By Chris Emma–
(CBS) Last January, new Bears coach John Fox hired Adam Gase as offensive coordinator knowing the rising star in the coaching industry would swiftly get a job leading a team. On Saturday, that happened.
Gase was named head coach of the Miami Dolphins after his second interview with the team. A year removed from hitting a snag with the 49ers for their head job, the 37-year-old Gase got his chance as a head coach.
“In the end, I was convinced and the search committee was unanimous Adam was the right leader for our football team who best met all of our priorities,” Dolphins chairman Stephen Ross said in a statement. “He has high energy, is competitive and driven to win, with a mindset of teaching and developing players. ”
Now, the Bears must act following a possibility they’ve long expected.
A source close to the situation sees quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains as the leading candidate to replace Gase as offensive coordinator. Loggains, 35, developed a great relationship with quarterback Jay Cutler in their one year together.
Throughout the season, Cutler often mentioned Loggains in the same breath as Gase.
“He’s extremely talented, bright, has a lot of energy as well,” Cutler recently said of Loggains. “He’s been around quarterbacks for a long time, played the position in high school, has been around really good coaches his entire career — he’s been blessed in that regard. He’s been a sponge.
“He’s done a really good job of managing our room, from the three (other quarterbacks) to me. He works well with the rest of the coaches in developing the plan. I think Adam would testify to it, that he’s been a large help to him and me both.”
The Bears have long been prepared for Gase to move on, knowing when they hired the touted coordinator that he likely wouldn’t be around after the 2015 season. He interviewed with the Eagles on Tuesday, the Browns on Wednesday, the Dolphins on Thursday and the Giants on Friday, but he chose to give Miami the first crack at locking him in as head coach.
Just last week, Fox and Bears general manager Ryan Pace expressed their confidence in finding the right replacement. Fox made it clear that the Bears’ offensive schemes wouldn’t change with a new coordinator.
“We have a plan in place,” Fox said Monday. “Finding good, quality coaches have never been a problem.”
Gase came to Chicago after spending four years with Peyton Manning in Denver, including two seasons as Broncos offensive coordinator. He was expected to be a leading head-coaching candidate no matter what would occur with the Bears.
In leading the Chicago offense, Gase helped Cutler to his most efficient season with the team, while bringing competence to a unit lacking talent through injuries and personnel issues. Cutler was quick to share that credit for Gase with Loggains, too.
“Adam and Dowell have done a good job with this offense, the play-calling, putting us in good positions,” Cutler said in December. “I think even though we’ve had a lot of guys in and out of the lineup, guys are doing the right thing. There’s accountability across the offense, and that makes my job easier.”
The Bears made it known that Cutler is their franchise quarterback, with Pace putting pieces around the quarterback. One of the most important steps Pace can take for Cutler is make him comfortable with the right offensive coordinator, and Cutler hasn’t hid his affection for Loggains.
With Gase’s move to Miami now official, the Bears could act quickly in hiring a replacement.