Monday, January 24, 2022

Josh McDaniels Remains High On Bears’ Wishlist Of Coaching Candidates

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Back in November, I reported that the expectations were the Chicago Bears would move on from head coach Matt Nagy. Once that happened, one of the candidates the organization had a high degree of interest in was Josh McDaniels. The New England Patriots offensive coordinator. There were multiple reasons for this. One is his tremendous success at developing quarterback Mac Jones. Not to mention his outstanding work with Tom Brady and even Matt Cassel dating back over a decade.



Then there was the strong interview he delivered back in 2018 when the Bears explored him for the job as well. The organization knows the success of Justin Fields is paramount for their future. McDaniels is as qualified as anybody in the league to make that happen. Yet for whatever reason, the Patriots coordinator hasn’t received any interview requests. Now it was finally revealed why. Aaron Wilson of Sportstalk 790 explained.

“Highly regarded New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is focused solely on his preparations for a Saturday night AFC wild-card playoff game against the Buffalo Bills and he is not expected to pursue any head coaching opportunities during the postseason, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.

McDaniels does have significant interest around the league. Among the teams that are believed to be strongly considering McDaniels: the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants.”

This all points to one clear reality.

The head coach decision may take longer than people think. Both because the Bears want to evaluate each of their current candidates but also to wait on McDaniels becoming available. The Patriots play the Buffalo Bills in the wild card round this weekend. If they lose, expectations are he would start taking interviews at that point. Albert Breer of the MMQB hinted that the veteran assistant is a big fan of Justin Fields, having vetted him multiple times before the draft.

None of this guarantees that Josh McDaniels will ultimately be the next Bears head coach. Instead, it suggests the organization is willing to take its time. They wish to get this decision right. Don’t forget McCaskey and his team will interview Patriots personnel executive Eliot Wolf in the coming days. Pairing him together with McDaniels would seem like a natural idea if he ends up being the guy they want.

Josh McDaniels wait allows Bears to take their time

McCaskey said the hope going into this offseason was to hire a GM first. By waiting until at least next Monday for a chance to set up an interview with McDaniels, it allows them to not rush the coaching decision. Even as seven other teams enter the fray. While this feels like a race, the reality is the Bears don’t have to rush. Plenty of good candidates will still be out there a week or two from now. Find the right GM first. Then determine the head coach.

The tricky part is figuring out what it would take for Josh McDaniels to jump. He seems comfortable in New England. Everybody remembers he backed out of the Indianapolis Colts job at the last second over concerns about his say in the roster decisions. This has led many to believe he wouldn’t take a head coaching job unless it was with a GM/personnel executive that he knows and trusts.

That is where Wolf would come in, having worked with McDaniels for two years now.

It’s a fun subplot to monitor as this process continues to unfold. The Bears brass isn’t rushing into this thing like they did four years ago. Remember Nagy was hired just one week after the end of the regular season. That doesn’t figure to happen this time. This is going to be methodical.

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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