Ranking the Bears’ head coach candidates

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The Chicago Bears are searching for a new head coach after parting ways with Matt Nagy last week, and there’s been no shortage of intriguing candidates to replace him.

The Bears requested to interview 11 candidates for head coach, and there are still four candidates yet to interview before the organization finalizes their list. And it’s certainly a diverse group, which includes offensive- and defensive-minded guys, as well as former head coaches.

While it’s difficult to rank the current crop of candidates, I’m ranking them based on my preference and qualification.

Leslie Frazier

AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

Relevant Experience: Bills defensive coordinator (2017-Present); Vikings head coach (2011-13)

Frazier is a name that’s been connected to Chicago even when Matt Nagy was still with the team, given he was a member of the 1985 Bears. He certainly fits the mold as being a leader of men and has prior head coaching experience. But this would certainly feel like a safe hire.

Nathaniel Hackett

USA Today Sports

Relevant Experience: Packers offensive coordinator (2019-Present); Jaguars offensive coordinator (2016-18)

When you look at the success of the Packers offense over the last few years, it’s hard not to wonder if Hackett could get the same out of the Bears. But how much of that success is being a beneficiary of Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur?

Doug Pederson

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Relevant Experience: Eagles head coach (2016-20); Chiefs offensive coordinator (2013-15)

Pederson is a Super Bowl winning head coach, and it’s a big reason why he deserved an interview. Pederson isn’t the most popular candidate, but he’s shown his ability to run an offense and lead a team. There are legitimate concerns about his ability to develop a quarterback like Justin Fields, but he’s a more successful version of Matt Nagy.

Dennis Allen

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Relevant Experience: Saints defensive coordinator (2015-Present); Raiders head coach (2012-14)

Allen is a relatively new candidate to Chicago’s list, but he’s certainly an intriguing addition. He’s highly respected as a defensive coordinator and knows how to lead a team. Allen has prior head coaching experience with the Raiders, and he was the interim head coach when Sean Payton had COVID-19.

Dan Quinn

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Relevant Experience: Cowboys defensive coordinator (2021-Present); Falcons head coach (2015-20)

This isn’t the first time Quinn has interviewed for a head coach job with the Bears, as he was a finalist back in 2015. Quinn has prior head coaching experience during his time with the Falcons, and his defensive resume speaks for itself. But the question is whether Quinn has learned from his errors in Atlanta.

Byron Leftwich

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Relevant Experience: Buccaneers offensive coordinator (2019-Present); Cardinals quarterbacks coach/interview offensive coordinator (2017-18)

It’s always going to be a risk with a first-time head coach, but Leftwich is certainly an intriguing candidate. When you look at the success of the Bucs offense, it’s easy to see Tom Brady and Bruce Arians and make the connection. But Leftwich has his fingerprints all over the offense, and he found success with Jameis Winston before Brady. Still, he’s only been coaching since 2018.

Jim Caldwell

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Relevant Experience: Lions head coach (2014-17); Colts head coach (2009-11)

While Caldwell isn’t the most exciting name on this list, you can’t dismiss him given his success as a head coach both with the Colts and Lions. Not only does Caldwell have prior head coaching experience and is a proven leader, his offensive background is reassuring. Matthew Stafford had his best years under Caldwell in Detroit.

Matt Eberflus

AP Photo/Zach Bolinger

Relevant Experience: Colts defensive coordinator (2018-Present); Cowboys linebackers coach (2011-17)

Eberflus might not be one of the more attractive coaching candidates, but he’s someone who’s positioned himself for the opportunity. He fits the bill as a leader-of-men type and his track record as a defensive coordinator speaks for itself. The Bears were clearly impressed, as he’s a finalist for the job.

Todd Bowles

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Relevant Experience: Buccaneers defensive coordinator (2019-Present); Jets head coach (2015-18)

Bowles might’ve failed as a head coach with the Jets, but he’s not the first. And some, like Bill Belichick, went on to find success elsewhere. Bowles is one of the top defensive minds in the league, and he’s someone who’s regarded as a leader of mean, which checks a top box for the Bears.

Brian Flores

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Relevant Experience: Dolphins head coach (2019-21); Patriots linebackers coach (2016-18)

Flores became a top coaching candidate the moment he hit the open market after the Dolphins shockingly fired him, and his prior coaching experience is certainly a plus. Flores went 24-25 in three seasons with Miami, which is impressive considering they had the worst roster in the league when he took over.

Brian Daboll

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Relevant Experience: Bills offensive coordinator (2018-Present); Alabama offensive coordinator (2017)

Daboll has been discussed as a top coaching candidate this cycle, and look no further than his development of quarterback Josh Allen over the last four years. Bears fans have wondered what Justin Fields could look like with a real coach — and Daboll could be the answer.

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