Replacing Lovie Smith? Potential Coaching Candidates for Chicago Bears


Dec 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith looks on during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Bears 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Lovie Smith’s seat hasn’t been any hotter than it is right now, so I though it would be worthwhile to take a look at some possible candidates to replace him in the event that Phil Emery decides to launch him.  I’ve broken the list up into four categories:

The Mount Rushmore

This list includes Super Bowl winning coaches who presently reside comfortably in broadcast booths or on golf courses.  The price tag to get any of these coaches will be very steep and most likely out of the McCaskey’s price range.

Bill Cowher

This has been my dream scenario since the fiery, steel jawed Cowher left Pittsburgh.  The ideal candidate for the “fire and passion” fan base, Cowher’s passion is always very clear on the sidelines.  Have years away from the sidelines mellowed him?  He’s a defensive minded guy, so he’s not ideal for those wanting to see the Bears to shift for an offensive philosophy.

Tony Dungy

He got a Super Bowl ring as he bested his buddy and our own Lovie Smith back in Super Bowl XLI.  He’s another defensive-minded guy and subscribes to similar philosophies that Lovie does.  He’s not a fire and passion guy and perhaps anyone looks better with Peyton Manning running the offense.  Not too much of a departure from Lovie except for the ring.

Jon Gruden

Gruden may annoy the crap out of you on Monday Night Football with his “this guy” and “that guy” routine, but Chuckie knows how to build a Super Bowl winner.  He’s ripe from the Mike Holmgren coaching tree and itching to get back into the game.  He’s an offensive minded guy that will provide the right structure for Cutler and Marshall, if he doesn’t drive them crazy first.

January 1, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton during their game against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton

It could be the next biggest Payton to hit Chicago since Sweetness.  Of course Payton has been sidelined by the entire Bounty-gate scandal, which is now proving to be

There are differing reports about whether or not Payton’s contract will expire at the end of this season.  Some state that it’s been extended a year beyond 2012 since he was suspended this season.  If that’s the case, a lot of people think he’s stay in the NOLA or Dallas beltway since his kids are down there following a messy divorce.  What could be better for the former spare-Bear raised in Naperville, than to come back to his roots to coach his hometown team?

Emery Connections

Phil Emery is in his second go-around with the Bears.  Since his last stint with the Bears, he spent time in Atlanta and Kansas City.  Here are a couple of names of guy with whom he crossed paths that might be on his radar.

Herm Edwards

Edwards was in KC in Emery’s first season with the Chiefs.  Can you imagine the sound bytes you’d get from Edwards?  “YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME.” He’s another fire and passion kind of guy with a defensive focus.  It might be tough to pull him from the Worldwide Leader, where he seems pretty comfy.

Todd Haley

This is an interesting candidate in that he had a stint with the Bears with Emery as wide receivers coach before heading off to be OC of the Cheifs while Emery was there and then on to head coach with the Arizona Cardinals.   He’s a bit of a red ass, so that will play to the fire and brimstone sect while an offensive focus could work wonders for that side of the ball.   Mixed with Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, could make for a combustible relationship.  He’d have to get pried away from the Steelers, where he’s currently the OC for the struggling Steelers.

Internal Candidates

Could the Bears next head coach be right under their noses?  Here a couple of guys who already know the lay of the land and would minimize on relocation expenses.

Aug 30, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub yells in the first half of a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Dave Toub

Toub’s name comes up annually as a potential head coaching candidate.  He’s coordinated the most consistent and successful unit on the Bears for the better part of the last decade.   Special teams coordinators have a unique vantage point because they work with players from both sides of the ball and have good command of the personnel.  For a team on the precipice of re-building, he’s make for a good teaching coach to try to make young players better.

Mike Tice

It’s not as absurd as it sounds.  Tice has experience as a head coach so while he’s been a bit of a trainwreck as OC, he has run a very successful team when he was in charge of the Vikings.  The reason why I consider this is because it keeps some stability around Jay Cutler and the offense so Jay doesn’t have to learn yet another new offense.

Current Coordinators and College Coaches

This is the list that Ted Phillips and the McCaskeys are most likely to steer Phil Emery.  Think cheap.  Think the Bears way.

Bruce Ariens – he’s coordinated the Steelers offense for years with a Super Bowl on his resume.

Kyle Shannahan – offensive coordinator for the Redskins, he’s done a lot with RGIII and his daddy Mike knows Jay very well.

Jerry Fontenot – former Bears center is currently the tight ends coach for the Packers.  Aaron Rodgers recently endorsed him as “head coaching material.

Brian Kelly – can the ND head coach parlay an appearance in the National Title Game into a career in the NFL?  He can’t afford the pay cut.

Bill O’Brien – led a crippled Penn State program from the shadow of a legend and a terrifying coverup to a very respectable 8-4 season.

What do you think?  Are any of these candidates excite you?  Do you think there’s any way the Bears fire Lovie and if they do will they go for Mount Rushmore or another first timer?  Post your thoughts in the Comments.

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