Report: Bears ‘very smitten' with Brian Flores


Is there a leader in the club house?

The Chicago Bears have interviewed former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and are reportedly “very, very smitten.”

But Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson warned there are two keys to landing Flores as the next head coach.

“For Chicago to reel him in, they have to talk to Flores and go, ‘Okay, the general manager hire is going to be someone you’re comfortable with and you want to be connected with,'” Robinson told Michael Holley and Michael Smith on Peacock's Brother From Another

"And it’s also going to be someone who’s comfortable letting you take the lead in the organization, i.e. Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. Very similar set-up where it’s going to be a very coach-driven organization first with a GM being, not on the second tier, but just holding back a little bit behind the head coach.”

That seems on the surface like an unlikely concession. In his end of season press conference, George McCaskey said it's the team's preference to hire a general manager before a head coach.

Also, would Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian advise the Bears to go this route and give that kind of power and control to Flores? That seems unlikely.

The second key is whether or not Flores believes in Justin Fields.

One Flores decision that also drew criticism from around the NFL was how he handled Tua Tagovailoa’s rookie season. Flores slowly worked Tagovailoa into the starting rotation, similar to how the Bears worked Justin Fields into specific packages in Week 1 this year. But when Tagovailoa struggled in Week 10 against the Broncos, Flores pulled him for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. He named Tagovailoa the starter going forward, but when the rookie QB struggled again in Week 15, Flores pulled him again in favor of some Fitz Magic.

How Flores feels about Justin Fields is unclear and McCaskey refused to answer when asked if a commitment to Fields was a prerequisite to being hired as head coach.

Robinson also addressed Flores' feeling on quarterbacks and it isn't necessarily indicative of where he stands on Fields.

“From what I understand, wherever Brian Flores goes, he wants to have an upper-echelon, upper-echelon quarterback,” Robinson said. “Not a top-15 quarterback, not a top-10 quarterback. But someone who could potentially factor in the top five or six moving forward.”

Fields isn't currently a top-15 quarterback in the NFL, but the hope with a new coaching staff coming in is that Fields could take that step in the seasons to come, but it requires belief. Does Flores have that belief?

None of the head coach openings seem to tick that "upper-echelon" box. Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders? Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings? Maybe Deshaun Watson in Houston if the Texans figure out what his future is.

Robinson cites Texans GM Nick Caserios as another obstacle because he won't be second-fiddle to a coach.

After being fired by the Dolphins, Flores immediately became one of the buzziest head coaching candidates on the market. The Bears wasted no time, interviewing a slew of head coach and general manager candidates, including Flores.

NBC Sports Chicago’s Adam Hoge mentioned Flores as a potential candidate in his list of coaches the Bears could interview.

“2021 was a rocky season for the Dolphins as they entered Week 1 with playoff expectations and beat the Patriots, but then lost seven straight games,” Hoge wrote. “Amazingly, they then won seven straight games to turn their season around. Apparently the roller coaster ride led to some friction, as Flores reportedly lost a power struggle with management.”

The biggest point in Flores’ favor was his work in turning around the Dolphins defense, which ranked dead last in points allowed in 2019, but improved to No. 6 in points allowed in 2020. Last season, they regressed slightly, sliding to No. 16.

Flores comes from Bill Belichick’s coaching tree. Before accepting the head coaching job with the Dolphins, he spent 11 seasons on Belichick’s staff with the Patriots.

Flores ended his Dolphins career with a 24-25 record.

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