Back in mid-November, I reported that the Chicago Bears were compiling a list of possible head coach options for the coming offseason. This as the team continued to spiral and evidence mounting that Matt Nagy was in line to be fired. One name mentioned in the mix was Josh McDaniels. The New England Patriots offensive coordinator has done superb work this season with rookie Mac Jones, reminding everybody why he is still one of the best in the business.
Given the importance of Chicago making sure they do everything possible to make Justin Fields a success, eyeing somebody like McDaniels makes sense. As it turns out, the interest might be mutual. According to Albert Breer of The MMQB, he was asked about potential coaching candidates for the Bears. While he understands the recent buzz surrounding Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, it is his belief that McDaniels is the one to watch.
A key reason? He is apparently a big fan of Fields.
“As for other candidates, I think Josh McDaniels is one worth keeping your eye on, someone with a high-end résumé in quarterback development, and a coach who took a very hard look at Fields predraft last year.”
Breer isn’t the only one who mentioned McDaniels by name either. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports believes he is one of their top three candidates for the job as well. Suffice to say this is way too much smoke to simply be shrugged off as noise. It is important to remember that McDaniels has wanted to get a second chance at head coaching for years ever since his ugly two-year stint in Denver between 2009 and 2010.
He came close to taking over the Colts in 2018 but backed out at the last second. Some claimed it was due to assurances from New England he’d be Bill Belichick’s successor. Breer himself though claimed it was due to differences with Indianapolis GM Chris Ballard. He would prefer to work with somebody he is more familiar with. Thus he returned to the Patriots and has continued having success.
Why exactly did McDaniels pull out of the Colts head coaching position?
— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) January 8, 2020
Josh McDaniels is a risk but a calculated one
One important thing to remember here is the Bears interviewed McDaniels back in 2018. Reports indicated at the time that the meeting went quite well. The coach was impressed with the organization and vice versa. It seemed like he might be the initial favorite for the job but that changed once Matt Nagy won them over in his own interview a couple of days later. No doubt Ryan Pace is wondering how different things might’ve been. Apparently so does George McCaskey.
Is Josh McDaniels a risk? Of course, he is. One can’t just dismiss how bad things got in Denver and how he lost control of the locker room. The incident with Indianapolis as well. There are genuine questions about whether the man has the traits necessary to command a locker room. Can he coach an entire team rather than just an offense? The evidence thus far makes you worry. On the other hand, he was 33-years old in Denver.
A man can mature a lot in 12 years.
That would be the hope. I have stated multiple times in recent weeks the Bears are eyeing candidates with head coaching experience. McDaniels does qualify. Couple that with his outstanding resume at producing great offenses? It isn’t hard to understand why they’d be interested in him. After swinging and missing on the supposed “guru” that was Nagy, they probably would prefer to get the most proven commodity possible.