The Bears don’t need to over pay for Jon Gruden. They don’t need a retread like Bill Cowher. They don’t need the “hot” coordinator like Mike McCoy or Kyle Shanahan. Phil Emery expressed last week that the coaching search was going to be thorough, exploring all levels of football to find the right guy to develop Jay Cutler and put together an offense that can compete with the likes of Green Bay. It’s time for Emery to think outside the box, and give Stanford’s David Shaw a call.
I’m sure there are a lot of Bear fans who would say David who? David Shaw is currently the head coach at Stanford University. During his 2 years as head coach, he’s led the team to 23-4 record with a victory in the 2013 Rose Bowl. Prior to becoming the head coach, he served as Jim Harbaugh’s offensive coordinator at University of San Diego (2006) and Stanford (2007-2010). Before Shaw’s work with Harbaugh, he worked as the QB/WR coach with the Baltimore Ravens (2002-2005), helping coach Derrick Mason to a 1,000 yard season. Prior to that, he was the quarterback's coach for the Oakland Raiders (2001) working with hot head, but talented, Rich Gannon (sound familiar Bears fans?).
The thing that separates Shaw from the rest of the college coaches is his work with quarterbacks. Shaw doesn’t run a gimmick offense like Chip Kelly, or a read option like Urban Meyer; Shaw runs a pro-style offense that translates to the NFL game. Emery stressed during his press conference the importance of getting the best out of Jay Cutler. Shaw was the passing coordinator/offensive coordinator with Stanford during Andrew Luck’s time in Palo Alto. If anyone has watched Luck, he’s the ideal quarterback. He’s mechanically sound and has a great feel for the game. Not only has Shaw developed Luck, he’s also doing great things with freshman Kevin Hogan. Having Shaw work with Cutler could lead to greatness for Jay.
The other major plus for Shaw is his work with Harbaugh. Jim Harbaugh may be brash and annoying at times, but he’s known around the league as an innovator on offense. Innovator and offense are two words that don't usually go together when describing the Chicago Bears. Everywhere Harbaugh traveled in college, he brought Shaw with him to run his offenses. Harbaugh saw something special in Shaw’s ability to call plays and coach offense, and hopefully the Bears do too. Shaw would bring something the Bears haven't seen in a long time, an innovative legitimate play caller.
Not only has Shaw worked with Jim Harbaugh, he was also on the staff of two NFL teams prior to his college days. In Baltimore and Oakland, Shaw worked under Jon Gruden and Brian Billick. Working with two guys who are regarded as offensive gurus in the NFL helped Shaw develop as a play caller. Shaw understands the pro game, and the transition wouldn’t be as hard as your typical college coach who never coached in the NFL.
Shaw just recently signed a long term deal to stay with Stanford, but that doesn’t mean the NFL is out of the question. To win big, you have to go all in. Emery can take the easy way out and hire one of the “hot” coordinators and hope it works. But the “hot” coordinator rarely works (Josh McDaniels, Steve Spagnuolo and many more). It’s time for Emery to swing for the fences and go all in on Stanford’s David Shaw.