The Chicago Bears are interested in Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles for the vacant head coach position. The team originally scheduled an interview with Bowles for this Saturday, yet that was moved up to today.
Bowles had initially planned on interviewing with the Atlanta Falcons this afternoon but the death of owner Arthur Blank’s mother forced everyone to rearrange their schedules.
From 1986-1991, Bowles was an NFL safety for the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers. He was the starting safety for the Redskins in Super Bowl XXII.
After retiring in 1993, Bowles was hired as part of the player personnel staff for the Green Bay Packers in 1995. He served two years in that role before taking the defensive coordinator job at Morehouse College. Bowles then became DC for Grambling State in 1998.
In 2000, Bowles became the defensive backs coach for the New York Jets. He worked in that role for 13 years in the NFL, with the Jets, Browns, Cowboys, Dolphins and Eagles. In 2012, he was named Philadelphia’s defensive coordinator. The Eagles that year finished 15th in total defense and 27th in points allowed.
Last season, Bruce Arians, who was Bowles’ head coach during his collegiate career at Temple, hired him to be the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator.
In 2013, Arizona finished 6th in total defense and 7th in points allowed. This season, the Cardinals ranked 24th in total defense and 5th in points allowed.
Getting the guy who has coached the 6th and 5th ranked scoring defenses in the NFL the past two seasons is desirable and Bowles has reportedly made strong impressions in interviews. In addition, he does have head-coaching experience, having served as interim head coach for the Dolphins in 2011 after the team fired Tony Sparano.
On the flip side, there are reasons for concern with Bowles.
Last season, the Cardinals had the 29th-ranked passing defense, were 27th in yards allowed per rush (4.4) and 24th in total sacks (35). The Bears, who were historically horrible on defense last year, allowed fewer yards per rush (4.3) and had more sacks (39).
Arizona dealt with serious injuries to some of their top defensive players last year, so Bowles’ 2014 numbers are a bit askew. That said, every team deals with injuries, just ask Mel Tucker.
Bowles is highly sought and for good reason. His teams play a physical, attacking style of defense and they are good in the red zone. That has a lot of value in the NFL.
If the Bears commit to upgrading the talent on defense and are able to stay healthy, Bowles could resurrect the Monsters of the Midway. He’s a very good coach who will hold players accountable if he takes over in the Windy City.
There are cracks in his armor, yet the same can be said for every head-coach candidate. If the Bears name a GM in the next few days and follow that up by hiring Bowles, the club can get back on the right track.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com 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.