The Chicago Bears are 5-7 and on a six game losing streak.
To say that there is discomfort within the organization would be an understatement.
Last season the Bears did not live up to the NFC North title expectations they set for themselves in 2018, and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky caught most of the fire.
This season, head coach Matt Nagy has been the scapegoat.
It appears that changes will be made in Chicago before the start of next season, and if Nagy happens to be the one to go, the Bears must move quickly in hiring his replacement.
Let’s take a look at the three best options to take over a storied but distressed franchise.
1. Robert Saleh
This name will be floated around for just about every head coaching vacancy in the league.
The San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator was considered for several head coaching roles last offseason, but the 49ers made it all the way to the Super Bowl, and those openings were already filled before their season ended.
Saleh was named the defensive coordinator in 2017 when Kyle Shanahan took over a struggling franchise.
Saleh’s defense had two modest seasons before taking the league by storm in 2019.
Last season they ranked in the top 10 in the league in turnovers (6th), total defense (2nd), passing defense (1st), and sacks (4th).
This year’s 49ers defense — which is depleted due to injury — does not rank in the top 10 in any of those categories.
Still, the steady defensive unit has committed the 4th least amount of penalties.
Saleh’s strength as a coach appears to be his intensity and discipline which could be a great fit for an organization on the brink of dysfunction.
This is about as strong as an endorsement as there could be on Niners DC Robert Saleh https://t.co/eVi6NT83pY
— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) November 30, 2020
2. Eric Bieniemy
Like Saleh, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy received a lot of interest from teams with job openings last season.
Unlike Saleh , Bieniemy’s name was never really tossed around as a serious candidate due to concerns about the fact that Andy Reid still calls the plays for the Chiefs offense.
This season, however, he feels like a real option for an organization in need of a change.
Bieniemy was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2018 after serving as a running back coach under Reid since 2013.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes won the league’s MVP award in his first year under Bieniemy’s guidance.
This season, the Chiefs have the 2nd ranked offense behind Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers and lead the league in most offensive categories.
In Bieniemy’s previous two seasons as OC, they ranked 1st and 5th among offenses.
It is important to note that in 2019, the year they ranked 5th, Mahomes missed several games with an ankle injury.
If hired, he would be the second straight Bears head coach from the Andy Reid coaching tree.
Chiefs played Buffalo in Week 6 and Bills were determined to stop the deep pass. Eric Bieniemy and Andy Reid called 46 runs/26 passes. Yesterday vs Bucs great run defense and blitzes it was 53 passes/18 runs. Adjusting the plan and doing whatever it takes to win. Pretty special. pic.twitter.com/NQYsmN7cLV
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) November 30, 2020
The Bears would hope that a Bieniemy hire would compare more to the likes of John Harbaugh and Sean McDermott than their current head coaching situation.
3. Pat Fitzgerald
Don’t be surprised if Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald becomes a serious candidate for head coaching positions around the NFL.
Fitzgerald’s success at the small private school in Evanston, IL has earned him lots of respect in the state, so the Bears could win big with the fan base with this hire.
— NFLTradeRumors.co (@nfltrade_rumors) December 6, 2020
Fitzgerald has coached the Wildcats since 2006 and has a career record of 104-80.
In his last 5 seasons, he owns a record of 44-24 while finishing 2nd twice and 1st once in the Big Ten West in.
Much like Panthers coach Matt Rhule, Fitzgerald is viewed by many as someone who succeeds in creating a winning culture within a program.
The Bears’ job would be desirable for aspiring head coaches more due to the opportunity and history of the organization than the current state of their roster.
Fitzgerald could be a great fit for this situation because of his experience in accomplishing a lot with a little at Northwestern.
He took over a program that lost its head coach due to a sudden heart attack and has provided a steady head ever since.
The Bears are longing for some stability at this time, and Fitzgerald could provide that.
The Final Call
The decision to fire Matt Nagy is certainly not a done deal, but there is no question that it is on the table.
If they decide to make a change at the head coaching position, all three of these coaches could provide some excitement among the fan base and stability within the organization.