Since the conclusion of the regular season, the Chicago Bears have been in search of new offensive and defensive coordinators.
Chicago’s D has been a mess since Ron Rivera was allowed to walk following the Super Bowl run three years ago. While Lovie Smith decided to keep the other Ron (Turner) instead to continue running the offense.
After Chicago went out and got Jay Cutler in the offseason, expectations were extremely high for the Bears, especially with Matt Forte coming off his stellar rookie season. But Chicago finished 17th in passing and 29th in rushing.
Finally, Turner was sent packing.
Turner and Cutler were never really going to work out. Turner was used to working with guys like Kyle Orton, Erik Kramer and Jim Miller. Decent to moderately un-decent arms. Nothing like the erratic Cutler wing. It’s like giving a guy who is used to riding mules a wild stallion. You’re not really sure if you should ride it, and then when you do, you go hesitantly and slowly.
Plus, there were mistrust issues there dating back to Cutler’s senior year in high school when Turner, then the head coach at Illinois, pulled a scholarship offer, forcing Cutler to scramble and land at Vanderbilt. Turner says no official scholarship offer to Cutler ever came from him, and that up until the offseason trade, he hadn’t thought of the incident.
But Cutler certainly had.
So Turner was fired on Jan. 5. Every two days since, the Chicago media reports on a new candidate for the offensive coordinator gig. I mean who wanted to guide an offense led by a gifted young quarterback and a solid young running back? Right?
There was USC offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, who had worked with Cutler as his quarterbacks coach in Denver. Bates never interviewed. Instead, following Pete Carroll to Seattle for a little more stable job security. Nothing wrong with that.
Chicago then shifted its focus to division rival Green Bay, asking permission to speak with Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements. Green Bay rebuffed their hated rivals. Understandable.
Next came Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese. Zampese was recommended to Smith by Smith’s former employer Mike Martz, who if I’m not mistaken is also available and has publicly lobbied for the chance to work with Cutler. So basically you wouldn’t trust Martz to call the plays for you, but you’d trust him to help choose the guy who will call the plays for you. Great… Well, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis allowed Zampese to interview as long as a decision was made in a timely fashion.
Lovie dragged his feet, and Lewis took Zampese off the market.
“For us, that time has come and gone as far as the deadline. That’s kind of closed up, and I don’t think Lovie has made a decision on what he wants to do.”
San Diego Chargers assistant head coach/tight ends coach Rod Chudzinski was the next name brandied about by the Chicago media. David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune devoted an entire column as to the qualifications of “Chud” and why he was the right hire for the Bears.
Yeah, that didn’t happen.
Monday, the name of Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson attracted headlines in Chicago. By Tuesday Jackson had decided to take a job with the Oakland Raiders. Yup, the friggin’ Raiders.
What does it say about the state of your franchise when guys would rather work for Al Davis? Has Jay Cutler’s perceived petulance scared off candidates? It definitely has to be a possibility. As does the shaky job security of Smith if he doesn’t make the playoffs next year.
The tragic death of Gaines Adams put the coaching search on hold for a few days, but the Bears were already dragging their feet and getting snubbed before Adams’ passing. They did manage to hire former Vikings head coach and pencil-muncher Mike Tice to be the team’s offensive line coach. Yeah!!!
Sorry Lovie. It looks like you’ve got only one choice left.
Swallow hard, take a hit on your pride and hire Mike Martz.
…Or at least keep asking him who he likes.