George McCaskey isn’t stupid, despite what many Chicago Bears fans keep saying. The guy understands the predicament he’s in. The team is trending in the wrong direction. He had hoped staying the course with Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace in charge would work out. It didn’t. Now changes are required. The team chairman seems resolute on finding a new head coach. That much is certain. The GM question remains a bit of a mystery.
Either way, McCaskey faces a challenge he knows all too well. This will end up being his fourth head coaching change since he took over in 2011. Maybe his third GM change too. With a young quarterback to think about and a franchise in need of guidance after so many years of mediocrity, he must figure out how to find the right people to fix it. Given his limited football background, that continues to prove challenging.
So it appears he is seeking help.
In a recent article, I reported that the Bears owner is getting advice from outside sources on how to approach handling this situation. A little more information has since emerged. A source indicated that one of those counseling McCaskey is Tony Dungy. The Hall of Fame head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts. A man widely respected around the NFL for his intelligence, high character, and leadership qualities.
What makes this interesting is Dungy has long been an advocate of more diversity with coaching hires. Something McCaskey himself believes in as well. The former coach helped the Houston Texans hire head coach David Culley who after a rough 1-8 start has since gone 3-6 down the stretch with big upsets over the Titans and Chargers. All while helping rookie QB Davis Mills post an 86.2 passer rating.
Longtime Bears columnist Dan Pompei of The Athletic mentioned Dungy as one person the Bears might look to back in November.
Many young coaches, especially African American coaches, look to him for guidance. He was one of Smith’s mentors, and the McCaskeys have great respect for Smith.
With a calm, rational approach, Dungy is highly respected in NFL circles. He is a best-selling author of leadership books, including “The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams That Win Consistently.”
A few weeks later, a Bears source informed Brad Biggs about the possibility of speaking to Dungy as well. The idea appears to have been simmering for some time.
George McCaskey is right to talk with people like Dungy
The belief is that the Bears plan to cast a wide net in their head coaching search. They’re going to explore several candidates once the front office situation gets figured out. When that happens, he’ll want to have a good amount of information on possible minority options. Guys that might not be getting as many interviews as they should because of the color of their skin. Remember Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich didn’t get a single interview last offseason. Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has been passed over twice despite his success as well.
Dungy is the perfect sounding board in this situation. He can lead George McCaskey towards finding the right minority candidates that have been overlooked. He’ll also bring advice on what sort of character traits to look for in the right coach. Who are the leaders? The guys that can both galvanize a locker room and put players in the best position to succeed each week.
One thing is for sure.
McCaskey is keeping an open mind. That is one vital factor in this process. A willingness to listen to people who know how this entire thing is supposed to work. Dungy’s track record speaks for itself. One can safely assume he isn’t the only person the Bears chairman is talking to either. It will be interesting to see how this plays out next month.