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Does Former Miami Coach Check Wrong Boxes?

Bears owner George McCaskey has already put forth some of the traits he's looking for in a coach and it's questionable whether former Dolphins coach Brian Flores fits those.

It's been a surprise Brian Flores appeared immediately as someone the Bears will interview.

His perceived volatility alone should seem like a warning sign. At least board chairman George McCaskey deserves credit here for being open-minded and not too willing to avoid controversial figures.

Of course Flores should be interviewed because of his success coaching a team totally rebuilt in 2019 and still achieving remarkable success, although he never made the playoffs. There are people on the Bears list who have never been head coaches, so one with two winning seasons in three should at least be considered.

McCaskey spoke for a full hour at Monday's season-ending press conference and within the time he mentioned a few things which could indicate why he and the organization could have interest in a coach viewed by some as too volatile or abrasive.

Also, during the talk he revealed a few reasons why it looks like a poor match.

Green Light on Flores

In describing why they fired Matt Nagy, McCaskey cited the inability to beat good teams.

"Over four seasons, we beat the teams we were expected to beat," McCaskey said. "Too often, though, we didn’t beat the better teams and you have to do that to excel in this league.”

McCaskey is exactly right. After the 2018 season, the Bears rarely beat teams who looked better on paper. Their record against the Green Bay Packers in that time is the best example. They lost all six games from 2019-2021 after winning to clinch the 2018 season.

There's more to it than just the Packers, and when they managed to beat both Cincinnati and Las Vegas this season—a pair of playoff teams—it was well before either of those opponents gained any type of momentum and actually were struggling.

Flores' Dolphins were almost the exact opposite of the Bears under Matt Nagy, or at least Nagy's teams in the last three seasons. This should make Flores a bit more appealing to the Bears.

In 2019 Miami lost its first seven when the roster had been gutted, then finished by winning five of their last nine including victories over the Colts, Eagles and Patriots. In 2020, they beat the 49ers, Rams, Cardinals and Patriots. This past season they beat the Saints, Ravens, and Patriots twice.

A really good indication of the ability Flores had for being able to coach up a team low on talent was the betting-line record of the Dolphins. In three seasons under Flores, the Dolphins were 29-19-1 against the point spread and they had a winning record in all three seasons. They played well as underdogs. The Bears, on the other hand, were 18-32 in that time period with records of 6-11, 8-9 and 4-12 when they faced the long odds.

Red Light on Flores

On the other hand, McCaskey said something else which would tend to reflect poorly on Flores' chances.

In describing his irritation with the past season, McCaskey said this: "There were a lot of frustrating parts. Another lengthy losing streak—we had one in 2019, one on 2020, one in 2021. Usually, those are season-enders. I admire the way our guys stuck together, didn't point fingers, but at some point both the general manager and head coach have to come up with a way to snap us out of a losing streak before the season is ruined."

A five-game losing streak finished the Bears this season. They lost six straight but overcame it to make the playoffs in 2020. They lost four straight in 2019 and fell out of contention.

Why, then, would the Bears be interested in bringing in a coach who had lost seven straight not once, but twice? Flores' first seven games were losses but this was understandable to a point after the roster was completely turned over in 2019. However, the Dolphins lost seven straight in this season, Flores' third.

There are always explanations for such things. In the NFL, explanations are usually excuses. 

Nagy could and did give you explanations for the Bears' losing four, five and six straight. Ultimately, this was a good reason for firing him because, as McCaskey said Monday, this is a bottom-line business.

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The Real Deal Killer

You'd really want to hear the explanation Flores has for what happened between himself and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa this past season. Flores was said to have been involved in a shouting match with Tagovailoa.

This was the kind of thing that happened regularly with the Bears in the 1980s under Mike Ditka but when it resulted in so many wins and a Lombardi Trophy then no one cared. It wasn't viewed favorably by ownership after the wins became less frequent.

When one of the key points McCaskey made during his talk was about how he will be interested to hear candidates' plans for using quarterback Justin Fields, how can this Tagovailoa incident ever be anything but a red flag for Flores?

Here is what McCaskey said about that coach/quarterback relationship during his talk.

"Our conversations with Bill Polian, he told us it's that relationship between the general manager and the head coach and the relationship between the head coach and the quarterback that will determine the success of your team," McCaskey said.

When Flores already failed at this with Tagovailoa, he's going to need an awfully good explanation for why it could be different with Fields.

Flores had three different offensive line coaches and four different offensive coordinators in three seasons as coach. That one is really going to take some explaining.

He's also going to need an answer for why someone who lost seven straight games twice should be hired by a franchise upset over losing streaks of four, five and six games.

Maybe he has those and maybe he'd be a fine coach, but he definitely should be disqualified according to what the Bears have said they look for in a coach.

In the end, the main qualification for what the Bears want in coaches is the reason they most likely would look to someone other than Flores. 

That is simply Miami didn't win enough games to get in the playoffs the last two seasons. 

It's tough to be serious about a candidate when this is the ultimate measuring stick you've put forth and there are candidates like Doug Pederson or Dan Quinn, who not only made the playoff but either reached or won the Super Bowl. 

There were no pretenses made by McCaskey and CEO Ted Phillips about wins, and especially playoff wins, being necessary for retention after the 2020 season ended for Nagy. They were the standard set and he failed to deliver.

If the Bears hired Flores after all the talk about victories and bottom lines, as well as the baggage brought along in terms of the quarterback position and all the assistant coach hirings and firings, it wouldn't be Flores who needs to do the explaining. It would be McCaskey.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven