Early Favorite Emerges in Bears Coaching Search

Brian Flores

Getty Ex-Dolphins HC Brian Flores is set to interview with the Chicago Bears on January 14.

When the Miami Dolphins fired head coach Brian Flores a day after the regular season ended, it came as a shock to fans, analysts and players alike.

Miami’s loss could be the Chicago Bears‘ gain, as they also fired head coach Matt Nagy on Black Monday, along with general manager Ryan Pace. The Bears showed immediate interest in Flores, arranging his first interview since the Dolphins let him go. NFL insider Tom Pelissero was the first to report Chicago’s interest. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports revealed the interview will take place on Friday, January 14.

The 40-year-old Flores spent over 10 seasons working under the tutelage of Bill Belichick in New England, winning four Super Bowls in that span while holding titles as diverse as assistant offense & special teams coach, linebackers coach and safeties coach. He was hired as Miami’s head coach in 2019, amassing an overall record of 24-25 in his three seasons leading the team.

That record is deceiving, though, as his first year, he finished 5-11 while saddled with one of the worst rosters in the league. He had two winning seasons after that, finishing 10-6 in 2020 and 9-7 this season, narrowly missing the postseason both times. Considering BetOnline’s current odds coupled with a top Bears insider’s latest tweets, Flores may be the early favorite to replace Nagy.

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Flores Gaining Steam as Early Favorite

According to BetOnline, Flores has jumped to the top of a growing pool of candidates as the early favorite to be Chicago’s next head coach:

Flores is expected to be a hot candidate, with the primary question marks surrounding him the lack of offensive production that came from his Dolphins’ tenure and his inability to get the most out of QB Tua Tagovailoa. “The head coach is responsible for the team, and Flores’s offenses never worked,” Ben Solak of The Ringer pointed out on January 10.

The concern that Flores may not be the right guy to jump start Chicago’s offense is a valid one. The Dolphins finished 25th in total offense in 2021 (307.0 total yards per game), 22nd in 2020 (339.0 yards per game) and 27th in 2019 (310.0 yards per game) in his three seasons leading the team.

“Flores wasn’t fired for his failures to get the Tua offense working,” Solak added. “He was fired because he struggled to collaborate with Tua, whom he reportedly never wanted.” Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported back in September of 2021 that Flores never wanted to draft Tagovailoa — instead, he wanted to select current Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. Flores hasn’t confirmed that, however.

One top Bears insider, Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog, who was the first to report both Pace and Nagy were going to be fired, says Flores already has a fondness for Bears QB Justin Fields — and that could also give him an edge over his competition.

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Hughes: Flores ‘Loves Justin Fields’

“I think he’s the most intriguing name this cycle,” Hughes tweeted on January 12, adding in a subsequent tweet:

“There’s a reason Flores is doing this interview with the Bears quickly: he is hungry to prove the Dolphins wrong, and he loves Justin Fields. Brian Flores with a QB he believes in is a scary combination.”

With the development of Fields being the team’s top priority, it would be paramount for Flores to pair the young signal-caller with a competent offensive coordinator. With names like Pep Hamilton, Joe Brady and Ken Dorsey out there, he would have some solid options. It’s early on in the process, but stay tuned. Flores will be a top name to watch.

READ NEXT: Chicago Bears Head Coach Candidate Tracker

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