Thoughts on Dennison, Trestman and why no Lovie?

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Thoughts on Dennison, Trestman and why no Lovie?

Keyshawn Johnson nailed a big spike squarely on the head during ESPNs Sunday NFL Countdown when he voiced some exasperation at the seeming lack of play Lovie Smith is getting for head-coaching jobs.

Johnson was a little more understanding of the firing than Mike Ditka was but he scoffed at the NFLs lemming tendencies are head-shaking when you see the rush toward virtually any coach who has ever used the word offense in a complete sentence.

The Bears have IDd nine candidates, of which seven are offensive coaches and the other two from special teams. There has been some NFL fascination with Chip Kelly because of the Oregon coachs offensive pyrotechnics.

The most balanced Bears candidate at this point is Rick Dennison. As first reported by ESPN, the Bears asked for and received permission to interview the Houston Texans offensive coordinator, who also happens to have coached special teams and played linebacker for nine seasons with the Denver Broncos.

Smith interviewed for the Buffalo job but the Bills instead scrambled to hire Syracuses Doug Marrone, 48, whod won a bowl game this season and gotten the Orangemens program turned around in four years. He also has been an offensive coordinator with New Orleans and O-line coach with the Jets.

Scrambled is the apt term, because the Bills jumped to Marrone after Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was on hold while he interviewed elsewhere, including Chicago.

Bruce Arians

You wonder if Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians being hospitalized with flu and being unable to coach in the Colts playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens will hurt his stock. It shouldnt, but anyone whos ever applied for a job knows that you dont want to call in sick for the interview, and the Colts game with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck against Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata is resume moment for Arians.

Marc Trestman

If the name of candidate Marc Trestman sounds familiar, its because Trestman was on a short list of candidates for Bears offensive coordinator in 2001 when the Bears needed a replacement for Gary Crowton. The problem, for Trestman and Chris Palmer, another leading option, was that Dick Jauron was viewed as on a one-year leash after two losing seasons and prospects wanted a multi-year contract for security in case Jauron was fired.

The Bears werent willing to go three years and instead went with promoting John Shoop. Trestman went on to Oakland and eventually to the Montreal Alouettes but Phil Emery was a Bears scout at the time that Trestman was under consideration.

Bears awarded QB Connor Shaw off waivers from Browns

Bears awarded QB Connor Shaw off waivers from Browns

The Bears have added another quarterback to the mix as they have been awarded Connor Shaw off waivers from the Cleveland Browns.

The 24-year-old Shaw was waived by the Browns on Thursday after spending the past two seasons with the team.

Shaw reunites with his former Browns quarterback coach in Dowell Loggains — now offensive coordinator of the Bears. Shaw was also teammates in Cleveland with current Bears backup quarterback Brian Hoyer.

Shaw was signed as an undrafted free agent out of South Carolina by the Browns in 2014. He's made just one career start in a 2014 Week 17 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens in which he went 14/28 for 177 yards and an interception.

Shaw spent all of 2015 on injured reserve with a broken thumb.

Get to know Bears rookie Jordan Howard

Get to know Bears rookie Jordan Howard

Meet Jordan Howard.

Selected by the Chicago Bears in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL draft, the 6-foot, 230-pound running back out of Indiana rushed for 1,213 yards and nine touchdowns on 196 carries for the Hoosiers in 2015.

Howard is a physical offensive weapon who is sure to give Jeremy Langford and Ka'Deem Carey a run for their money come training camp in August. But before the rookie suits up in Bourbonnais, get the chance to know what he's all about off of the field. 

Howard is featured in the final segment of "Meet the Rookies," a four-part series on ChicagoBears.com that chronicles the inspirational stories of the team's newest additions. The other rookies featured in the series are outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, wide receiver Daniel Braverman and tight end Ben Braunecker.
 
Catch Howard's segment of "Meet the Rookies" here.
 

Buddy Ryan changed the NFL game forever – and more than once

Buddy Ryan changed the NFL game forever – and more than once

One very distinguished voter for Pro Football Hall of Fame inclusion once explained a criterion of his for inclusion in the league’s most hallowed circle: If you wrote the history of football, would you have to include this individual?

Buddy Ryan is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame; he should be, but that’s for another discussion, another time. Because the simple fact is that if you were indeed writing a history of the National Football League, that history would be incomplete without Buddy Ryan.

“I think Buddy changed the game of football,” said Mike Ditka, Bears head coach with Ryan as his first, albeit inherited, defensive coordinator. “He is the reason why teams started going to all these three- and four-receiver sets.

“He never let offenses do what they wanted. The game of football is what it is today because of Buddy.”

Ryan did not create great defense. That had been done wholly or in parts by others – Bill George, George Allen, Dick Butkus, and so on. But what Buddy Ryan did echoes down through the history of the NFL, in more a few of its defining moments.

Super Bowl III is always remembered as Joe Namath’s day. Obscured by all that Namath and the New York Jets’ offense did was what the defensive line of Buddy Ryan was doing to the Baltimore Colts, specifically holding them to exactly seven points, on a late afterthought touchdown, a team that was coached by Don Shula and included John Mackey, Jimmy Orr and averaging nearly 29 points per game.

Super Bowl III was beyond cataclysmic for the growth of the modern NFL. And all that was long before Super Bowl XX.

Maybe the best measure of how truly great a coach Ryan was lay in the fact that he managed to turn OFFENSIVE players into fire-breathers.

“He’d say to the offensive line, ‘you fatasses can’t block anybody in practice, how you gonna do it in a game?’” recalled Hall of Famer Dan Hampton. “And [left tackle Jimbo] Covert and [left guard Mark] Bortz would just turn into animals.”

Ryan loved his players. But it was tough love, affection that had to be earned, and once earned, was something they treasured.

At the end of Otis Wilson’s rookie (1980) season, No. 55 may have been the team’s first-round pick, but Ryan was publicly blunt.

“We did OK, but that ‘55’ killed us," Ryan said after one game. 

Wilson turned the humiliation into something, becoming a student of the game, his craft, even to the point of cramming for Ryan’s legendary written tests.

“'I’m out of school, Buddy,'" Wilson said he wailed. “'Why you givin’ me these exams?'"

“You need to understand the total package,” Ryan ordered. “I want you to know what everybody’s doing.”

Today that sounds almost quaint; everybody’s supposed to know everybody else’s assignments. But never lose sight of the originator, who beat that concept into every head on his defense.

In the end, Ryan belonged to more than Chicago. He was a Jet. He was a Viking. He was Bear. He was an Eagle. And finally a Cardinal.

He belonged to the NFL, which, exactly as Ditka said, was changed forever by him.