Bears Top Coaching Candidates

After firing Marc Trestman today, the Chicago Bears are in the market for a head coach. Here are 10 prime candidates to lead the team into the next era.

1 | Rex Ryan | Former Head Coach of the New York Jets

Rex Ryan

Positives: Ryan is a defensive-minded coach with five years head-coaching experience. He has a fiery personality, something lacking in every Bears head coach since Mike Ditka. He's also a player's coach, one who has always gotten the most from his athletes. Ryan's experience, bigger-than-life personality and success on the defensive side of the ball make him one of the top candidates.

Negatives: The Jets struggled to move the ball offensively under Ryan, which was the main reason Lovie Smith was fired.

2 | Mike Shanahan | Former Head Coach of the Washington Redskins

Mike Shanahan

Positives: Shanahan has 20 years of head coaching experience in the NFL and has won two Super Bowls. He also drafted and coached Jay Cutler in Denver, where Cutler earned his one and only Pro Bowl appearance. Both the Bears and Shanahan have expressed mutual interest.

Negatives: Shanahan has just one playoff win in the past 16 years since John Elway retired. In his three years working with Cutler, the Broncos never made it to the playoffs. In some NFL circles, he's considered one of the most overrated coaches in the league.

3 | Todd Bowles | Defensive Coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals

Todd Bowles

Positives: Bowles is a career secondary coach who took over as DC of the Cardinals last season. Under Bowles, Arizona has finished 6th and 7th the past two years in points allowed. His aggressive, attacking style of defense has made him one of the most-coveted coaches on the market.

Negatives: Bowles has no head-coaching experience and this season, the Cardinals finished 24th in the NFL in yards allowed.

4 | Darrell Bevell | Offensive Coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks

Darrell Bevell

Positives: Bevell was one of Chicago's final candidates before hiring Marc Trestman in 2012, so the interest is there. He's an offensive coordinator known for building his team around the strengths of his players, and the Bears have a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball. Seattle finished 9th in total offense this season and 10th in points scored (24.3).

Negatives: Bevell has never before been a head coach and the fact he was passed over two years ago may have left a bad taste in his mouth.

5 | Dave Toub | Special Teams Coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs

Dave Toub

Positives: Toub served as special teams coordinator in Chicago for nine years. His units were near the top of the league every season and he's carried that success over to Kansas City. Toub is considered one of the best in the business and his experience working in special teams - where a coach must assimilate a rotating group of young, inexperienced players - should serve him well as a head coach.

Negatives: Like Bevell, Toub interviewed for the Bears' head coaching position in 2012. He was quick to depart after Trestman was hired. He's never been an NFL head coach and it's unclear the type of offense and defense over which Toub would reside.

6 | Dan Quinn | Defensive Coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks

Dan Quinn

Positives: Quinn was in charge of the NFL's top defense this year. The Seahawks finished first in total defense (267.1 yards per game) and points allowed (15.9). He's an up-and-coming coordinator who is highly regarded in NFL circles. Quinn's aggressive style of defense would instantly bring credibility back to the Windy City.

Negatives: Quinn is already on the short list of many NFL teams currently searching for a head coach. The Bears will have a lot of competition for his services and if the GM search drags into February, Quinn could be off the board.

7 | Jack Del Rio | Defensive Coordinator of the Denver Broncos

Jack Del Rio

Positives: After a disappointing tenure in Jacksonville from 2003-2011, Del Rio has resurrected his career in Denver. The Broncos this season ranked third in total defense and could very likely help the team to its second straight Super Bowl appearance. Del Rio's defensive acumen and experience as a head coach, as well as his hard-nosed coaching style, would fit very well in Chicago.

Negatives: Del Rio is not easy to work with and very much ran his course with the Jaguars. He was awarded an influx of talent this year, thus the results. Yet last season, the Broncos finished 19th in total defense, allowing nearly 25 points per game.

8 | Matt Patricia | Defensive Coordinator of the New England Patriots

Matt Patricia

Positives: Patricia has been the DC in New England since 2012 and is highly respected in NFL circles. I've been told by multiple sources he's a coach very worthy of a head-coaching role. The Patriots this season boast a Top 10 run defense and are allowing just 19.6 points per game (8th fewest in the league).

Negatives: Patricia is very inexperienced and has worked exclusively in the NFL under Bill Belichick. Past Belichick disciples have struggled to adjust once out of his system and it's fair to wonder if Patricia will follow suit.

9 | Leslie Frazier | Defensive Coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Leslie Frazier

Positives: Frazier was a starting cornerback for the Bears' 1985 Super Bowl team. He has four years of NFL head-coaching experience in Minnesota.

Negatives: Frazier has a history in Chicago and his experience is valuable but he hasn't been successful of late. He made the playoffs just once in four years with the Vikings and the Buccaneers ranked 25th in defense this year.

10 | Pep Hamilton | Offensive Coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts

Pep Hamilton

Positives: Hamilton was the Bears' quarterbacks coach from 2007-2009 and worked with Cutler for a season. He's currently in charge of the Colts' offense, which ranked third overall this season and sixth in points per game (28.6).

Negatives: Hamilton lacks head-coaching experience and in 2009, Cutler threw a career-high 26 interceptions.



Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.

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