Miller: Kelly, Saban among possible Bears candidates


Miller: Kelly, Saban among possible Bears candidates

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."

Controversial calls played a large part in the Detroit Lions NFC North loss on Monday night


Controversial calls played a large part in the Detroit Lions NFC North loss on Monday night

The Green Bay Packers managed to pull off a dramatic comeback victory on Monday night, defeating the Detroit Lions 23-22 on a last-second field goal from Mason Crosby. But after the game, it wasn't Aaron Rodgers usual clutch ways that people were talking about, it was the officiating crew, who had two controversial hands to the face penalty calls against the Lions that all but killed any momentum they had going. 

As you can see in the clip above, both hands to the face calls seemed questionable at best, and downright ludicrous at worst. What makes the calls so tough is the timing. The first hands to the face penalty on Lions DE Trey Flowers came after he sacked Rodgers on third-and-10 and the penalty both took away the sack and provided the Pack with an automatic first down. Later in the drive, Rodgers dropped in a great 35-yard touchdown pass to bring Green Bay within two points 

The second questionable hands to the face call came on third-and-4 and it was the most costly call of the game. The Packers received another automatic first down and ran down the clock—Detroit was out of timeouts—to set up the eventual game-winning, walk-off field goal from Crosby. 

And it didn't take long for many people, everyone from former NFL greats to NFL reporters, to chime in on social media with their thoughts on the officiating that seemingly cost Detroit a crucial win. 

With the Green Bay win, the Lions moved to last-place in the NFC North, while the Bears now sit 2.5 games back of first place heading into their Week 7 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

NFC North Standings: Bears 2.5 games behind Packers entering Week 7

NFC North Standings: Bears 2.5 games behind Packers entering Week 7

The Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers pulled off another incredible (or maybe controversial) victory over the Detroit Lions in Monday night's NFC North slugfest, 23-22, to advance to 5-1 and in sole possession of first place in the NFC North.

It was the worst possible outcome for the Chicago Bears, who could've used a little help from the Lions to keep pace with Green Bay entering Week 7.

Instead, the Bears (3-2) are now 2.5 games behind the Packers ahead of their showdown with the New Orleans Saints Sunday at Soldier Field.

It could be worse for Chicago. Detroit's loss drops their record to 2-2-1 on the season and moves them into the division's cellar. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings had arguably their strongest showing of the season in their 38-20 victory over the Eagles and improved to 4-2 on the year. Their four wins slot them ahead of the Bears for second place in the North even though Chicago currently owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Here are the NFC North standings heading into Week 7:

1) Packers (5-1)
2) Vikings (4-2)
3) Bears (3-2)
4) Lions (2-2-1)