Bears have right idea in offensive coordinator search

January 13th, 2010 - 11:07 am

Say what you want about the way Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith have handled their jobs over the last few years, and most any criticism is warranted, but at least they’re doing the right thing in their search for a new offensive coordinator.

It’s been suggested that quarterback Jay Cutler currently is the most powerful man in the organization, and although slightly exaggerated, that statement holds some water. Cutler is the most talented quarterback the Bears have had in decades and possessing a top quarterback increases a team’s chances of winning any time they set foot on the field.

With that in mind, any decision made on offensive personnel, whether it be players or coaches, should be made with Cutler’s best interests in mind. Allow me to clarify. I’m not saying Cutler should be a decision-maker, but the Bears need to build around him and acquire talent that will maximize his production because the Bears will only go as far as Cutler can take them in his next four years in Chicago.

While searching for a new offensive coordinator, the Bears have done exactly as they should do and that’s try to find a guy that can help Cutler improve. Their first choice appeared to be Jeremy Bates, Cutler’s preferred candidate because of their relationship in Denver. Bates would have gotten the most out of Cutler while also opening up the offense with his innovative mind. However, Bates followed his USC head coach, Pete Carroll, to Seattle to lead the Seahawks’ offense.

The Bears’ next choice seemingly was Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements. Clements was a former offensive coordinator in Buffalo and also has done some good work with quarterbacks throughout the years, most notably with Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers. The Packers denied the Bears permission to speak with Clements, understandably so because they didn’t want to help a division opponent, but this choice further shows the Bears’ intention to help maximize Cutler’s abilities as best they can.

The latest name to hit the wire is Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese. Like Bates, Zampese has NFL lineage as his father, Ernie Zampese, was a long-time NFL assistant coach. Unlike Bates and Clements, though, Zampese has ties to Smith as the two coached together with the St. Louis Rams. Zampese has done good work with Carson Palmer’s mechanics, which is something Cutler could use help with. Zampese also comes from the school of the Air Coryell offense, a system named after former San Diego Chargers Coach, Don Coryell, whose offense revolutionized the passing game in the late 70s and early 80s.

Sure, none of these guys may have names that make Bears fans giddy, but any of them would have made sense when taking Cutler’s development and production into consideration. And considering the questionable coaching hires Smith has made throughout his tenure as Bears coach, you have to give him credit for having the right idea in mind when hiring his new offensive coordinator.