The last time John Fox’s offensive coordinator left to become a head coach, he turned to his quarterbacks coach to take his place.
It could happen again.
When offensive coordinator Adam Gase was named the Dolphins’ head coach Saturday, Bears quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains became the continuity candidate. Fox has vowed not to change the Bears’ offensive scheme. Quarterback Jay Cutler, who will be playing under his sixth coordinator since joining the Bears in 2009, has praised Loggains publicly the past few weeks.
“He’s extremely talented, bright, has a lot of energy as well, has been around quarterbacks for a long time, played the position in high school,” Cutler, who first lobbied for Loggains to join the Bears staff in 2012, said on Dec. 31. “(He) has been around really good coaches his entire career, been blessed in that regard. He’s a sponge.”
Saturday’s development was foreign for Halas Hall — the last Bears coordinator to leave for a head coaching job was Buddy Ryan, in 1986 — but not to Fox. When Mike McCoy left Fox’s Broncos to become the Chargers’ head coach in 2013, Fox replaced his coordinator with Gase, his quarterbacks coach. He was 34 and had never called plays before. Loggains is 35 and has — with the Titans in 2012 and 2013.
As he did in 2013, Fox could also consider veteran coaches Ken Whisenhunt and Pat Shurmur. Whisenhunt, who was fired as the Titans’ head coach in November after a season-and-a-half, improved the Chargers’ offense from No. 31 to No. 5 as their coordinator in 2013. Shurmur, the Browns’ head coach from 2011-12, is the Eagles’ interim coach and a candidate for their vacancy.
Fox admires Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, too. He requested to interview him for the Bears’ coordinator job last offseason, but was rebuffed by Detroit. With Lions coach Jim Caldwell on shaky ground, Cooter might soon be available.
If Fox wants to look further inside Halas Hall, he could consider receivers coach Mike Groh, a candidate for Alabama’s coordinator job last offseason.
“In regards to staff leaving and coaches leaving, we’re always going to try to hire the best human talent,” GM Ryan Pace said last week. “When guys are leaving here, that’s going to happen when we’re doing good things. It’s up to us to find the best replacements.”
Pace joked that “one of the benefits of John being 100 years old is, he knows a lot of coaches around the league.”
Whomever the Bears hire, the Bears will keep the scheme Gase installed.
“They’re not any individual’s systems — they are our systems,” Fox said. “Our systems aren’t changing — offense, defense or special teams.
“You tweak and you grow and you adjust. You have to do that in this league because it’s a fluid league; there are trends and things that happen and things that you have to react to regardless of what they are. That’s all part of coaching.
“One of the hard things about being a new staff, is, introducing those systems. And they won’t change.”
In a statement, Cutler he “couldn’t be happier” for Gase — “I know first-hand how good he is,” he said — and was sorry he had to leave.
Gase told reporters in Miami that his time in Chicago was special.
“Probably one of the proudest things that I’ve been a part of was last season in Chicago —seeing that group, injuries, nobody gave us a chance in any game,” Gase said. “But the way those guys battled every game, came down to the wire, and that’s something that is unique.”
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