Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase was a hot commodity this past off-season.
Gase was coming off two years as OC in Denver in which the Broncos finished 1st and 4th in overall offense. As such, he received multiple head-coach interviews, yet was passed over for each. Reportedly, Gase did not interview well and came off too cocky.
Now, after Gase led the Bears offense to a mediocre 18th overall raking, 14th in rushing, 21st in passing and 23rd in scoring, he has somehow again jumped to the top of the list of potential head-coach candidates in the NFL. Go figure.
Even with one game left in the season, rumors have begun swirling about interest in Gase from the Philadelphia Eagles and the Miami Dolphins. Apparently, improving Chicago's offense from 21st in 2014 to 18th this year was all the league needed to see, so it appears highly unlikely that Gase will return to Chicago next season.
So, in a few weeks, head coach John Fox will again be tasked with hiring an offensive coordinator.
Two candidates immediately jump off the page. The first is Mike McCoy, who will reportedly be fired as head coach of the San Diego Chargers next week. The second is Dowell Loggains, the Bears current quarterbacks coach.
McCoy has a long history with John Fox. McCoy began his coaching career as an offensive assistant with the Carolina Panthers. Two years later, Fox was hired as the head coach.
Under Fox, McCoy rose from offensive assistant, to quarterbacks coach, to offensive coordinator. In 2009, McCoy took the offensive coordinator position with the Broncos. Two years later, Fox was again his head coach.
McCoy is lauded for his work with Tim Tebow, building an offense that masked Tebow's never-ending deficencies as a passer and relying heavily on the run game. In 2011, Denver had the top-ranked rushing offense in the NFL.
McCoy adapted further when the team signed Peyton Manning to run the offense. With Manning under center in 2012, McCoy's offense finished 4th overall, 5th in passing and 16th in rushing.
The following off-season, McCoy was hired as head coach of the Chargers. After going 9-7 his first two years in San Diego, the wheels fell off this year, with the Chargers currently holding a 4-11 record, thus the rumors of his imminent departure.
So what would McCoy bring to the table as Chicago's offensive coordinator?
First, the passing attack would not skip a beat and, in all likelihood, would take another step forward. The Chargers the past three years have finished 4th, 10th and 5th in passing.
Jay Cutler took a substantial step forward this year and there's no reason to think that, under McCoy, he won't continue to progress.
The issue with McCoy, and probably one of the main reasons he'll soon be fired, is the Chargers' run game has been absolutely pathetic under McCoy. The last three seasons, San Diego has ranked 20th, 30th and 32nd in rushing.
In this year's draft, the Chargers invested a first-round pick in Melvin Gordon, yet McCoy never found a way to use him effectively. In 14 games, Gordon rushed for just 641 yards, averaged only 3.5 yards per carry and did not score a single touchdown. In many games, Gordon took a backseat to the 5-8 Danny Woodhead. Granted, San Diego's offensive line is horrible and Woodhead is a quality receiver, but McCoy's failures with a supremely talented running back like Gordon are worrisome to say the least.
Loggains started his coaching career with the Titans in 2008 as an offensive quality control coach. In 2010, he was promoted to quarterbacks coach and in 2012 he become Tennessee's offensive coordinator.
In 2012, the Titans' offense finished 26th overall, 22nd in passing and 21st in rushing. In 2013, Tennessee's offense finished 22nd overall, 21st in passing and 14th in rushing.
Those numbers are mediocre at best. Loggains struggled with the oft-injured Jake Locker - who was clearly just collecting a paycheck - and couldn't turn back the clock on Chris Johnson post-contract.
As such, Loggains was fired the following off-season, after which he accepted the position of quarterbacks coach with the Browns.
Things didn't go well for Loggains in Cleveland. He upset the organization for public comments he made about Johnny Manziel, then was blamed by head coach Mike Pettine for not "holding Manziel accountable." Considering how well Pettine has handled Johnny Football this year, it's clear Loggains was the scapegoat for a laughably dysfunctional organization that wouldn't know a football if you crammed it where the sun doesn't shine.
Loggains or McCoy?
McCoy has a proven track record of sucess as an offensive play caller. He once built an offense that revolved entirely around the ground game, then the next year created a system that was Top 5 in passing.
He's also worked extensively with Fox, with whom he's very close. That tight relationship would create harmony in the offensive meeting rooms.
The concerns with McCoy are two-fold. First, San Diego's pathetic rushing attack the past three years, despite having very talented running backs on the roster, is troubling to say the least. The Bears have the 5th most rushes in the NFL this year and are ranked in the Top 12 in rushing yards. Will McCoy be able to carry over the success of the ground game or will Chicago's offense revert back to the days of Marc Trestman?
Second, McCoy would bring with him a brand new playbook. That means Cutler will be learning another playbook, his sixth in nine seasons with the Bears.
Continuity on offense will never exist with a mercurial quarterback that has to learn a new system with new verbiage every single year. In reality, though, that will be almost impossible to avoid unless ... the Bears hire Loggains.
Loggains has been working with this offensive unit all year and would, in all likelihood, keep the same verbiage and much of the same playbook. Changes under Loggains would be gradual, instead of a complete overhaul.
Yet with Loggains, there is no history of success. He's only been an offensive coordinator for two years during his career and the results were less thean ideal - although Loggains wasn't working with the same level of talent the Bears have currently.
Verdict: Mike McCoy
Loggains has done great work with Cutler this year but that doesn't necessarily qualify him to run Chicago's offense. He doesn't need to be the coordinator to continue his work with Cutler.
McCoy's run-game issues only began after he left Fox. With Fox in charge, McCoy will not be allowed to ignore the run game. And with what he's done for the passing attacks of both the Chargers and Broncos, it's clear McCoy is the best option to help Chicago's offense progress and develop into 2016 and beyond.