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Wishful thinking: Offensive Coordinator candidates for the Bears

By Kevin Anderson

Kandrsn11@yahoo.com

  Well, here we are again Bears fans.  Looking for a new offensive coordinator who can turn this Bears offense around.

  After hearing Lovie Smith talk, it seems like he is looking for the same thing he was looking for 5 years ago when he hired Ron Turner to run the Offense:

  A run first offensive mind that runs a similar west-coast offense as Turner.

  How many offenses in this league have a pro-bowl QB and run the ball first?

  Not many is the answer.

  Now, if you have been keeping track of the OC search for the Bears, you have probably heard the names Mike Martz, Charlie Weiss and Jeremy Bates thrown around.

  None of these guys should even be considered to fill this void and here is why:

-          Mike Marts:  Former 49ers Offensive Coordinator

He is an offensive ‘wizard’ who is always willing to pass first before he runs the ball.  Yes, Cutler may have the ability to throw the ball in tight spots, but look at the big picture.  Who is he going to throw the ball to?  Add the fact that Martz believes he is bigger than any organization and was fired by Rod Marinelli in Detroit when Marinelli was head coach and Martz the OC.  Not a good addition.

-          Charlie Weiss:  Former Notre Dame Head Coach

Won numerous games as offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots and has a good feel for what talent he has.  Very knowledgeable in the game and could help the passing game.  Why would the Bears hire a coach who was fired by Notre Dame for not winning?  Doesn’t make much sense to me.

-          Jeremy Bates:  USC Offensive Coordinator 

Jay Cutler is the franchise QB, whether people like it or not.  Most feel we should look for coaches from Cutlers 08’ Pro-Bowl season.  Bates was Cutlers QB coach during that year and is now the O.C. for the USC Trojans.  Bates also worked under Mike Shanahan and Jon Gruden over the years, both of whom are considered great offensive minds. Little NFL experience is not what the Bears need right now and Bates doesn’t have enough to be granted this job.

  With an offense that was ranked 23rd in the NFL (17th in passing and 29th in rushing),the Bears need to think out of the box and go after some coaches with proven track records in the NFL. 

  I would love to see the Bears take a shot at any of these guys:

-          Bill Callahan:  New York Jets Offense/ Assistant Head Coach

Callahan is a coach with a great resume for the Bears O.C. job.  He was the offensive line coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1995 – 97’, the Oakland Raiders O.C. from 98’- 2001 and the Raiders Head Coach from 2002 – 03’.  His first year as head coach led the Raiders to an AFC Championship win and Super Bowl XXXVII (lost to the Tampa Bay Bucs 48 – 21).  From 2004 – 07’ he was the Nebraska Head Coach and then became the Offensive Line/ Assistant Head coach for the New York Jets in 2008.  Over the last two years, the Jets have been a run first team and produced a pro-bowl running back in former Bear Thomas Jones.  In 2009, the Jets were number 1 in rushing.  With all of this, Callahan is considered a great offensive mind and is from Chicago.  If Callahan can turn this offense around and Lovie doesn’t make it past the 2010 season, the Bears could have their next head coach already under contract. 

-          Howard Mudd:  Indianapolis Colts Offensive Line Coach

Mudd has 36 years of NFL experience.  All as an O-Line coach.  During the 12 years Mudd has been with the Colts, we have witnessed Peyton Manning become one of the most untouched QB’s in the league.  Mudd produced a two time rushing champion in Edgerain James during the 1999 and 00’ season.  One thing I love about Mudd is what he can do when injuries happen.  During the 2008 season, Mudd had to use 5 different starters on the Offensive Line.  The Colts still ranked 4th in the league in sacks allowed that year.  Offensive line improvement is the biggest need for the Bears.  Mudd is the man that can fix that.

-          Craig Johnson:  Tennessee Titans QB Coach

Johnson has 8 years of NFL experience as a QB coach, all with the Titans.  During his 8 years with the Titans he has produced five pro-bowl QB’s.  He has worked with Steve McNair, resurrected the career of Kerry Collins and improved the attitude and play of Titans QB Vince Young.  He has shown how to handle immature QB’s like Young and turn them into stars.

-          John Ramsdell:  San Diego Chargers QB Coach

Ramsdell has coached one of the best QB's in the league in Phillip Rivers.  His background includes a tenure with Lovie Smith in St. Louis, where he was the QB coach for Kurt Warner (3 Pro-Bowls and 2 MVP awards) and Marc Bulger, who passed for over 3,900 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2008.

  Some of these choices are based off what team these coaches are currently working for and the system that they could bring.  All of the above teams have had a pro bowl running back and all offenses have rushed for over 1,200 yards during the 2009 regular season.

  If I had to choose one, I would go after Howard Mudd.  Now, I don’t know all of the facts with contracts, salary, etc. but if the Bears had the opportunity to bring in a guy who can fix the offensive line, they should do what they can to get him.  The O-Line is what makes a QB.  If they don’t protect, mistakes happen.  I’m sure I don’t have to remind anybody of that.  Mudd is a guy who can fix a players technique and bring in a system that could benefit everybody on the Bears roster.

  Let’s just hope the Bears don’t make a Terry Shea mistake again.