According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Bears have requested to speak to two more highly regarded coordinators for their head coaching position.
In addition to the reports of Chicago’s interest of Steve Wilks and John DeFilippo (which were denied by general manager Ryan Pace), the Bears have reportedly reached out to New England’s Josh McDaniels and Minnesota’s Pat Shurmur.
McDaniels has been a hot name ever since he returned to New England but hasn’t yet gotten a job. Many think this is the year he does, and a large percentage also consider him the cream of the crop.
McDaniels is one of the few names available this year with previous head coaching experience. McDaniels was the head coach in Denver from 2009-2010 when he was replaced by a familiar name, John Fox.
McDaniels’s most famous work was the selection of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow in the 2010 NFL draft. Tebow didn’t get to start for McDaniels, however, because McDaniels was fired after falling to 3-9 on the season. In total, McDaniels went 11-17 as the Broncos head coach.
After spending one year with the St. Louis Rams after he left Denver, McDaniels went back to the team in which he started his pro career, the New England Patriots. Prior to joining the Broncos, McDaniels served as both the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Patriots. He serves both those positions now as well and has at every stop since 2006 (excluding the head coaching gig).
McDaniels’s track record with coaches is amazing. Not only has McDaniels spent the majority of his career working with Tom Brady, but many of the other quarterbacks under McDaniels’s tutelage have succeeded as well.
McDaniels coached Matt Cassel to a 10-6 season after Brady’s knee injury in 2008. This season is likely a huge reason as to why the Broncos hired him the following offseason. Cassel isn’t McDaniels’s only success, however. Both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, who have both impressed this season, were coached by McDaniels in New England. He was also Sam Bradford’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator during the 2011 season.
The Bears have also reportedly requested to speak to another former head coach, Pat Shurmur.
Like McDaniels, Shurmur had a tumultuous ride at the helm in his first stint as head coach. Shurmur was hired as the Browns head coach in 2011 after a two-year stint as the offensive coordinator of the Rams. Coincidentally, it was McDaniels who was hired in his place.
Prior to landing that head coaching job, Shurmur had developed a track record for developing young quarterbacks. He had worked with Donovan McNabb as the quarterbacks coach of the Eagles and then followed that job up with a good job shaping Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.
He couldn’t help shape Colt McCoy or Brandon Weeden, however, and was fired by the Browns after going 9-23 in two seasons. Shurmur never finished above the division’s cellar during his time in Cleveland.
Shurmur was then rehired by the Eagles and their new coach Chip Kelly, and again succeeded. He was the offensive coordinator for Nick Foles’s 2013 breakout season, as well as working with Kelly to form one of the greatest offenses in the NFL. However, Kelly was fired prior to Week 17 in 2015, and Shurmur got one more game as a head coach. He won this game over the New York Giants but was not retained by new head coach Doug Pederson.
Shurmur did interview for that head coaching vacancy, but eventually lost out to Pederson.
Shurmur was then hired by the Vikings as their tight ends coach, getting promoted to offensive coordinator this past season. It was in Minnesota where Shurmur orchestrated perhaps his greatest offensive unit of his career.
Despite losing both running back Dalvin Cook and quarterback Sam Bradford, the Vikings haven’t skipped a beat this season. Suddenly, career backup Case Keenum looks like a pro-bowl quarterback, and the Vikings performed well enough to finish the season with the NFC’s two seed.
Shurmur has also worked wonders with undrafted free agent wide receiver Adam Thielen, who finished 5th in the NFL in receiving yards this past season. Thielen has become a household name in 2017 despite being rather unheard of by casual fans prior to this season.
Both McDaniels and Shurmur are on teams which have first-round byes, meaning they are able to interview for head coaching positions this week.