As the Bears head into a divisional matchup against the Minnesota Vikings in primetime on Monday Night Football, they sit at 3-8 with a head coach that has not won against a division opponent in two years. Rumors have started floating around this past week that the Bears intend to “clean house.” Kevin Warren will become more involved in the football side of the organization and bring in his own staff.
While the rumors included the potential firing of Ryan Poles, the focus is on the head coaching position. Poles’ job security is still very much up in the air, while Matt Eberflus essentially booked his flight with an early check-in to unemployed island last week with the loss against the Lions. This might change over the course of the next few months with how things shake up around the league, but this is my top head coaching candidate as of today:
Jim Harbaugh (HC – Michigan University)
I know, I know, what a completely original take that has not been repeated constantly across Bears media and fanbase!
All jokes aside, it’s time. Jim Harbaugh has done nothing but win at every level of coaching throughout his career. Quite frankly, there isn’t any convincing that needs to be done here of whether Harbaugh is worthy of the job. You write him a blank check, you offer the keys to the organization, and hope he says yes. Simple.
HOWEVER, let’s assume that Jim Harbaugh is not in the cards. He stays at Michigan to continue the noble cause of beating THE Ohio State University every year.
Who do the Bears pursue then?
Dan Quinn (DC – Dallas Cowboys)
Dan Quinn is 53 years old, began his NFL coaching career in 2001 with the 49ers as a defensive quality control coach. He was the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks from 2013-2014, going to back-to-back Super Bowls and if they had given Marshawn Lynch the ball, they would have won both. Became the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons in 2015, made it to the Super Bowl in his second year (yea 28-3 haha). Following being fired by Atlanta mid-season in 2020, Quinn was quickly swiped up to be the Cowboys defensive coordinator in 2021 and he has been there since.
In 2020, the Dallas Cowboys had one of their worst defenses in team history, ranking 28th in the league in points against, 21st in turnovers. In 2021, the Cowboys defense ranked 7th in points against, 1st in turnovers and Dan Quinn was named NFL Assistant Coach of the Year. In 2022, the defense ranked 5th in points against, 2nd in turnovers. This season, the defense currently ranks 4th in points against, and 5th in turnovers.
There’s a pattern here.
I realize Dan Quinn being the preferred candidate might turn some heads. It’s not as sexy of a hire, and most would want one of the young, offensive minded coordinators that gone on to have immediate success as head coaches like Sean McVay, Matt LeFleur, Mike McDaniel – all those guys in the Kyle Shanahan coaching tree. While the Bears should absolutely do their due diligence and interview those like Bobby Slowik (OC – Houston Texans) who has done an amazing job in his first year as a play-caller and with rookie quarterback CJ Stroud – there is a substantial amount of risk with that type of hire. The Chicago Bears as an organization, now more than ever, need stability.
When the Bears hired Matt Nagy in 2018, I whole-heartedly believed it was the right hire, and still believe that today. Regardless of how it ended here with Nagy, hiring the 39-year-old offensive coordinator that ANDY REID gave play-calling duties to and won double digit games with Alex Smith at QB – was absolutely the right call. Towards the end of Nagy’s tenure though, there was so much dysfunction that brewed from the nonsense of bringing in Nick Foles to compete with Mitch Trubisky, to signing Andy Dalton and then drafting Justin Fields. There was no sense of direction, and the locker room was gone. When Nagy was fired, I was hoping that the Bears would be aggressive in getting a proven head coach to repair what became a broken foundation.
During that coaching search in the 2022 off-season, the Bears interviewed multiple former head coaches. I originally wanted Doug Peterson, but when the reports came out that the Bears had three finalists and they were – Jim Caldwell, Dan Quinn and Matt Eberflus, I was all-in on Dan Quinn. The opportunity to hire someone of that pedigree does not happen often.
Ultimately, they chose to hire Matt Eberflus, vowed to take the north and haven’t won a division game since.
Doug Peterson walked into an organization in the Jacksonville Jaguars that was in absolute shambles despite drafting a generational prospect in Trevor Lawrence and won a playoff game in his first year. They currently sit as the #1 seed in the AFC. The importance of bringing in someone with that kind of pedigree to rebuild the cultural foundation cannot be stressed enough.
Do not make the same mistake twice. Bring Dan Quinn to Chicago.