The Chicago Bears are nearing a possible major shift in their power structure. Especially in regards to the coaching staff. As the team continues to freefall after a 5-1 start, it’s looking like Matt Nagy will be trying to save his job over the final five games. Truth be told unless there’s a huge rally where they win at least four of those? It feels like he won’t be able to survive in 2021.
This is why speculation keeps ramping up on who might replace him next month. There are plenty of candidates out there. All of whom have qualifications befitting the job. Only the Bears ownership will know for sure who they want. That being said, there does appear to be a setlist of potential favorites. What many people want to know is if any of those guys do get hired, what sort of staff could they put together?
Here is a quick overview of five primary names who could be in play for the Bears and the offensive/defensive coordinators they could end up bringing with them.
Potential new Chicago Bears head coaches will need staffs
Brandon Staley (Rams defensive coordinator)
Staley was outside linebackers coach for the Bears from 2017 to 2018. Now he’s running the #2 overall defense in L.A. Momentum for him is picking up fast and for good reason. He’s intelligent, charismatic, savvy, and completely obsessed with football.
Offensive coordinator – Shane Waldron
Waldron has a unique advantage in that he’s coached several different offensive positions as an assistant over the past decade. That should give him plenty of insight on how to coordinator an offense. He’s also worked under two of the best play-callers in the business with Josh McDaniels and Sean McVay. As passing game coordinator in Los Angeles, he’s helped Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp, and Robert Woods excel for the past three years.
Defensive coordinator – Jay Rodgers
Rodgers has consistently remained one of the best defensive line coaches in the NFL. He routinely gets the best out of his position group every year, whether it’s the stars or the reserves. Since Staley would be the one calling plays on defense, the job of developing players and preparing them each week would fall to Rodgers. If he’s been this good with the defensive linemen, why not give him a chance to do it for the entire defense. He is ready for that shot.
Joe Brady (Panthers offensive coordinator)
He is the shining star of this coaching cycle. Brady elevated LSU to a national title in 2019 with his record-breaking offense. Now he’s turned Teddy Bridgewater back into a solid starter and is about to produce two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season.
Offensive coordinator – Joe Lombardi
Lombardi and Brady go back to their time together as assistants with the New Orleans Saints. He’s been the quarterback coach there since 2017 and done a tremendous job not only with Drew Brees but also Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill. He actually held the same job from 2009 to 2013 when Brees had the best years of his career. In between that, he was the offensive coordinator in Detroit for two seasons. So he has experience.
Defensive coordinator – Aaron Glenn
This guy has flown under the radar dating back to 2014. If people follow Glenn’s track record as a coach, they’ll see his players constantly excel. He sent three defensive backs to the Pro Bowl his first season in Cleveland. Then since arriving in New Orleans in 2016, he’s done the same for Marshon Lattimore while also elevating several others. Glenn has gotten an education from some great coordinators too including Bill Belichick, Vic Fangio, and Mike Zimmer.
Arthur Smith (Titans offensive coordinator)
The man survived multiple head coaching changes in Tennessee and eventually took over the offense in 2018. Now Derrick Henry is the reigning rushing champion and Ryan Tannehill is on his way to the Pro Bowl.
Offensive coordinator – Pat O’Hara
He’s essentially been Smith’s right-hand man in Tennessee since 2018. The quarterbacks coach who played a central role in helping turn around the career of Ryan Tannehill. O’Hara actually has extensive coaching experience from his days in the Arena League, both as a coordinator and head coach. He also played the game for several years as a quarterback. So he speaks the language of that position really well and isn’t intimidated running an entire offense.
Defensive coordinator – Ray Horton
Horton has had one of the strangest coaching runs in recent memory. He’s been a defensive coordinator four different times for three different teams. Three times he was fired despite producing a top 10 pass defense. Signs were always there he could coach but he seemed to arrive on teams that were already on the cusp of major changes like Arizona, Tennessee, and Cleveland. Horton won a Super Bowl as a player in Dallas and then as an assistant in Pittsburgh. He boasts a ton of proven experience.
Matt Eberflus (Colts defensive coordinator)
Eberflus has had success everywhere he’s been. He was a top coordinator at Missouri. He produced constant results as linebackers coach in Dallas and now runs one of the best defenses in the NFL over in Indianapolis. Probably not a coincidence.
Offensive coordinator – Scott Linehan
The best thing for Eberflus to do is find an offensive coordinator with a proven track record who likely won’t get plucked for head coaching jobs. Linehan fits that description. He already flamed out as a head coach in St. Louis. As a coordinator? He’s done some good work. In 16 seasons, he’s produced a top 10 offense eight times. Developing quarterbacks is something he had success at with guys like Daunte Culpepper, Matthew Stafford, and Dak Prescott. He and Eberflus worked together in Dallas.
Defensive coordinator – Dave Borgonzi
A central part of the Eberflus’ defensive success in Indianapolis has been his linebackers. Both Darius Leonard and Anthony Walker have emerged as playmakers. Much of that must be credited to their position coach Borgonzi. He’s a young up-and-comer Eberflus has worked with for years dating back to their time in Dallas in the early 2010s. If he’s this good at preparing a position group? Let’s see what he can do for an entire defense.
Dave Toub (Chiefs special teams coordinator)
The man has routinely been the best special teams coordinator in the NFL for well over a decade. He proved that in Chicago and continues to in Kansas City. The guy can coach. All that is left is giving him a legitimate opportunity to do it for a whole team.
Offensive coordinator – Harold Goodwin
Goodwin and Toub go way back. Both were assistants on that Chicago Bears team that made the Super Bowl in 2006. Goodwin was an offensive line assistant at the time. Eventually helped the Steelers win the Super Bowl two years later before following Bruce Arians to Arizona where he became their offensive coordinator in 2013. Across five seasons they finished top 10 in offense twice and made the NFC championship in 2015. Now he’s the assistant head coach in Tampa Bay where they’ve produced a top 10 offensive in both of his seasons.
Defensive coordinator – Brendan Daly
Team success follows Daly quite a bit. To date he’s won four Super Bowl as an assistant for the Patriots and Chiefs. He’s so reliable that Kansas City uses him as both their run game coordinator and defensive line coach. Routinely he has gotten the most out of his players, able to generate sacks and good stops up front. At age 45 he is seasoned and prepared for the next step up, having been groomed by guys like Andy Reid and Bill Belichick.