggests his seat is any less hot than before. The Chicago Bears are still struggling and barely beat the worst team in football. While he may not get fired midseason, all indications are he’ll be gone by January. At that point, George McCaskey and whoever the GM is should have a good idea of who they want to go after as a replacement.

One persistent note that sources have told SM for the past few weeks is the Bears brass will likely target somebody with previous head coaching experience. Something they’ve rarely ever dabbled in as an organization going back to their inception. They’ve only done it three times, not including George Halas re-hiring himself.

Paddy Driscoll got the job in 1956. Prior to that he’d head coached for the Cardinals and Marquette University. In 1975, they hired Jack Pardee who’d been a head coach in the failed World Football League the year before. Then six years ago they brought John Fox in after he’d been fired by Denver.

The results from those experiences can best be called mixed.

Driscoll reached the NFL championship game his first year and regressed in 1957. Halas took the job back after that. Pardee inherited a bad football team but by his third season in 1977 got them to the playoffs. Their first such appearance in 14 years. He abruptly departed after that to take the Washington Redskins job. Fox? He never had more than six wins in any of his three seasons. So it isn’t a fool-proof approach.

It is one that can work though. Provided you find the right fit. One name that has the Bears’ attention lately according to a source? Ohio State head coach Ryan Day. Having taken over the job late in 2018, the 42-year old has produced consistent success with a record of 33-3 and two appearances in the College Football Playoff. The most recent resulting in a trip to the national championship game. His quarterback for that run? Justin Fields.

Chicago Bears eyeing Day makes perfect sense

Why not target the guy who turned your young quarterback into a superstar? Day is renowned for his offensive prowess. Proven every year by the Buckeyes having a top 10 offense in all but one of his seasons with them since 2017. That one year they didn’t? They ranked 11th. So yeah. The guy understands what it takes to score points. Some will argue he benefits from the ridiculous talent Ohio State produces, but he is the one recruiting that talent and maximizing it on the field.

So would the Chicago Bears pursue this? They have good reasons to. Day is experienced as a head coach. He has a strong relationship already built-in with their quarterback. Not only that, but he also has some background in the NFL. He isn’t just a pure college guy. Day worked for the Eagles and 49ers in 2015 and 2016 respectively as the quarterbacks coach. The man should have a good idea of what the pro level demands.

Would he come to Chicago?

While the Fields connection is a major selling point, it may prove difficult. Day is in a sweet position at Ohio State. Plenty of job security and already making a lot of money. The Bears would have to be willing to pay more than he’s making now (just under $7 million per year). Even then there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding this organization. It seems the team is prepared to explore the idea, but a lot of this comes down to Day’s interest. Something to monitor as January draws closer.

Erik Lambert
Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.

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