It’s barely been a week since the Chicago Bears fired Lovie Smith, but the team is already overflowing with ideas for new head coaching prospects. Of course, not all candidates are created equal, and the Bears’ long list will have to be whittled down in short order.
As reported by a variety of outlets, Chicago is known to be considering at least nine prospective coaches. Most of those are current NFL offensive coordinators, including Bruce Arians (Colts), Pete Carmichael Jr. (Saints), Tom Clements (Packers), Mike McCoy (Broncos), Mike Sullivan (Buccaneers) and Rick Dennison (Texans). Also in the mix are a pair of special teams coordinators (Dallas’ Joe DeCamillis and Atlanta’s Keith Armstrong) and, most remarkably, one CFL coach: Marc Trestman of the Montreal Alouettes.
It’s worth noting that Trestman doesn’t really break the mold of the other Bear targets, as he’s a former offensive coordinator for both the Cardinals and Raiders.
Obviously, Chicago is looking for a change from the defensive-minded Smith, but that factor alone won’t distinguish any one of this huge pool of prospects from the rest. However, one of the names on Chicago’s list has a combination of key advantages that the others can’t match: Clements, the coordinator for a Packers offense that’s on its way to the NFC Divisional Playoffs next week.
In the first place, Clements (even by the high standards of this group) has proven that he can mentor an offense that both piles up yards and wins ballgames. Aaron Rodgers deserves plenty of credit for the Pack’s success, of course, but Jay Cutler is far from a second-stringer and Clements (Green Bay’s quarterbacks coach before taking over the coordinator post) clearly would know how to get the most out of him.
Just as importantly, though he hasn’t always had this luxury, Clements' teams have shown an ability to exploit a high-end running game. When Ryan Grant was at his best in Green Bay, the Packers had an offense to be feared on the ground as well as in the air, and Clements would surely get similar results with the outstanding Matt Forte.
Lastly, there’s Clements’ ace in the hole: he knows the NFC North. On a superficial level, he’s used to the defenses he’d be facing with the Bears and the divisional rivalries that he’d have to conquer, but there’s more to his advantage than that.
Running an offense at Lambeau Field in December is a whole other challenge compared to what Clements’ rivals have faced in Houston or New Orleans. Clements knows how to deal with the weather that only the NFC North faces on an annual basis, and keeping an offense functional at Soldier Field won’t scare him.
Whether Clements wants the Chicago job is, of course, another question entirely, but if they can get him, the Bears would do well to pounce on the man whose offenses have bedeviled even Lovie Smith’s vaunted defense.995770