Across The Middle: Dave Toub Could Help Bears Follow Jags Model

| December 20th, 2017

Fans wanting the Bears to follow the Rams model should prepare themselves for the fact that it isn’t that easy. What the Jaguars have done, however, could be replicated next year by hiring Dave Toub.

The comparisons to the Rams are easy. An outgoing veteran head coach who appears to have lost his way, a young quarterback, stud running back and good defense. But is there a Sean McVay available for the Bears to hire?

The hot names are Josh McDaniels, Matt Nagy and Pat Shurmur. McDaniels without Tom Brady wasn’t thought to be an offensive genius, Shurmur had some of the worst offenses in the league in St. Louis and Cleveland and Nagy has one year as an offensive coordinator under his belt.

The other part of the Rams turnaround is that McVay was able to bring a defensive genius with him (Wade Phillips). I have no idea who the next crop of coaches would bring as I don’t see Vic Fangio returning if he doesn’t get the head job. Dom Capers figures to be available, but only because he isn’t getting the job done in Green Bay. Other potential candidates include Mike Pettine, Chuck Pagano and Mike Nolan. Not the most exciting collection of coaches.

The Jaguars hired an offensive coach too, but Doug Marrone lets his offensive coordinator run the show. You could argue that Toub is an offensive coach since he was drafted as a center in the ’80s. That said, he also has experience as a defensive line coach and, while coaching special teams, he works with offensive and defensive players.


The key for Toub is going to be his offensive coordinator. Norv Turner is a name to watch there since Toub did coach with his brother, Ron, with the Bears. Other than that, there are no clear connections to bright offensive minds.

I don’t consider Toub a likely candidate. The guy who will be doing the hiring has no prior relationship with him as they’ve hardly competed against one another and their paths have never crossed.

Dreaming of an offensive coach who is going to light up the Soldier Field scoreboard is fun but I just don’t know how realistic it is. I don’t think it’s hard to see Toub’s discipline and attention to detail being something that turns the Bears around.

Fox = Cutler?

The John Fox conversation has turned into the Jay Cutler conversation. One side insists he’s terrible and won’t hear any logic.

Cutler wasn’t a terrible quarterback and Fox isn’t a terrible coach. He just isn’t a very good coach and when you combine that with a below average roster, including a rookie quarterback, you don’t get much.

I saw the Bears maxing out at eight wins before this season began and that was probably generous. I went back and looked at the last 19 teams that started a rookie quarterback for at least 7 games and:

  • 12 won six games or fewer
  • 9 finished in the bottom ten in scoring (8 in the bottom six)
  • 10 finished in the bottom six in terms of passing yards.

The Bears have the worst group of pass catchers in the NFL, so their offensive struggles were predictable. They’ve actually held up defensively, but they aren’t the top-10 unit I thought they’d be.

The Bears are underachieving, but, all things considered, it isn’t as drastic as any seem to think. There are some who seriously think Fox is worse than Marc Trestman.

The Bears absolutely need a better coach, but the hate has gone too far.

Future of the NFC North

Aaron Rodgers is going to turn 35 years old next year and has suffered a number of injuries in recent seasons. If the Bears get their next coaching hire right, they could very well take control of the NFC North.

We saw this happen in the NFC West this year. The Rams came from nowhere to win the division and established themselves as the team to watch by dominating in Seattle last week. Russell Wilson is 29 years old and Seattle’s key defenders are all in their late-20s or early 30s. It’s the Rams division now and, if Seattle isn’t careful, the 49ers just might sneak up on them too.

The Packers have major questions marks beyond Rodgers, but this is the second time he’s broken his collarbone; a little Tony Romoish, isn’t it? He’s also had numerous bumps and bruises in recent seasons that affected his play. The Packers aren’t going to drop off like the Seahawks did, but I think the days of them dominating the division are soon coming to an end.

The Vikings seem to be the likely new kings, but it’s hard to trust a team that’s going forward with Case Keenum or Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. The Lions seem forever stuck in purgatory.

It seems like a long shot right now, I know, but if Ryan Pace was right on Trubisky and get the next coach right, the division is there for the taking.

Bring On The Browns

This just feels like a game the Bears are going to lose.

The Browns actually have a pretty good front seven, which could be a big problem for the Bears’ depleted offensive line. A couple of turnovers could completely turn this game.

I imagine the Browns will struggle scoring against the Bears too, but the Bears still have at least a few defensive breakdowns every game and Josh Gordon is a mismatch.

Under John Fox, the Bears have never won as favorites. They really should beat the Browns, which is more reason to think they won’t.

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