Source: NFL owners officially passed the resolution on a one-year trial basis allowing head coaching interviews in the last two weeks of the regular season. Interview requests can go out starting 8 a.m. Tuesday Dec. 28. Employer clubs can deny.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 15, 2021
[Note: The game preview will be published Monday, as it seems pointless to analyze a game three days out when both teams are already in advanced Covid protocols.]
On Wednesday morning, the Las Vegas Raiders were the only team affirmatively looking for a new head for the coming season. And while there is certainly some appeal to coaching in Vegas, that job comes with an expensive question mark at quarterback and 17 road games.
On Thursday morning, after the late-night firing of Urban Meyer in Jacksonville, there is now a second team looking for a new coach. That team plays their football in Florida, a state with no income tax. That team possesses Trevor Lawrence, a quarterback that has as much talent as any player at the position in the league. While it may be the league’s worst professional football market, the job will have significant appeal because of those two elements.
On December 28th, the interview window opens for assistant coaches. And the Bears must be active in that window. That means two things:
- George McCaskey must make his determination on Ryan Pace quickly and decide who is going to hire the next head coach.
- Matt Nagy must be let go prior to the 28th so the Bears can begin conversations with a host of capable assistants that are likely to make a deep run into the postseason. It is conceivable the Bears could identify their man before the end of the regular season and allow that coach to begin assembling his staff prior to the end of the postseason. (Not officially, of course, but that’s how it’ll happen.)
The decision on Nagy is made. He is not going to be the coach in 2022. Jacksonville’s sacking of Meyer means the Bears will now have serious competition in the head coach market and there is another team that can match Chicago’s offer of a young, potential star quarterback.
This is the time for an historically reactive franchise to be proactive. They have to get this coaching hire right, for their future and the future of Justin Fields. That process begins December 28th.