Chicago Bears Rumors & News

Coaching Rumors: Cardinals, McAdoo, Fins

The Cardinals interviewed two more head coach candidates today, but the search will continue into next week, according to Kent Somers of AZCentral Sports. The Cardinals have met with Steve Wilks and Keith Armstrong twice and will not need to interview current defensive coordinator James Bettcher another time because of his history with the organization. The team will also interview John DeFilippo and Brian Flores next week, per Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com (Twitter link).

In addition, Somer states that the team could look at giving Jim Schwartz a second interview, but Jurecki did not mention the Eagles defensive coordinator in his tweet. The search is mostly continuing because both the Eagles and Patriots will be playing in their respective conference championships, so depending on how the games shake out, Arizona could resolve their head coaching search by the end of next week.

Finally, Somers importantly notes that former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has recommended Bettcher and Armstrong among this pool of coaches the front office is considering.

Here are more a coaching notes from around the NFL:

  • In more Cardinals coaching staff news, now two former staffers have now left for new opportunities, reports Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). In addition to former special teams coordinator Amos Jones moving onto the same position with the Browns, former wide receiver coach Darryl Drake has been hired by the Steelers.
  • Hue Jackson is adding an offensive coordinator to his staff and have interviewed former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo for the job. He interviewed with the Browns three days ago and apparently “It went fine”, a Browns source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Anderson adds that the source mentioned that they are “Just not going to rush into anything” after speaking to two candidates as of right now. Cleveland is also interviewing a high profile college coach in LSU’s RB coach Tommy Robinson for the same position on their staff, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • The Dolphins announced a slew of coaching moves today. The biggest apart from Dowell Loggains being brought on as offensive coordinator is former OC Clyde Christensen being reassigned as the team’s new director of football and player development. Shawn Jefferson was wide receivers coach, but will now be an assistant head coach working with the offense. They are also are promoting Ben Johnson to WR coach. He got experience with this group of players as an assistant WR coach last season.
  • The Bears have named Brock Olivo as the team’s new assistant special teams coach, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Olivo was the Broncos’ special teams coordinator last year and was with Matt Nagy on the Chiefs’ staff from 2014-16 as an assistant to special teams coordinator Dave Toub. He previously was a former running back for the Lions back in his playing days.
  • The Texans have promoted Anthony Midget to the team’s secondary coach, according to Mark Berman of Fox26 (Twitter link). Berman also notes that they have also hired Danny Barret as the RB coach and Tracy Smith as an assistant special teams coach.

Vic Fangio's New Deal A Three-Year Pact

  • Vic Fangio‘s new Bears contract is a three-year agreement, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com reports. The veteran DC said he had “a lot” of options but chose to stay in Chicago because he’s confident in Matt Nagy‘s direction for the team. Fangio said he won’t be gaining more defensive responsibility under Nagy than he had under the defensive-oriented John Fox, per Dickerson, because Fox gave him full autonomy to run the Bears’ defense.

Bears Retain QBs Coach Dave Ragone

  • For the first time since 2010, someone other than Chris Tabor will oversee the Browns‘ ST units. Amos Jones will relocate to Cleveland to take over as the team’s special teams boss, Marvez tweets. Jones coached the Cardinals’ ST groups during Bruce Arians‘ five-year stay in Arizona. Tabor is now the Bears’ ST coordinator.
  • Rumored to be a candidate to stay in Chicago despite the Bears‘ coaching change, Dave Ragone will indeed stay on as the team’s quarterbacks coach, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports. This comes after the Bears interviewed both ex-Raiders OC Todd Downing and Texans assistant Pat O’Hara for the job. Ragone could be in line for an extension, Biggs notes, with one year remaining on his Bears contract.
  • Biggs also notes Vic Fangio believes most, if not all, of his defensive assistants will remain on staff. The Bears finished as the No. 14 DVOA defense in 2017 and retained Fangio despite his contract having expired.

Bears Notes: Toub, Pires, Anderson

  • The Bears are expected to hire Shane Toub as an offensive quality control coach, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. Toub, the son of Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub, had been working as a graduate assistant at the University of Illinois. Additionally, Chicago has also decided to retain linebackers coach Glenn Pires and assistant defensive backs coach Roy Anderson, sources tell Marvez (Twitter link).
  • In case you missed it, the Bears may have interest in adding former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to their offensive staff. Bevell isn’t the only ex-play-caller in contention for a role with Chicago, as former Raiders OC Todd Downing is also interviewing with the club.

Extra Points: Saints, Strief, Patriots, Flores

Saints right tackle Zach Strief is considering retirement, as Nick Underhill of The Advocate writes.

The reality is that we all love some part of this game and there’s a part of that that’s just in us,” Strief said. “So it makes it very difficult always when that happens, when that time comes. And like I said, I think take some time, really make that decision away from football and make it with your family. When it is time, I will have no regrets. I know that when I decide that this has gone on so much longer and so much better than I ever could have imagined.”

Strief still feels like he can play at a high level and believes that his 2016 campaign was among his best. However, 2017 was a trying year for him after he suffered major knee injuries in the fall. If Strief walks away this offseason, the Saints will have to prioritize the RT position in the spring.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • If Arizona ultimately hires Patriots‘ linebackers coach Brian Flores head coach, New England would become the first NFL team to lose three assistant coaches to head coaching jobs in the same offseason, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes. It is expected that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will become the Colts’ next head coach while defensive coordinator Matt Patricia appears to be headed for the Lions. Flores’ odds of getting the Cardinals’ top job improved on Wednesday morning when Mike Munchak declined to return for a second interview.
  • Former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell could be a candidate for the Bears’ quarterbacks coach position, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Matt Nagy and Bevell have a common link in that they both have history with Brad Childress. Nagy is close with Childress and Bevell served as Childress’ offensive coordinator in Minnesota.
  • The Texans have parted ways with Jason Lowrey as their director of football operations, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Lowrey was close with former GM Rick Smith and new GM Brian Gaine likely has someone else in mind for the position.

Bears Interviewing Todd Downing

Former Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing is interviewing to become the Bears’ next quarterbacks coach, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (Twitter link) reports that while Downing is indeed meeting about a position on Chicago’s offensive staff, the interview isn’t necessarily for the QBs coach vacancy.Todd Downing (vertical)

Downing, Oakland’s quarterbacks coach from 2015-16, lasted only a single season as the Raiders’ offensive play-caller before being fired along with head coach Jack Del Rio and the rest of the Oakland staff. During Downing’s short stint atop the offense, the Raiders slipped in yards (from sixth in 2016 to 17th in 2017), points (seventh to 23rd), and DVOA (eighth to 13th).

However, the 37-year-old Downing drew rave reviews for his work as quarterback Derek Carr‘s position coach during the latter’s second and third NFL campaigns. Carr undoubtedly posted the two best seasons of his four-year career with Downing as his tutor, a sign that Bears signal-caller Mitch Trubisky — the No. 2 overall selection in the 2017 draft — could thrive under Downing.

Downing isn’t the only candidate for Chicago’s quarterbacks coach vacancy, however, as Texans offensive assistant Pat O’Hara interviewed for the job today, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Mark Berman of FOX 26 first reported last week that Chicago could have interest in O’Hara, while Biggs added that an O’Hara addition wouldn’t necessarily mean that incumbent Bears QBs coach Dave Ragone moves on.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chris Tabor Returns To Bears

  • Chris Tabor will return to the Bears as their special teams coordinator, the team announced. Tabor coached the Browns’ ST units for the past seven seasons but prior to that served as Chicago’s assistant ST coordinator from 2008-10. Tabor made it through four coaching regimes in Cleveland, remaining on staff through the Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, Mike Pettine and Hue Jackson runs.
  • The Bears will hire Kevin Gilbride Jr. to coach their tight ends. The 39-year-old son of the retired OC, Gilbride coached under his father from 2010-13 and stayed on as Giants tight ends coach the past four seasons.

Bears Hire New WR's Coach

  • Matt Nagy has began filling out the Bears coaching staff for next season. The team announced that they have hired former NFL receiver Mike Furrey to coach their wideout group. Furrey was recently the head coach at Limestone College and played with Nagy in the AFL back in 2002. Furrey will likely inherit a much different group of receivers than the team had in 2017.

Vic Fangio To Return As Bears DC

It’s a done deal. On Friday, Vic Fangio agreed to return as the Bears’ defensive coordinator, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. Vic Fangio (vertical)

There was some question as to whether Fangio would want to stay in Chicago after the firing of head coach John Fox and the hiring of Matt Nagy. Fangio was sought after by multiple teams, but he opted to stay put under the new administration.

The Packers were pushing hard to sign Fangio, but they instead chose to hire Mike Pettine. That might have something to do with Fangio’s price tag. Last year, he earned more than $2MM, and it’s possible that Chicago has given him an additional bump to stay on board. The Ravens also connected to Fangio and there were rumblings that Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur would recruit him if hired as a head coach.

The Bears ranked just 24th in points allowed last year, but placed 14th in defensive DVOA, so there’s definitely something for Fangio & Co. to build on. The team also has ~$42MM in cap space and the No. 8 overall pick to work with, so the Bears’ D could get even better in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Case Keenum Drew Interest From Bills, Bears

The rise of Case Keenum has been one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this season. Vaulted into the Vikings’ starting quarterback job out of necessity, Keenum outperformed some of the league’s biggest names and guided the Vikings to a 13-3 record. It turns out that Keenum could have been another team’s diamond in the rough instead. "<strong

The Bears and Bills both expressed interest in the QB, Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report writes. However, Keenum says that he chose the Vikings because they showed a greater desire to sign him.

The Bills’ previous interest in Keenum is particularly notable as they still face uncertainty under center. Tyrod Taylor is due a $6MM roster bonus on Day 3 of the 2018 league year and stands to earn $10MM in base salary. Now that offensive coordinator Rick Dennison has been shown the door, the Bills could further overhaul the offense by moving on from the 28-year-old (29 in August).

Meanwhile, some believe that Keenum will arrive with Pat Shurmur as a package deal if Shurmur gets a head coaching job. That could appeal to both the Cardinals and Giants.

In 2017, Keenum ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 9 QB, slotting him ahead of Jimmy Garoppolo, Aaron Rodgers, Marcus Mariota, Matthew Stafford, and Kirk Cousins. Keenum’s 67.6% completion percentage was the second-highest in the NFL, trailing only Drew Brees.

Keenum will look to continue his improbable success story with a win over the Saints on Sunday in the divisional round.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.