Matt Nagy doesn’t have many friends to turn to these days. Mostly critics and doubters. Such is the byproduct of coaching a losing football team. One of the more outspoken against him dating back to last year has been Dan Orlovsky. The former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst hasn’t been subtle in his criticisms of Nagy, especially when it comes to his handling the Bears’ offense. He often calls it one of the worst he’s ever seen. Considered he played on the 0-16 Detroit Lions team? That is saying something.
So it isn’t a surprise Orlovsky was involved in conversations about who might replace Nagy after this season. He believes one thing and one thing only should be driving the search. Finding somebody who can maximize Justin Fields. During an appearance on Keyshawn, JWill, & Max, they were discussing the possibility of bringing Ryan Day up from Ohio State to reunite him with his former QB. While the idea is sound, Orlovsky doesn’t think the head coach will have any desire to leave. No, he had another name in mind.
And boy it was a doozy.
For those who don’t know, Dan Mullen was the head coach at Florida since 2018. However, after a 5-6 record this year the program elected to fire him. So it’s not difficult to understand why show host Keyshawn Johnson was perplexed by the idea. Why is Orlovsky convinced? Despite what happened this year, he believes Mullen to be a solid coach who has a particular knack for developing quarterbacks.
Mullen first made a name for himself in Utah as their offensive coordinator where he helped Alex Smith eventually become the #1 overall pick. Then he moved on to Florida at the same position where he won two national championships with Tim Tebow. Another eventual 1st round pick. That was enough for Mullen to get his first head coaching job at Mississippi State. A position he’d hold for nine seasons, during which he recruited and developed future Pro Bowler Dak Prescott.
Matt Nagy replacement can’t only be about Justin Fields
Does the development of the young quarterback take priority? Without question. He is the key to your future. However, there are 52 other players on a football team and the head coach is responsible for all of them as well. This is why the idea of Mullen makes no sense. For all the success he’s had at nurturing QBs, his teams have largely underachieved during his head coaching career. His teams won double-digit games in a season just three times in 13 seasons.
With all due respect to Orlovsky, the Bears can do a lot better. It is interesting that he is focused on the college arena though. No doubt this is spurred by the recent success of guys like Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona) and Matt Rhule (Carolina). If Chicago is seeking a Matt Nagy replacement, then perhaps they should consider an avenue they’ve never tried before. None of the Bears’ head coach hires have come from college in the Super Bowl era.
A source close to the situation indicated that could change.
Ownership has conducted research on possible candidates and there has reportedly been a heavy focus on big college names. There are some intriguing options. Day is obvious. Matt Campbell at Iowa State has gotten lots of love the past couple of years. There is also Jim Harbaugh lurking up there at Michigan. If the Bears do go that route, there are several names they’ll consider before Mullen.