Coaching dominoes elsewhere can affect Bears

Coaching dominoes elsewhere can affect Bears
January 17, 2012, 9:04 pm
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The Indianapolis Colts firing of coach Jim Caldwell, like the St. Louis Rams dispatching Steve Spagnuolo and Jacksonville replacing Jack Del Rio, sends at least three significant ripples through the Bears 2012 schedule.

New coaches figured very prominently in the Bears 2011 season. Their hope is that 2012 wont see a repeat.

Caldwell was let go in the wake of the Colts recently hiring Ryan Grigson as general manager to replace Bill Polian. The future of quarterback Peyton Manning remains the question it has been since his neck issues began, and a change at the top both on and off the field says change.

Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen wasnt going anywhere as long as Caldwell remained in place. But now he is likely to be job-hunting, and he has worked with Lovie Smith in the past at Tampa Bay.

Jeff Fisher taking over in St. Louis instantly makes the Rams a better team from the one that has had three different head coaches over the past five years, producing a total of 15 victories.

The Jaguars replaced Del Rio with Mike Mularkey, previously offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. Mularkey had an undistinguished run as head coach in Buffalo from 2004-2005.

The Bears fared well enough against some new head coaches in 2011, defeating Carolina (Ron Rivera) and Minnesota twice (Leslie Frazier).

But their season also came apart against newbies losses to the Oakland Raiders and since-fired Hue Jackson, and the Denver Broncos under John Fox, the seasons most devastating single defeat.