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Scouting the Opposition: Comparing and Contrasting Four Candidates to Coach the Chicago Bears

January 12th, 2013 at 2:03 PM
By Max DeMara

Somewhat surprisingly, the Chicago Bears were the only NFC North team to make a significant coaching change this winter. The Bears fired Lovie Smith after nine seasons and 81 wins, so now, they're looking for new leadership. The search for that leadership has gotten quite exhaustive, as multiple candidates have surfaced in the past few weeks alone.

In the interest of keeping up with a division rival, today, we'll take a closer look at four of the most prominent men who the Bears are talking to, and how it might end up impacting the Detroit Lions in the future. Given the solid nature of Chicago's defense and the recently propensity of their offense to sputter, naturally, most of the candidates that Phil Emery is targeting have offensive histories.

Candidate #1: Marc Trestman. This week, Trestman's name made the most headlines, as Jimmy Johnson claimed the Bears were set to tab the Montreal Alouette's coach as the next leader in the Windy City. Generally thought of as a brilliant offensive mind, Trestman even had a brief stint in Detroit as quarterbacks coach, helping Scott Mitchell. He's also been an offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders. He's 59-31 lifetime in the CFL.

Effect on the Lions? Being he's comfortable with Jay Cutler and has experience with solid offenses in the past, Trestman could invigorate Chicago's offense just a bit. Still, at the age of 56, he's never been a head coach in the NFL, and CFL experience isn't exactly comparable. It might be a major step down from Smith, so two out of 10 on the Lions' nervous scale.

Candidate #2: Mike McCoy. The offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos, McCoy's name has been mentioned with regards to the Chicago job. He was one of the first candidates interviewed, but the Bears didn't move to hire him quickly, meaning he might not have impressed. McCoy helped former Bear Kyle Orton have a career year in Denver, and has overseen one of the best offenses in the NFL in 2012. 

Effect on the Lions? This could end up being a sneaky-good hire for the Bears. McCoy wouldn't have Peyton Manning passing the ball in Chicago, but could work with Cutler and Chicago's talented receivers. I'd give it an eight out of 10 on the worry scale for Lions' fans.

Candidate #3: Bruce Arians. Perhaps the co-coach of the year along with Chuck Pagano, Arians has become one of the hottest names in football. He worked with Andrew Luck, developing him into a confident game manager and leading the Colts into the playoffs. For a while now, Arians has been waiting his turn to get a head coaching gig, and after leading the Colts well in the absence of Pagano, it could be his time.

Effect on the Lions? This, in my mind, would be a home run hire. Arians has experience working with all types of different quarterbacks, from Peyton Manning to the rookie Luck to Ben Roethlesberger. Would Cutler be the type of player to fit his system? Nobody can say, but Arians would have plenty of weapons at his disposal, from Brandon Marshall to Matt Forte. He's also had experience working with solid defenses, meaning the Bears' traditionally tough group likely wouldn't take many steps backward under his leadership. Despite some questions about his health, he's still ready to take the next step forward. 10 out of 10 for nerves.

Candidate #4: Tom Clements. Still working being the rival Green Bay Packers are in the playoffs, the Bears reportedly want to talk to Clements about their head coaching vacancy. If you can't beat them, try to steal one of their coaches, I suppose. Being Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers call most of the Packers' plays, it's hard to say what Clements would bring to that mix. He has developed Elvis Grbac, Kordell Stewart, Rodgers and Matt Flynn as a quarterbacks coach, so there's an intriguing possibility he could assist Cutler and company.

Effect on the Lions? The Lions can't seem to beat the Packers with much consistency, so the Bears hiring their offensive coordinator away shouldn't be music to anyone's ears, especially given his track record for developing quarterbacks. Put this one at a six out of 10 on the worry scale.

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on his personal Twitter account @SportsGuyTheMax or on this site's Twitter @detroitlions101

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Bruce Arians, Chicago Bears, Detroit, Detroit Lions, Football, Jay Cutler, Marc Trestman, Mike McCoy, NFL, Tom Clements

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