With a flurry of interviews scheduled in the coming days, Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery has found a group of candidates that he’ll pick from to be the 17th head coach in franchise history.
While candidates will range from various coordinators – and perhaps a few veteran coaches and maybe even a college coach might get an interview with the Bears – there’s one thing Emery should be targeting as a premium quality for the next head coach: a firm understanding of offense.
For nine seasons, Lovie Smith was a great defensive head coach, but his inability to piece together different players and assistant coaches on offense ultimately costed him his job. Hiring an offensive minded coach would be in the best interest for the Bears, as their most valuable pieces reside on offense moving forward: Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall.
Trace through the Bears’ history of coaches and you’ll discover a line of coaches who have defensive roots. In fact, George Halas is the last Bears head coach that resided from the offensive side.
One candidate who might top Emery’s list is Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. Under three different quarterbacks – Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning – McCoy helped all three flourish and produce success in different ways by adapting to their strengths. McCoy’s versatility and success of adjusting the Broncos’ offense scheme through the last several years is something that NFL organizations are taking notice, and he’s become a trendy name in the beginning stages of many teams’ coaching searches.
Emery needs to find coach who can finally give the franchise some offensive direction. While a new coaching staff won’t solve all of the Bears’ troubles – improving a horrendous offensive line and adding playmakers for Cutler will top his list, too – it’s time for the Bears to start building a capable and feared offense, and that all starts with who’ll be their next head coach.
Having a strong defense has always been an area the Bears have prided themselves in, but it’s time to shift their focus on being an offensive-minded franchise.