6 head coach candidates Bears GM Ryan Poles could target

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The Chicago Bears finally found their new general manager in Ryan Poles, which means they can move forward with hiring a new head coach.

The indication is Poles will have autonomy in the head coach search. That was supported by the announcement that Poles, not George McCaskey or others, interviewed former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell on Tuesday.

The three current finalists for head coach were all in place before Poles was hired as GM, but Poles is said to be high on Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. Poles could ultimately add to that list, as well, which could make for some interesting candidates.

Here’s a look at some head coach candidates that Poles could target:

Dan Quinn

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Right now, Dan Quinn appears to be the favorite to land the Bears head coach job. Poles is said to be very high on Quinn, which he probably learned from best friend and Boston College teammate Matt Ryan, who played for Quinn in Atlanta. Quinn, who is also a finalist with the Denver Broncos, will interview with Poles for the first time on Wednesday. Quinn, who was the Falcons head coach for six years, is highly-respected around the NFL and is the kind of leader the Bears are said to be looking for. Given Quinn’s experience, it shouldn’t be hard for him to assemble a respectable coaching staff, which would include an important offensive coordinator hire for developing Justin Fields.

Jim Caldwell

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At first glance, Jim Caldwell as a finalist makes sense given the Bill Polian connection. But it’s hard not to get deja vu when thinking back to the arranged marriage of Ryan Pace and John Fox in 2015. If this really is Poles calling the shots, you have to figure he’s open to the idea of Caldwell, who he interviewed for the head coach vacancy as his first day as GM. While Caldwell isn’t the long-term answer at head coach at 67, he’s probably the best of the three finalists when it comes to developing Fields. Caldwell’s success as a head coach and being respected by his players isn’t anything to shake your head at. Heck, he even led the Lions to two playoff appearances.

Matt Eberflus

AP Photo/Zach Bolinger

Another finalist for the head coach job is Matt Eberflus, who is someone who’s been a finalist in both Chicago and Jacksonville. Poles and Eberflus are connected via mutual friends, and he’s also someone that Bill Polian, who was part of the initial hiring process, is said to be high on. Eberflus will interview for the first time with Poles on Wednesday. Eberflus certainly fits the “leader of men” type that the Bears are key on, and his defensive track record is encouraging. But just like with any defensive-minded candidate, the question is going to be about his plan on developing the offense and Fields. Also, according to Gabe Gabriel, Poles and Eberflus also share the same agent, which is certainly interesting.

Brian Flores

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Brian Flores is someone to keep an eye on this week if Poles decides to expand the coaching list. Poles and Flores are friends from their time at Boston College, and you figure Flores would be one of the first interviews Poles reaches for outside of the three finalists. Flores’ success with the Dolphins speaks for itself, and he’s a prime candidate that’s generated interest this coaching cycle. There were also reports that the Bears were “smitten” by Flores, and he’s already interviewed with Chicago once via Zoom. But the most important thing with Flores is going to be his plan for the offense and developing Fields.

Eric Bieniemy

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

One name that’s been pretty quiet in this head coaching cycle is Eric Bieniemy, despite many believing just two years ago he was a strong candidate for a head coach job. Bieniemy has interviewed with just one team — the Denver Broncos — this cycle. But given Poles worked with Bieniemy in Kansas City, there’s reason to believe Poles could reach out to Bieniemy for an interview. When you look at the current head coach finalist, there are no young offensive minds that Poles is expected to speak with. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to pick the mind of someone, like Bieniemy, who’s found success with a young quarterback like Patrick Mahomes. Especially given developing Fields is one of the most important things for Poles.

Brian Daboll

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Brian Daboll has quickly become a fan favorite coaching candidate, which has a lot to do with the Bills’ offensive dominance over the last couple of playoff games and Josh Allen’s rise to stardom. And Poles got an up-close look at that performance on Sunday, when his former Chiefs team pulled off the overtime win in the divisional round of the playoffs. At this point, the assumption is Daboll is going to land with the New York Giants given the Daboll-Joe Schoen Buffalo connection. But it certainly wouldn’t hurt to bring in the guy that helped developed Allen and could help develop and surround Fields with a solid offensive scheme.

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