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Gannon Thinks Bears Should Hire Hackett

Rich Gannon is convinced Paul Hackett would be an ideal candidate to become the Bears’ next offensive coordinator and/or quarterbacks’ coach.

The longtime NFL assistant and former USC head coach is currently the quarterbacks’ coach in Oakland, which means he would likely be interested in escaping owner Al Davis’ bizarre world. Some might wonder why the Bears would consider hiring someone who has failed so miserably to develop quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Gannon doesn’t see it that way.

“You could bring in Vince Lombardi and I don’t think he would make JaMarcus any better,” Gannon said. “You have to have a guy who wants to be great and work. A lot of what has happened there has been out of Paul’s control. When they played the quarterback they wanted — Bruce Gradkowski — he was prepared and made good decisions and the football team was much more competitive. They got the same results with Charlie Frye.”

Gannon worked with Hackett in Kansas City and Oakland and gives him much of the credit for developing him into a four-time Pro Bowl selection. No one can say Hackett isn’t experienced. This past season was his 40th as an NFL or college coach. According to his Raiders bio, he has a 90-54 record as an NFL offensive coordinator and has directed offenses that advanced to the playoffs in nine of his 13 seasons in that role.

He’s also a proponent of the West Coast system, which is what Cutler has played during his NFL career.

“He taught me how to play the position,” Gannon said. “I learned all about footwork and timing and protections. That’s really where my game took off. There’s nobody better to prepare a guy to play each week than this guy. He’s up there with [Jon] Gruden and Sean Payton. He worked with Joe Montana and Chad Pennington. With him, we always had a good running game and he was real good at coaching the quarterback.”

Gannon is one of the best quarterback analysts out there. I quoted him liberally in my back-page story in the Sun-Times today but not all his observations made the paper.