Arkush: 4 coaches Bears should add to interview list

  • Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell before an NFL wild-card playoff football game between the Rams and the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

    Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell before an NFL wild-card playoff football game between the Rams and the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. Associated Press

  • San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, right, walks onto the field with Ambry Thomas (20), cornerback Deommodore Lenoir (38) and running back Wayne Gallman II (22) before an NFL preseason football game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021.

    San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, right, walks onto the field with Ambry Thomas (20), cornerback Deommodore Lenoir (38) and running back Wayne Gallman II (22) before an NFL preseason football game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 1/22/2022 5:55 PM

There are a bushel full of reasons why the Bears hiring a head coach before they hire a general manager would most likely be a massive mistake.

The most obvious would be trying to convince the new GM he has unfettered control of the football operation, as team chairman George McCaskey has assured us he will, but he won't be allowed to make the most important football hire there is.

 

The next biggest concern would be uncertainty over whether the Bears' current list of head coach candidates was even complete prior to a decision being made.

If you look at this weekend's divisional playoffs, three of the league's most successful coaches this year -- the Rams' Sean McVay, Green Bay's Matt LaFleur and Cincinnati's Zac Taylor -- were all unconventional hires. All were made in the past five seasons at very young ages -- at least by NFL head coach standards -- when many of the top GMs working didn't even have them on their radar.

McVay had just one season each with Tampa and Washington as an offensive assistant, three seasons as the tight ends coach in Washington and three as the offensive coordinator when the Rams made him the NFL's youngest head coach at 31.

LaFleur trained as the QB coach under 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan -- another early achiever and one of the NFL's brightest young coaches also working this weekend -- for just two seasons. He spent one year as McVay's offensive coordinator in L.A. and one season as Titans head coach Mike Vrabel's offensive coordinator -- a fifth of the eight head coaches still working -- when the Packers hired him.

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Taylor worked just one year as an assistant wide receivers coach and one as the QB coach under McVay when he became the most surprising hire of all by the Bengals.

Let's call them the young guns, and there are none currently on the Bears list of interview requests.

Not only should the general manager have the final say on his first head coach, he should be able to add candidates to the list if he thinks they are deserving of a deeper dive.

There are at least four young coaches my sources are excited about who I'd like to know a lot more about:

Kevin O'Connell, 36, Rams offensive coordinator:

The former QB was drafted by New England in the third round in 2008. He only stayed a year, but I love a coach with experience in the "Patriot Way."

He's had a year as quarterbacks coach in Cleveland and Washington, one year as passing game coordinator and one as offensive coordinator in Washington. He has spent the last two seasons with McVay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Mike McDaniel, 38, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator:

He has a Yale education and has studied under Shanahan, logging two years with him as an offensive assistant in Atlanta and then following him to San Francisco to spend four seasons as his run-game coordinator before taking over as the OC this season.

Luke Getsy, 37, Green Bay passing-game coordinator:

He spent two years as a quality control coach and two as the Packers wide receivers coach under Mike McCarthy. He then went to Mississippi State for a year to be the offensive coordinator and returned to the NFL to be the QB coach and passing game coordinator when LaFleur was hired.

Adam Stenavich, 38, Green Bay run-game coordinator:

He trained under Shanahan for two seasons as an assistant offensive line coach before joining LaFleur to coach the offensive line and become the run-game coordinator.

O'Connell already has interviews with the Broncos, Vikings and Texans. The Dolphins are sniffing around McDaniel. The Broncos have also interviewed Getsy, while Stenavich waits for a call.

The Bears have a quality list, and there are several men on it I like a lot.

It's just that this feels like a whole category that's missing and that feels like a mistake.

I'm not so sure a lengthy sit-down with a young gun of their own, Sean Desai, wouldn't be a good idea too.

• Twitter: @Hub_Arkush

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