Posts Tagged ‘chicago’

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The Chicago Bears need to think about only one thing while they look for their next head coach: offense.

While going 14-34 under now-fired John Fox for the past three seasons, the team struggled to score points with consistent balance and explosiveness.

Now that the Bears have future QB in Mitchell Trubisky, they need an offensive-minded leader to take him to the next level as they also continue to improve the personnel around him.

With that in mind, here are the seven coaching candidates most qualified for the task at hand.

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Pat Shurmur, offensive coordinator, Vikings

Shurmur, who worked with Sam Bradford early in his career and has turned Case Keenum into something special this season, would be a great get for Trubisky. He also has some previous NFL head-coaching experience in the QB wasteland known as Cleveland.

Shurmer is both organized and experienced at age 52. Trubisky’s athletic skill set would mesh well with his system. It also wouldn’t hurt to take him away from a division rival.

Matt Nagy, offensive coordinator, Chiefs

There’s also some Alex Smith in Trubisky, and Nagy is responsible for getting terrific, rejuvenated play from the veteran in Kansas City. In addition to helping Trubisky settle better, Nagy would turn running back Jordan Howard and tight end Adam Shaheen into the centerpieces of the offense while also pushing to get his second-year QB a speedy deep threat to complement them.

At age 39, Nagy is ready for a shot to break free from Andy Reid.

Matt LaFleur, offensive coordinator, Rams

LaFleur’s boss, Sean McVay, is an offensive wunderkind who’s about to run away with coach of the year honors. In relation to the 31-year-old McVay, LaFleur, 38, is a coaching veteran with good experience under another such genius, Kyle Shanahan, in Houston, Washington and Atlanta.

Given LaFleur’s work with last year’s No. 1 overall pick in Jared Goff, it should inspire he can do nice things with Trubisky, too.

Jim Bob Cooter, offensive coordinator, Lions

Cooter has gotten plenty of head-coaching buzz in previous years, but it seemed like his youthfulness was a limitation. The guy who has gotten the best out of Matthew Stafford still is only 33.

But in a copycat league, what McVay did in 2017 has probably made age just a number for teams looking for a new head coach in 2018. Cooter would be another good way to steal from within the division.

John DeFilippo, quarterbacks coach, Eagles

Frank Reich, Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator, will also be on many teams’ radars. But DeFilippo, 39, is a worthy candidate based on position-specific work for several colleges and NFL teams.

He did well molding both Derek Carr and Carson Wentz, so that should create appeal for a Trubisky match.

Dave Toub, special teams coordinator Chiefs

Toub is the one exception to the offensive rule in the Bears’ search, as by association with Nagy, Reid and Doug Pederson, Toub would put in place a good offensive coordinator to do his thing with Trubisky while he brings the rest of the team together.

Toub, 55, is overdue for a head-coaching shot and is very familiar with Chicago, having led the Bears’ special teams from 2004-12.

Josh McDaniels, offensive coordinator, Patriots

Every offensive wish list has to have McDaniels’ name on it, although his style and demanding demeanor might not be as good of a fit for the Bears as the options above.

McDaniels deserves at least an interview, because in moving on from Fox, the Bears need to think of every opposite approach.

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LaVar Ball just announced that he will be starting his own basketball league, according to ESPN. The endeavor will carry then BBB moniker and will consist of nationally ranked high school graduate players. It’s basically a league for athletes who do not want to go to college but want prepare themselves for the league.

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The more interesting part about LaVar Ball’s Junior Basketball Association is that players will be paid a salary — nationally ranked high school graduates will receive $3,000 USD a month with $10,000 USD a month going to the best players. Everything is fully funded by the Big Baller Brand and there is a strict stipulation that all players must wear BBB gear including shoes. Currently, Ball is searching to start the 10-team league with 80 players who will play at different professional arenas in major cities. Brooklyn, Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles are just some of the locations.

Additionally, BBB league rules will coincide with professional NBA rules. This means quarters will be 12 minutes and a professional 3-point line. According to Ball, “Getting these players are going to be easy,” he told ESPN. “This is giving guys a chance to get a jump start on their career, to be seen by pro scouts, and we’re going to pay them because someone has to pay these kids.”

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As the minutes wound down on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium and Bengals fans looked for the exits, the band of Bears fans that remained began waving navy-and-orange blankets and chanting, “Let’s go Bears!” Yea! Bears fans travel with their team.

Afterward, in the locker room, Bears players joked and laughed and threw out words such as “rewarding” and “relief.”

Sure, the 33-7 victory over the Bengals brought the Bears’ record this season to a measly 4-9. And yes, it came against a hobbled, five-win team.

But the Bears went 49 days between victories — and two years and 25 days since last topping the 30-point mark in a game — so they and their fans were starved for celebration.

“I don’t think it was just Mitch (Trubisky); I think we all needed it,” tight end Adam Shaheen said. “We’ve been struggling, lost a couple of close ones. This was a great win we needed. And it was against a good team.

“When everything was clicking, everybody was getting opportunities. When you’re rolling, it helps out everybody.”

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Sunday’s heartbreaking and frustrating 23-16 loss to a beatable Packers’ team, probably got people saying, who cares about the positives from the game?

The once formidable Bears defense was incapable of shutting down an inexperienced Brett Hundley and a third-string running back. The offense picked up where it left off, doing absolutely nothing.

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The newest member of the Bears, wide receiver Dontrelle Inman, isn’t a bright light, but more of a flashlight.

In his Bears’ debut, Inman led the team with six receptions for 88 yards. That was the second most yards by a Bears receiver this season only behind Tre McBride III’s three receptions for 92 yards against the Saints. Against the Packers, McBride only had seven snaps – a surprising move for sure.

Still, Inman’s productive day was encouraging for a wide receiver group that has failed to provide much of an impact. Inman was able to create separation by running clean routes, which gave quarterback Mitch Trubisky throwing lanes.

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Despite Inman only being on the team for 20 days, Trubisky still targeted him four times in the fourth quarter and completed three of those passes.

It took one game for Trubisky to find his new go-to-guy.

But for the chemistry to improve for Trubisky and Inman, the Bears must continue to throw the football. It wasn’t until the Bears were trailing that they resorted to the passing game. That has been the common theme for the offense all season.

Moving forward, the Bears greatest threat to improving the passing game will be the duo of head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. Fox likes to run despite opponents consistently stacking the box and Loggains must cater to Fox’s game plan. However, when passes are called, Loggains’ plays are questionable.

This inconsistency from the coaching staff has hurt the offense and if there is any hope for the unit to improve Fox and Loggains must settle on a happy medium of the run to pass plays.

The next opportunity to improve the passing game and to get Inman the ball will be against the Lions at Soldier Field this Sunday.