- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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Tennessee Titans quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Dowell Loggains emerged as an early candidate to hold the same post with the Chicago Bears but just as quickly disappeared from contention.
The Titans denied the Bears permission to interview Loggains for the position Tuesday, according to sources. The latest development shouldn't be seen as a surprise or setback for the Bears because one source maintains the club still "(has) a good, solid list," which doesn't include former Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson, who was fired on Tuesday.
When news originally surfaced about Chicago's potential interest in Loggains, who is a friend of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, a source with the Titans expressed doubt that the coach would switch teams.
"(Titans head coach Mike)Munchak loves him," the source said. "I don't see him letting him out of his contract unless (it's) a play calling coordinator's job. No chance they will get Loggains as just the QB coach."
Bears coach Lovie Smith had been making calls inquiring about Loggains last week, according to the source. Another source close to Loggains said the coach would have been interested in joining the Bears because of his relationship with Cutler. The quarterback lobbied for Loggains to join the Bears two years ago after the club fired Pep Hamilton. But recently-departed Mike Martz took over as offensive coordinator and brought in Shane Day, who was also recently relieved of his duties.
With Mike Tice taking over the offensive coordinator position, the thinking was it would make sense to bring in a coach with a strong relationship with the team's franchise player. Had the Bears asked permission to speak with Loggains about the offensive coordinator's job, the Titans would have granted the request, according to a source.
But Tice, who plans to assume play-calling during games, is pushing for the Bears to bring in Dirk Koetter, with whom he worked in Jacksonville. Koetter was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach with the Jaguars. With no head coach in Jacksonville and new ownership, Koetter's status there is unresolved. It's believed Koetter -- whose contract expires in February -- could become a hot commodity around the league in the coming days. According to a source, if Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey lands the head-coaching job in Jacksonville, the Falcons will go after Koetter to direct that offense.
Loggains isn't a highly-touted name around the league, but he is viewed by members of the Titans' staff as an intelligent, up-and-coming coach who gets along well with players. Having finished his second season as Tennessee's quarterbacks coach, and his fourth with the team, Loggains served as an administrative assistant with the Titans when Cutler was finishing up his career at Vanderbilt, and pushed hard to draft the former Commodore over Vince Young.
Because of their past ties with Cutler, former Seahawks offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and Miami offensive coordinator Jeff Fisch are also considered strong candidates. But Koetter, a former head coach at Boise State and Arizona State, will be the most coveted of the potential prospects.
Working with Tice in Jacksonville (2007-09), Koetter helped the Jaguars convert 45.1 percent of their third downs in 2009 (Tice's final season with the club), which ranked as fourth in the NFL. The team also ranked fifth in rush average (4.5 yards) and tied for seventh best in the NFL with 23 giveaways.
In Koetter's first season with the Jaguars, the team set a franchise single-season record for points (411, 25.7 average), touchdowns (50), touchdown passes (28) and yards per play (5.6). The team finished seventh in total offense (357.4 yard average) and generated 400 yards or more in three games. During the time in which Koetter and Tice were both on Jacksonville's staff, the team ranked in the top 10 in seven categories (rushing yards, rushes of 10 or more yards, average per rush, fewest giveaways, fewest interceptions, third-down conversions and first downs).
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Information from ESPNChicago.com's Jon Greenberg was used in this report.
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