Chicago Bears: It is time to change what they look for in a head coach

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

When he was hired to be the next Chicago Bears head coach in the spring of 2018, Matt Nagy was coming off a season in which he called plays for an offense that had ranked 6th in points for, 5th in total yards, 7th in passing yards, and 9th in rushing yards.

However, since his inaugural season, the highest the Chicago Bears have ranked in any of these categories has been this year with their 6th ranked rushing attack – a number that is inflated because it accompanies the 32nd ranked passing offense.

Now, with recent reports indicating that Matt Nagy might be coaching his last game on Thanksgiving when the Bears travel to Detroit to play the Lions, it’s time to actually start thinking about what they should be looking for in their next head coach.

Names like Greg Roman, Brian Daboll, Byron Leftwich, Kellen Moore have been often tied to the Bears to fill the upcoming vacancy mostly due to their offensive playcalling prowess and QB development.

Unfortunately, the last time the Bears solely focused on QB development and offensive playcalling/scheme in their head coaching search, they hired Matt Nagy.

The Chicago Bears need to expand their search criteria for their next head coaching hire.

It became obvious once the Bears drafted Justin Fields that the next most important decision they’d have to make is who will be his head coach. Current ESPN analyst and former NFL QB Dan Orlovsky has been saying as much every week on ‘Get Up!’ and ‘Keyshawn, JWill, and Max’ since the Cleveland debacle in week 3 of this season.

"“Justin Fields is the most important draft pick in the history of the Chicago Bears. The second most important pick will be who they select as the next head coach.” -Dan Orlovsky (on KJM via ESPN on Youtube)"

With that as the foundation for their next head coach search, it would be insanity for the Bears to once again narrow their list of coaching candidates based solely on playcalling and scheme. This is true for two primary reasons.

Primarily, there is no way to know how a coordinator’s playcalling is impacted by the added responsibilities of being a head coach. Nagy struggled with this a lot despite success as an OC in Kansas City. Even the prodigal son, Kyle Shanahan, is struggling this year with balancing the responsibilities of coaching and developing talent with his playcalling duties.

Secondly, the Bears have Justin Fields. This isn’t a league-average starter like Jay Cutler or a project QB like Mitchell Trubisky. He’s a potential superstar. For once, the Chicago Bears won’t have to find someone who believes in their quarterback as much as they do. It was very clear from Trubisky’s time in Chicago that Matt Nagy never truly believed in him as a franchise quarterback but he most definitely sold the Bears on his ability to develop Trubisky during the interview.

The Chicago Bears have a quarterback that will draw interest from the best head-coaching candidates. On top of this, they will attract some of the best coaches/coordinators in football to join the next staff because making Fields look good will be a great boost in their own coaching careers.

Given how valuable Fields is as an asset, and the inevitable interest in the Bears job, it’s important that the front office and upper management invest the time in finding someone who they can partner with Fields for the next 10+ years. They can’t afford to keep shuffling in different schemes with unproven head coaches, stunting Justin Fields’ development.

The Chicago Bears need a franchise leader, not a play-caller.

They need to go find a Mike Tomlin, Sean Payton, John Harbaugh type coach. Ironically enough, only one of these three men was an offensive coordinator before being hired as a head coach. However, all three have been in their current positions for over 10 years and counting, combined for 52 playoff games and 3 Superbowls. None has picked inside the top 10 of the draft more than once over their long tenures.

The common denominator between these three future Hall-of-Fame coaches? All three are exceptional leaders that have adjusted their philosophy as the game has changed. All three of these coaches coach with an identity and every single coach on staff and player who wears their uniform goes about their business with a silent yet palpable confidence.

The Chicago Bears desperately need this for Justin Fields. Their ability to build a championship-level defense is second to none, and so no one should be worried about them retooling their roster to field another elite defensive unit in the near future. However, where they have always lacked is coaching leadership and quarterback play.

The draft selection of Justin Fields gave the Chicago Bears their best chance in at least a quarter-century to solve their QB woes but now they have to do right by him in hiring a coach who can confidently lead this franchise with Fields for the next 15 years.

Next. What the Chicago Bears can learn from the Baltimore Ravens. dark