Josh McDaniels Is a Terrible Candidate to Replace Bears' Lovie Smith

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2012

August 24, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New England Patriots 30-28. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith could be on his way out after the 2012 NFL season with the team stumbling, and a surprise candidate for his replacement could be Josh McDaniels. 

McDaniels, who currently acts as the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, has some connections to new Chicago general manager Phil Emery. According to Jason La Canfora, McDaniels is one who could fit the bill for the potentially soon-to-be-vacant head coaching position:

Emery has spent a good part of his scouting/executive career working under Bill Belichick disciplines Thomas Dimitroff (in Atlanta) and Scott Pioli (in Kansas City), and insider speculation is that Emery's next coaching hire could come from that family tree. New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Penn State coach Bill O'Brien are among the prominent names who fall into that category and perhaps possess the kind of offensive pedigree required to finally get Chicago's offense to blossom.

While La Canfora's speculation makes sense, Chicago hiring McDaniels would be a horrible decision for a few reasons. 

For one, McDaniels had his shot at a head coaching position in 2009 with the Denver Broncos and only lasted a year and a half while giving the franchise an 11-17 record. McDainels later found himself an offensive coordinator role again with the St. Louis Rams before returning to the Patriots. 

McDaniels is a great coordinator, there's no doubting that. Under his direction, the Patriots currently average a league-best 36 points and 426 yards per game. 

Where McDaniels fails is as a head coach. He's an offensive guru who brings the best out of any quarterback, but he simply fails as a motivator and as someone NFL players want to play for each and every week. 

Look no further than McDaniels' time in Denver as the perfect example. He had a falling-out with one of the NFL's best receivers in Brandon Marshall, benched him and was eventually fired. McDaniels was also the main reason Jay Cutler demanded a trade out of Denver. 

For those reasons alone, McDaniels is a laughably bad candidate for the Bears. 

It's one thing for a head coach and a wide receiver to not get along well. Plenty of teams have had that issue and been just fine. What won't work is McDaniels' past interactions and relationships with Cutler. 

Chicago should know better than to attempt to pair the duo together once again. Cutler would certainly benefit from McDaniels' presence and the offensive would be more explosive, but it may not be worth the risk. 

That said, Cutler could certainly use the help. He's been average all season long, having only thrown for 2,495 yards, 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Cutler hasn't won the Bears any games this season, but he hasn't lost them, either. 

Cutler's main issue with McDaniels came when the Broncos organization hired him and he was subsequently involved in trade rumors. Cutler said he couldn't trust him or the organization, and he was traded. 

It's been quite some time since the two had issues, but it's still not worth the risk for the Bears organization. There are a variety of solid head coaching options available after the season concludes, such as Oregon's Chip Kelly and Penn State's Bill O'Brien—another man who fits the bill of having come from the Bill Belichick coaching tree. 

All of this is based on the thought the Bears will move on from Smith, which they may. As La Canfora points out, the fact that Emery was given the ability to evaluate the coaching staff in only his first year as general manager is not a great sign. 

Add in a slumping team when it matters most, and Smith could be gone depending on how the Bears perform in the postseason. 

Hiring McDaniels would be a step in the wrong direction for Chicago, and a bad start to the tenure for Emery with the Bears. He has little success at the head coaching position and a horrible relationship with the Bears' franchise quarterback. Emery would be foolish to consider him at this point.