The Chicago Bears are hard at work looking for their next head coach. They’ve already interviewed several candidates including three over the weekend. Now another in Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus gets his opportunity on Monday. Thus far it remains unknown how most of the candidates have faired or if there are any current favorites. Peter King might have an idea.
The longtime NFL insider wrote his latest column for NBC Sports. In it, he discusses the state of the Bears’ situation. While former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores feels like a possibility, he sees somebody else as a name to watch. One that a lot of fans might not be expecting.
“Could they fall in love with Brian Flores? Someone likely will. I still like the logic of handing the coaching gig to Jim Caldwell, seeing that the chief adviser to the search is Hall of Fame GM Bill Polian, who has always thought Caldwell didn’t get enough time (three seasons) in his first go-round as head coach in Indianapolis. Caldwell is the steady hand that Tony Dungy is beyond convinced is going to give a young team, and a young quarterback, a great chance. Tough to doubt that. Caldwell was six games over .500 as a head man in Detroit.”
This is interesting.
It was a minor surprise when news broke that the Bears would interview Caldwell. The former Colts and Lions head coach has been out of the NFL for the past two seasons. It is hard to argue his qualifications. He went to a Super Bowl his first year in Indianapolis. Then in Detroit, he delivered an 11-5 record his first year, the best the Lions have had since 1991. Despite going 9-7 in both 2016 and 2017, the team elected to fire him in favor of Matt Patricia. A decision they no doubt wish they could take back.
He also was a critical piece of the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl run in 2012, taking over as offensive coordinator midway through the year. This resulted in Joe Flacco winning Super Bowl MVP. When it comes to experience and track record, few of the other candidates Chicago has on their list can match Caldwell. Yet plenty of people have misgivings about the idea. The man just turned 67-years old. That is quite old for a guy to take over a new team. Especially with a young quarterback in Justin Fields he would be expected to grow with.
Chicago Bears connections to Caldwell are hard to ignore
As King mentioned, both Bill Polian and Tony Dungy are major proponents of his coaching candidacy and have been for years. It can’t be ignored that both men have served as key advisors to George McCaskey in this entire process. They know what the coach can do. How he can foster a winning culture and help cultivate a quarterback. His work with Peyton Manning, Flacco, and Matthew Stafford proves as much.
Then there are the GM connections to consider. Of the 15 candidates the Chicago Bears have met or will meet, three of them have ties to Caldwell. JoJo Wooden is the right-hand man of Chargers GM Tom Telesco who worked with the coach for several years in Indianapolis. Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz spent two years with him in 2012 and 2013. Then there is Dolphins senior personnel executive Reggie McKenzie who spent a year with him in Miami in 2019.
This isn’t even counting team connections.
Ed Dodds (assistant GM) and Morocco Brown (director of college scouting) are both from the Colts. So there is no shortage of people the Bears could pair with Caldwell. It comes down to what happens in the interview process. While he might be an assumed favorite, the job can often be won or lost in that meeting room.