On a recent episode of Heavy presents I’m Just Saying, the panel tackled the topic of filling the void that is sure to be left by the potentially imminent firing of Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy.
We heard a few different names, but one suggested by Heavy’s Lorenzo Reyna stood out: Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as the best option to replace Nagy.
ALL the latest Bears news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Bears newsletter here!
“I’m going to go back in time now. Chicago has stunk it up with an offensive guy,” Reyna said. “Recently Matt Nagy and then before that Marc Trestman, but they were successful with defensive coaches notably Lovie Smith, so I’m thinking you could go back in time; you could get a guy who won a super bowl recently. Those linebackers could maybe perhaps revitalize Khalil Mack…Todd Bowles. I figured Todd Bowles deserves another chance.”
While Reyna went with Bowles as his ideal candidate to replace Nagy, the rest of the panel went in different directions. Take a look at the video below:
Bowles’ Resume Includes 2021 Super Bowl
In five years as an NFL head coach, things haven’t gone so well for Bowles. He took over on an interim basis with the Miami Dolphins for three games in 2011. He finally got his opportunity to completely man the ship in 2015 with the New York Jets.
Things started well for Bowles. He posted a 10-6 record in his first season. Unfortunately, Bowles’ Jets teams went 5-11, 5-11 and 4-12 before he was relieved of his duties after the 2018 season.
Overall, as a head coach, Bowles owns an unimpressive 26-41 record. Don’t expect Bears fans to be jumping for joy when they look at that record.
However, after leaving the Jets, Bowles took over as the defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019. Bowles deserves credit for helping to build an elite defense and the unit that arguably played as big–if not a bigger role–in Tom Brady’s seventh Super Bowl championship.
In Tampa’s 20 games played in 2020, Bowles’ unit held opponents to 20 points or fewer nine times, including twice in the playoffs, even holding Patrick Mahomes and company to nine points in the Bucs’ 2021 Super Bowl victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
The question around Bowles at this point is whether he’s an outstanding coordinator who doesn’t possess the chops to be a head coach, or does he simply need another opportunity, ala Bill Belichick, who posted a subpar 36-44 record in his first stint as a head coach with the Cleveland Browns from 1991 to 1995.
Joe Brady Is the Right Choice for the Bears
As I mentioned in the video above, the right choice to replace Nagy is Carolina Panthers’ 32-year-old offensive coordinator Joe Brady. The gameplan Brady drew up for Cam Newton in his first start against the Washington Football Team in Week 11 should’ve been a winning audition for the Bears’ brass.
The head coach choice has to be largely about the chemistry and fit with first-round rookie quarterback Justin Fields. The Bears have to hire a coach who is capable of creating a scheme built entirely around the things that Fields does well.
Brady proved he is capable of doing that in Week 11 as the plays drawn up for Newton were fantastic and effective.
Many believed Newton, the No. 1 overall pick in 2011, was washed, but he instead exploded for a 235-yard, three-touchdown performance, completing 77% of his pass attempts and accounting for all of Carolina’s points while the defense let him down a bit in the 27-21 loss.
Imagine Brady with an opportunity to influence the scheme that hopefully takes Fields to the next step in his career. Chicago must consider making this splashy hire.