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The Chicago Bears hired Matt Eberflus as their new head coach, and he’s already working on assembling his coaching staff.
Perhaps no hire will be as important as the offensive coordinator, who will be in charge of developing quarterback Justin Fields and getting the Bears offense on track.
For those defensive-minded head coaches that have found success, including Buffalo’s Sean McDermott, they managed to get the offensive coordinator hire right. And that’s going to be key for Eberflus.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some candidates for Chicago’s new offensive coordinator that could help develop quarterback Justin Fields and get the offense on track.
Mike Kafka (Chiefs QB coach/passing game coordinator)
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Kafka is a name that jumps out immediately given the Kansas City connection between him and new Bears GM Ryan Poles. He’s also from Chicago and graduated from Northwestern. But it’s about more than just the connections — it’s experience with Kafka, who’s been with the Chiefs since 2017. Kafka has been part of the development of superstar Patrick Mahomes, and he’s someone who could help get the most out of Fields. Kakfa has never been an offensive coordinator or a play caller, but he’s ready to be.
Mike McDaniel (49ers offensive coordinator)
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There’s a report that Eberflus will be targeting the Shanahan tree for his offensive coordinator, which makes McDaniel a prime candidate for the Bears OC job. Granted, he’s already an OC, but he doesn’t have play-calling responsibilities in San Francisco — that’s Kyle Shanahan. This would be the next step up for a rising star in the league like McDaniel, where he would have a chance to work with an exciting, young QB in Fields. McDaniel should in strong consideration for offensive coordinator — if he doesn’t land the head coach gig with the Dolphins.
Kevin O'Connell (Rams offensive coordinator)
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Another name from the Shanahan/Sean McVay tree is O’Connell, who is someone garnering attention as a head coach candidate this cycle. If O’Connell doesn’t land a head coach gig, there’s a chance McVay could let O’Connell go elsewhere. That would give him the chance to call plays and run the offense, which is something he doesn’t get to do under McVay in Los Angeles. O’Connell would be an amazing get for the Bears, who are looking to develop a franchise quarterback in Fields and find life on offense.
Pep Hamilton (Texans QB coach/passing game coordinator)
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This wouldn’t be the first time Hamilton worked for the Bears after serving as quarterbacks coach from 2007-09, but Fields is also the best QB prospect Chicago has had maybe ever. Hamilton would be an amazing hire for the Bears given his work with quarterbacks, starting with Andrew Luck in Indianapolis right on down to Davis Mills in Houston this past season. Hamilton also worked with Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert during his rookie season, and the results speak for themselves.
Joe Brady (Former Panthers offensive coordinator)
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Brady is expected to be an attractive offensive candidate for new head coaches, and it’s easy to see why. He was the passing game coordinator during Joe Burrow’s sensational 2019 season. Brad, who served as the Panthers offensive coordinator, was fired in early December due to the offense’s struggles. But many believed he was the scapegoat, and Brady will likely get another opportunity. It’s interesting to note Brady shares agent Trace Armstrong with Eberflus and GM Ryan Poles.
Kevin Patullo (Eagles passing game coordinator)
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One name that’s already been mentioned directly as a potential offensive coordinator for the Bears is Patullo, who served as the Eagles passing game coordinator last season. According to Ian Rapoport, Patullo is someone Eberflus could look to as his offensive coordinator, where developing Fields is going to be key. Patullo worked with Eberflus in Indianapolis from 2018-20, so there’s an obvious connection.
Jim Caldwell (Former Lions, Colts head coach)
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Caldwell was among the finalists for the Bears head coach job, and a big part of that was his vision for the offense. According to Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog, Caldwell impressed with his detailed plan for Fields during his interview for the head coach job. So it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Eberflus to consider reaching out to Caldwell to run his offense, where the hope is he’ll get the most out of Fields.
Ken Dorsey (Bills QB coach)
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Assuming Brian Daboll doesn’t get a head coach job this cycle — he’s a finalist with the Giants and Dolphins — that would open up the chance to lure Dorsey from Buffalo to Chicago. If Daboll does depart, Josh Allen made it clear he wants Dorsey as the next offensive coordinator. But if Daboll stays, it would be hard to say no to the chance to run his own offense and call plays with a team like the Bears. Not to mention, there’s an exciting, young quarterback in Fields, who has a similar skillset to Allen.