The Bears are back in the market for an offensive coordinator.
Adam Gase was named the Dolphins’ head coach on Saturday, meaning the Bears will look to hire their sixth offensive coordinator of the Jay Cutler era.
The Bears were prepared for Gase’s departure, to the Dolphins or otherwise. He interviewed with four teams in four days this week — the Browns, Eagles, Giants and Dolphins. He returned to Miami for a second interview Saturday.
He becomes the Bears’ first coordinator to leave for a head coaching job since defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan did it in 1986.
The Bears themselves interviewed Gase for their head coaching vacancy last offseason — chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips met with him before they hired GM Ryan Pace. When Gase did not land a head coaching job — he was a finalist for the 49ers — he accompanied his old boss, John Fox, to the Bears.
Gase, 37, was lauded for helping to transform Cutler, whose 92.3 passer rating was a career high. The Dolphins hope he can do the same with Ryan Tannehill, who signed a four-year, $77 million extension before having an underwhelming 2015.
The Bears, meanwhile, will begin looking for his replacement. Quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains seems a logical fit to take Gase’s place; he’s been lauded by Cutler, an old friend, for how he helped implement Gase’s system. The Bears could also consider former Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt, who Fox looked at hiring in 2013 before he named Gase the Broncos’ offensive coordinator.
Fox has a lot of contacts that will help him find a coach, Pace said this week.
“One of the benefits of John being 100 years old,” Pace said, “is he knows a lot of coaches around the league.”
Fox said that “we have a good plan in place — and finding good quality coaches has never been a problem.”
The Bears should be able to progress even without the most successful coordinator he’s had in Chicago, Cutler said.
“The good part is that we stole his system from him, so we have kind of the foundation for it,” Cutler said, smiling. “We’d have to take the next step without him, which I don’t think is impossible. That can be done.”
During his two-year when Gase was their offensive coordinator in 2013-14, the Broncos averaged a league-high 34 points and 430.1 yards. His 2013 version was, statistically, the best offense of all time.
“We did exhaustive research on all of the candidates ahead of time and conducted thorough and detailed interviews with each person,” Dolphins Owner and Managing General Partner Stephen Ross said in a statement. “In the end, I was convinced and the search committee was unanimous Adam was the right leader for our football team who best met all of our priorities. He has high-energy is competitive and driven to win with a mindset of teaching and developing players.”
Cutler told the Bears’ official web site that he “couldn’t be happier for Adam and his family.”
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