By Chris Emma—
(670 The Score) To win in the NFL requires stability at quarterback, the most important position in sports. Attaining that requires some risk and convictions.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace was firm in announcing that last April.
“If we want to be great, you just can’t sit on your hands,” Pace said. “There are times when you’ve got to be aggressive, and when you have conviction on a guy, you can’t sit on your hands. I just don’t want to be average around here — I want to be great, and these are the moves you have to make.”
That was how Pace explained trading up to the second pick to select Mitchell Trubisky, and perhaps that could be the thought for John DeFilippo, the Eagles’ 39-year-old quarterbacks coach whom Pace interviewed on Saturday morning.
DeFilippo may not have the resume of coaching candidates like Pat Shurmur or Vic Fangio, but that doesn’t mean he’s not ready for the challenge as head coach.
In Philadelphia, DeFilippo has been instrumental to the growth of another No. 2 overall pick, Carson Wentz, who was an MVP candidate before suffering a torn ACL. Coach Doug Pederson credited DeFilippo’s ability to communicate with Wentz and the Eagles’ quarterbacks in a constructive manner that makes them better.
“You’re seeing it in (Wentz’s) fundamentals,” Pederson said in November of DeFilippo’s impact. “I think you are seeing it in his attention to detail when it comes to progressions and reads. Understanding our offense and where guys are going to be. That’s a credit to John, and keeping it real with Carson. Keeping it honest. Coaching him hard. You can’t sugarcoat things.”
During their interview together, DeFilippo certainly came forward with a plan for developing Trubisky from a rookie with tremendous tools into a polished franchise quarterback. The workings with Wentz offer a blueprint for developing Trubisky.
DeFilippo, who turns 40 in April, has spent most of his NFL career as a quarterbacks coach. His lone experiences as a play-caller came in a season with San Jose State and the Browns. DeFilippo has never been a head coach and has primarily led a quarterbacks room instead of a locker room, which would make the prospect of hiring him risky.
Without a colorful resume for DeFilippo, Pace can only utilize the recommendations of industry peers and everything he gathered in an interview that was surely thorough. He should want to hear how DeFilippo would take grasp of the team as head coach and earn the respect of his men.
If the conviction with DeFilippo is strong, you know well Pace won’t sit on his hands.
Extra point: The Bears are expected to meet next week with Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, which would mark their sixth and final scheduled interview that’s currently known. The team has confirmed interviews with Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards, Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and now DeFilippo.