Bears could be looking for offensive, defensive coordinators
That's about the biggest compliment the 6-foot-6 right tackle could pay him.
''I'd go to fight for Adam Gase any day,'' Long said.
The Bears could be looking for offensive and defensive coordinators as they take a 6-9 record into their season finale against the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
That's not because Gase and Vic Fangio are in danger of losing their jobs. It's because they helped coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace lay what appears to be a solid foundation for a team coming off a five-win mess in 2014.
They interviewed for head coaching jobs last offseason, and they could be in the running again even though their groups rank in the middle of the NFL statistically.
On offense, Chicago is 18th. The defense ranks a little higher at 12th. They're hardly dominating, but that has more to do with the holes the Bears had to fill than the ability of their coaches.
There were big talent gaps, particularly on defense. Injuries have only compounded things on both sides.
Despite all that, Gase has helped quarterback Jay Cutler cut down on his turnovers after leading the league a year ago. Fangio has helped restore a defense that ranked among the worst in franchise history.
While Gase insisted he is not thinking beyond this weekend's game, Fangio made it clear his phone line is open.
''If the right opportunity and people were interested, yeah, I'd certainly listen,'' he said. ''But like I've always said, they are their jobs and they have their minds set on what they have, and if I happened to fit that mold and what they're looking for, that would be great.''
Whether there will be a fit for the 57-year-old Fangio or 37-year-old Gase is unclear. Neither has been a head coach. But they do have extensive experience in the NFL.
Fangio, wrapping up his 16th season as a coordinator in the league, could benefit from the success of Arizona's Bruce Arians and Minnesota's Mike Zimmer. Both were older assistants who are now enjoying success as first-time head coaches.
Fangio, who oversaw one of the league's top defenses with San Francisco from 2011 to 2014, came to Chicago after being bypassed for the 49ers' head coaching job in favor of defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. He was also a candidate for the Washington Redskins job that went to Joe Barry.
''The things that I see from Coach Vic, he'll definitely be a good head coach,'' cornerback Tracy Porter said.
Gase ultimately followed Fox from Denver to Chicago after interviewing for head coaching jobs with the Bears, San Francisco, Buffalo and Atlanta.
Gase spent the last six seasons on Denver's staff, including the last two as offensive coordinator. The Broncos led the NFL in scoring and total offense the last two years.
He did that with Peyton Manning at quarterback. In Chicago he has done something previous coordinators Ron Turner, Mike Marta, Mike Tice and Aaron Kromer struggled to do - connect with the quarterback.
''If he gets that shot, I'm excited for him,'' Cutler said. ''I think he deserves it. He's done some really good things in this league and they speak for themselves, whether it's Tim Tebow or Peyton or myself or Kyle Orton. Whoever he's worked with he's found ways to manage the system and make them successful.''
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