There was little doubt that the Bears would leave Matt Nagy behind after the 2021 NFL season. The coach was in his fourth year with the franchise and hardly got there. He and general manager Ryan Pace had one more chance to get it right, but unless they make the playoffs, they would likely be replaced during the 2022 NFL offseason.
That came to fruition. The Bears fired Nagy and Pace on Black Monday, following the conclusion of the NFL regular season. The Bears posted a 6-11 record, and while Justin Fields shined at times, the offense, which was supposed to be Nagy’s calling card, was largely hitless. So the Bears scrapped the former Chiefs offensive coordinator.
Now, Chicago will be looking for a new coach for the fourth time in the past decade, and the team needs to get it right to win its first playoff game since 2010.
As such, it’s not surprising that the Bears are throwing a wide net to find a replacement for Nagy. They have already submitted numerous interview requests and will begin the process of selecting their pool of candidates in the coming weeks.
Here’s a look at all of the candidates the Bears have requested to interview for their vacant coaching position, according to various media reports.
Full List of Bears Coach Candidates, Interview Requests
Brian Flores, Former Head Trainer, Dolphins
Flores, 40, was shockingly fired by the Dolphins after back-to-back winning seasons during which the team failed to make the playoffs. He led the Dolphins to a 24-25-1 record for three years with the team despite going through a complex rebuild. Flores is one of the most respected defensive minds in the game and is expected to land a new head coaching job during this cycle.
Doug Pederson, Former Head Coach, Eagles
The 53-year-old Pederson went last year without training after a five-year stint with the Eagles. He made the playoffs three times in those five games and led the team to a Super Bowl victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots in 2018. He has a 42-37-1 record on top of that Super Bowl ring and has drawn the interest from various teams looking for a new head coach.
Leslie Frazier, defensive coordinator, Bills
The 62-year-old Frazier played cornerback for the Bears from 1981 to 1985 and helped the team win a Super Bowl ring during his final season. He has been an NFL coach since 1999 and is considered one of the best defensive coordinators in the game today. The Bills were ranked No. 1 in terms of yards and points allowed in 2021 and Frazier has coached three, the top three yardage units at Buffalo. He coached the Vikings for three and a half years after becoming an interim in 2010 and posted a 21-32-1 record with one playoff appearance.
Byron Leftwich, Offensive Coordinator, Buccaneers
Leftwich played 10 NFL seasons as a quarterback before becoming a key assistant on Bruce Arians’ staff. The 41-year-old has served as offensive coordinator the past four seasons in Arizona and Tampa Bay and has led three top-five offenses with Jameis Winston and Tom Brady as his quarterback. Leftwich checks a lot of boxes and could be a good mentor for Justin Fields.
Brian Daboll, offensive coordinator, Bills
Daboll has had four different stops as the NFL’s offensive coordinator, but he finally caught up with the Bills. He has overseen Josh Allen’s development since 2018 and turned an offense that was a bottom three unit when he started in 2018 into a top five unit in 2020 and 2021. The Bears, challenged offensively, would surely appreciate that, along with Daboll. . experience working with Bill Belichick and Nick Saban.
Todd Bowles, defensive coordinator, Buccaneers
Bowles, 58, is considered one of the league’s best defensive coordinators, transforming Tampa Bay’s saving unit from middleweight to elite ahead of his Super Bowl run. Some may see Bowles’ 24-40 record with the Jets as a red flag, but he led the team to a shocking 10-6 record in his first season before a lack of talent became a problem. The Jets have been 13-36 since they fired Bowles.
Matt Eberflus, defensive coordinator, Colts
Josh McDaniels hired Eberflus as part of his starting Colts staff before he decided not to take the job in 2018. Frank Reich stayed with Eberflus, 51, and the decision has been a good one. The Colts have consistently been a great defense above average and have finished in the top 10 in steals in each of Eberflus’ four seasons at Indy. He could be the man to bring the Bears defense back to its best shape.
Nathaniel Hackett, offensive coordinator, Packers
The Bears have witnessed the work Hackett, 42, has done closely in the NFC North with Aaron Rodgers. The Packers quarterback has staged back-to-back MVP-caliber seasons under Hackett and just proved the coach works well with quarterbacks. Hackett oversaw Blake Bortles’ best season, one in which the Jaguars finished with a top-five offense, making him an attractive candidate to work with Fields.
Dan Quinn, defensive coordinator, Cowboys
Quinn once led the Falcons to a Super Bowl, but his head coaching career went downhill after that. His name has picked up steam again after he changed Dallas’ defense, which was ranked one of the worst stop units in 2020 and is now decidedly strong. Quinn has a 43-42 career record as a coach despite posting losing seasons in each of his last three at Atlanta.