Dannehy: With Brian Flores, the Bears Would Know What They’re Getting on Defense

| January 19th, 2022

If the Chicago Bears tap Brian Flores to be the team’s next head coach, you can bet they’re going to have an aggressive defense that takes the ball away and hits the opponent in the mouth.

Flores has become a hot name after two separate reports indicated he is a strong candidate for the Bears. On Monday, ESPN’s Jeff Darlington said “Bears execs were extremely impressed with Flores” during joint practices last summer. That same day, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports said on the Brother from Another Mother podcast that the Bears were “very, very smitten” with Flores.

[Editor’s Note: George McCaskey and Ted Phillips were not on the field for these joint practices. But clearly someone wanted this report out there.]

There is something comforting about knowing what you’ll get when you make a hire. We know what Flores will bring because we’ve seen it. The Dolphins blitzed at the second-highest rate in the league in 2021, they were eighth in takeaways, a year after leading the league, and 10th in DVOA. Flores got the Dolphins job after being the play-caller for a Patriots defense that allowed just three points in the Super Bowl. The question when hiring a head coach is always if their success as a coordinator will translate, and with Flores the answer was clearly yes.

While he might take a year to get the personnel he wants on defense, we know Flores won’t stand for a team having the worst passer rating allowed, like the 2021 Bears did. And you can be damn sure he won’t let a quarterback talk about “owning” his team.

Flores isn’t without questions.

His failure to score points in Miami is a problem. He deserves credit for trying to get the right pieces in place but blame for never succeeding. He has to have a solid long-term answer about who his offensive coordinator will be.

The not-so-secretive truth about the NFL, though, is that teams with good quarterbacks score points.

The ex-Dolphins coach knows that. Per Robinson, he is actively looking for a team with a really good quarterback. If Flores is actually into the Bears job — which certainly seems to be the case — the biggest reason would be the quarterback. Flores got a firsthand look at Justin Fields during joint practices last year, so it isn’t a stretch to think that he loves him.

While fans don’t want a repeat of the Lovie Smith era, it should be remembered that Lovie never had a true franchise quarterback. The closest he came was Jay Cutler and, together, they had two Super Bowl contenders in four years, with another team that missed the playoffs, despite winning 10 games. Flores could be a better version of Lovie and Fields could be a better version of Cutler.

Lovie never got his offensive coordinator hire right in Chicago, but he hired Dirk Koetter in Tampa Bay. Could Flores find a similar match? If he has a good one in mind, he is clearly the best candidate on the market because we know what his defense will bring.

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