Sunday, December 20, 2009
Replace Lovie? Here's three
By JEFF DICKERSON
Ron Rivera as Bears coach? Stranger things have happened.
Outside of those collecting a paycheck at Halas Hall, it's impossible for anybody to make a convincing argument that this regime stay past 2009. The Chicago Bears are getting worse, not better, and help does not appear to be on the way.
That being said, would the Bears seriously consider hiring a Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher or a Mike Holmgren-type?
Those high-powered individuals want control of the roster, and because the Bears have a general manager under contract for several more years, why would any of these big-name coaches come to Chicago?
Nothing is impossible, but the idea of Jerry Angelo stepping aside seems unrealistic. Again, not impossible. Just unrealistic.
So if the Bears do making a head-coaching change (sorry, but after the Ravens game, I don't feel bad speculating), who else is out there? Here are three names that make sense.
1. Russ Grimm: Don't be fooled by Grimm mispronouncing the McCaskey's name during his interview in 2004; this guy knows how to coach. A four-time Pro Bowl guard for the Washington Redskins, Grimm was part of three Super Bowl championship teams. He has coached under Joe Gibbs, Cowher and Ken Whisenhunt, and is the perfect person to try to fix the Bears' offensive line. Grimm thought he was going to get the Pittsburgh Steelers job when Cowher retired, but of course, that went to Mike Tomlin.
2. Mike Heimerdinger: He knows Jay Cutler well, having worked extensively with the Bears quarterback while in Denver. That's a huge plus. Heimerdinger is the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator, also holding the same position for Tennessee from 2000-2004, while also spending one season running the New York Jets' offense in 2005. Heimerdinger played his college football at Eastern Illinois, and originally hails from DeKalb.
3. Ron Rivera: This would be ironic on so many levels, but let's not focus the obvious Rivera-replacing-the-guy-who-fired-him storyline. Instead, concentrate on Rivera being a former player (which earns a coach a lot of respect in the locker room), his familiarity with a good chunk of the roster, and knowledge of three core defenses. Rivera learned the 4-3 under Jim Johnson, the cover-2 under Lovie Smith (don't laugh) and now is running a 3-4 out in San Diego. Plus, if you're not doing your job, Rivera will let you know about it. His hire would bring a tremendous amount of positive buzz to the franchise. And remember, Smith decided not to retain Rivera, not Angelo.
This is by no means a complete list of potential candidates, just three that sound plausible. Feel free to poke holes in any of the guys I listed. We still need to point out it's not a slam dunk Smith is gone, but after Sunday, that possibility seems as real as ever.