Chicago Bears Head Coach Options Based On GM Targets


So far, a few names have cropped up for the Chicago Bears GM job.  What do they offer and who could they hire as possible head coaches?

Chris Ballard

If there is any name as yet involved in the Bears GM shuffle, the one who has to be considered the favorite for the job is Chris Ballard.  Before becoming director of player personnel in Kansas City he was a scout for 12 years in Chicago.  He knows the city, knows the ownership and knows the fans and their expectations.  Nobody could hit the ground running faster than him.

  • Dave Toub:  Honestly it’s surprising Dave Toub hasn’t been mentioned more in head coaching conversations.  His special teams units have ranked among the best in the NFL every years.  He has a reputation for flexibility, demanding player respect and a creative side.  What makes him such an obvious choice is that, like Ballard he was a coach in Chicago for years and on top of that joined Ballard in Kansas City to become their special teams coach.  The two are familiar with each other and have similar visions.
  • Darrell Bevell:  The Bears actually had interest in the Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator back in 2013 as well.  He’s known for being able to adapt his system to his players as evidenced by first reaching success with Brett Favre in Minnesota and then reinventing himself with Russell Wilson in Seattle.  He loves a power running game and using the play action.  Most importantly though, Bevell was actually a roommate in college of Ballard’s, so the two know each other well.

Vince Newsome

Eric DeCosta is always the guy people look to as the big fish to get among GMs-to-be but he’s not the only member of the Baltimore Ravens front office who can say that.  Vince Newsome, a former player who has been with the team for years working his way up the ladder as a scout and now director of player personnel is also high on many lists for his experience under Ozzie Newsome and his reputation for solid player evaluation.

  • Gary Kubiak:  Newsome understands football and understands the value of being flexible to the players he has in order to achieve success quickly.  The best way to do that is find a coach he knows well and can help him achieve that.  Gary Kubiak is offensive coordinator in Baltimore.  He favors a philosophy of a strong rushing attack, play action and good defense.  The best part is he has head coaching experience from his days in Houston.
  • Rex Ryan:  Another former Ravens coach that Newsome knows well.  Rex Ryan was defensive coordinator in Baltimore for four seasons and helped them maintain a stature of defensive excellence that continues to this day.  His experience with the Jets along with his tough-minded approach to the game are things Newsome can latch on to as key to helping him re-light the fire in the Bears locker room.

Ryan Pace

Another younger executive who started in the trenches and worked his way up.  Ryan Pace has been with the New Orleans Saints through thick and thin as one of their top scouts and now director of pro personnel.  Head coach Sean Payton swears by him, which is a ringing endorsement.

  • Doug Marrone:  Pace has connections of his own to the current field of possible head coaches.  A big name to watch would be Doug Marrone.  Before making it at Syracuse and then Buffalo, Marrone was offensive coordinator for the Saints from 2006 to 2008.  He was an integral part of helping Payton rebuild a fledgling franchise into an eventual Super Bowl champion.  Pace knows what he’s about.
  • Mike Shula:  Part of finding head coaches is keeping aprised not just of those on your staff but on the opponents’ as well.  Few teams have given the Saints a harder time than the Carolina Panthers and a big part of that has been Mike Shula.  The son of the Hall of Fame coach Don Shula has been around football his entire life and enjoyed plenty of success.  His recent efforts with Cam Newton have yielded a Rookie of the Year award, two Pro Bowls and back-to-back playoff appearances.  The bloodlines, the experience and the quarterback whispering are all things Pace could get on board with.

Lake Dawson

Another former player who had his career cut short by injuries, Lake Dawson didn’t let that stop him.  He soon found his way into scouting, becoming a huge part of helping Seattle reach their first Super Bowl in 2005.  Two years later in landed with the Tennessee Titans where he rose to becoming their vice president of football operations.

  • Ray Horton:  Even before he joined the Titans this past off-season, Ray Horton has remained a popular name in league circles for a head coaching job.  He has spent twenty years as an assistant all over the league, won two Super Bowls in Pittsburgh and since become one of the better defensive coordinators around.  He also played nine years in the league, winning another ring in Dallas.  Few other coaches have seen what winning teams look like as often as Horton.
  • Brian Kelly:  One interesting thing to note about Lake Dawson is where he went to school, which was Notre Dame.  So it stands to reason he typically keeps an eye on his old alma mater.  That would mean he’s seen the kind of job Brian Kelly has done rebuilding that program to respectability, including a national title appearance in 2012.  The guy favors strong defense and running the ball, two things the Chicago Bears wish to regain and he has won at every stop he’s made as a head coach.