Miller: Kelly, Saban among possible Bears candidates

Miller: Kelly, Saban among possible Bears candidates
December 31, 2012, 10:46 pm
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It's been just hours since the Bears announced Lovie Smith's firing and already talks are circulating about who would be a good replacement as the team's new head coach.

Comcast SportsNet Bears analyst Jim Miller joined David Kaplan on Monday to discuss the team's decision to let Smith go and break down a list of possible candidates for the job.

"I think how they fared in the playoffs would have been a difference-maker for Bears GM Phil Emery. It's tough to fire a coach who's 10-6, but if he drives and makes a big push in the playoffs, you think it would have benefited Lovie Smith's chances to remain as head coach," Miller explained.

Now, whether the remaining coaching staff stays with the team is up in the air as well.

"Normally when you bring in a new head coach, they're going to bring in their guys," Miller said. "They may interview guys who are currently on staff and they could potentially retain them. But nine times out of 10, they're bringing in their own group of guys and their assistant coaches, and pretty much everyone goes.

"I think you're going to see major sweeping changes."

And there are plenty of names to go around that will begin those changes.

"A lot of people are talking about Rick Dennison, who was a former offensive coordinator out in Denver. Jay Cutler has a relationship with him. Jon Gruden, there's a coach that, say for instance, if the Bears were to hire him, he's got a past with Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and could retain him.

"Bill O'Brien, who I think is really getting a lot of notice in NFL circles with his work at Penn State, is also a possible candidate.

"And I'd keep an eye on the two national championship coaches," Miller added. "Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is a guy of interest because his offense travels well, doesn't matter if he has a passing quarterback or a running quarterback, his defenses are always played well. I think he and obviously Alabama head coach Nick Saban are of interest and are on NFL radar screens.

"Kelly knows how to deal with teams, he's all about winning that that seems to be his only goal as a coach. I don't think Notre Dame, quite frankly, is his dream job. I think the guy's always wanted to make a case and make a jump to the National Football League."

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But no matter who receives an offer to becomes the Bears' next head coach, Miller believes the team and the city of Chicago won't have a hard time finding a top-notch candidate who would want to come to the Windy City.

"The Chicago Bears job, out of all the openings right now, to me, is the most coveted," Miller said. "It's the biggest market, there's history, there's tradition, there's a great following, it's no doubt the marquee place that I think any coach would want to be."