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Sizing up some top candidates for Bears' offensive coordinator
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 1/19/2010 12:01 AM

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As the Bears head into their third week in search of offensive and defensive coordinators, little progress has been made.

Perry Fewell, the Bears' first choice for defensive coordinator, got away, taking the same job with the New York Giants.

Two of the candidates for offensive coordinator also are gone. USC's Jeremy Bates followed Pete Carroll to the Seattle Seahawks, and the Green Bay Packers declined the Bears' request to speak with quarterbacks coach Tom Clements.

Many names have been mentioned as offensive coordinator possibilities, but Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese is the only candidate known to have interviewed at Halas Hall.

Here's a brief look at some of the pros and cons of other potential candidates, in no particular order.

San Diego Chargers assistant head coach/tight ends Rob Chudzinski, 41

If the Bears get permission, they can now interview "Chud," since the Chargers are out of the playoffs.

If the opportunity arises, it might be interesting to know what kind of feedback Chudzinski gets from Chargers coaches Ron Rivera, Steven Wilks and Don Johnson, all former Lovie Smith assistants who were fired.

Chudzinski was Cleveland's offensive coordinator in 2007-08, and in his first season quarterback Derek Anderson, wide receiver Braylon Edwards and tight Kellen Winslow all had career years and went to the Pro Bowl.

Edwards and Winslow combined for 162 receptions, 2,395 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Even more amazing, Anderson threw for 3,787 yards and 29 touchdowns under Chudzinski's direction. In the two years since Anderson has thrown 12 TD passes and 18 interceptions. His passer rating this season was 42.1.

If Chudzinski can get that kind of production out of Anderson, imagine what he could do with Jay Cutler.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese, 42

He never has been an offensive coordinator, but he has spent the last seven years in his current position, as Carson Palmer threw for 100 TD passes in his first 59 games, the fifth-fastest in NFL history.

Zampese coached with Lovie Smith for two years in St. Louis. He joined the Rams in 2000 as an offensive assistant and was promoted to wide receivers coach in 2001, when the Rams led the league in passing yards.

In 2002 he added the title of passing game coach, and the Rams finished second in the league at 259.6 passing yards per game.

Zampese's father, Ernie, was a longtime NFL offensive coordinator who coached on a Super Bowl winner with the 1995 Dallas Cowboys and also coached for the Chargers, Rams and New England Patriots.

NFL Network commentator Mike Martz, 58

Martz is one of the more polarizing figures in the NFL. Players and fellow coaches either love him or hate him.

His offensive genius and prolific past performance are undisputed, but he has an uncanny ability to rub some people the wrong way. Some call it confidence, while others prefer arrogance.

He makes the most sense for a team and a head coach that need to win right away.

There would be no learning curve for Martz, since he already knows everything, but he treats the run game like a trip to the dentist, which doesn't square with Smith's desire to get off the bus running.

But Martz also is the candidate who has the longest relationship with Smith, Martz having hired him as his defensive coordinator in St. Louis, where they worked together from 2001-03.

Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson, 44

Jackson in a nine-year NFL veteran and was the Falcons' offensive coordinator in Bobby Petrino's ill-fated season in Atlanta, when the head coach bolted in mid-December.

Jackson also was the Washington Redskins' offensive coordinator in 2003.

He gets high marks for the work he has done with Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who last season became the first rookie to win two playoff games.

Jackson also has been an offensive coordinator at USC (1997-2000) and California (1996). He was on the same staff in Cincinnati with Zampese as the wide receivers coach (2004-06).

Indianapolis Colts assistant head coach/wide receivers Clyde Christensen, 53

Who knows more about throwing the football than someone who spent the past eight years working with revered offensive coordinator Tom Moore and quarterback Peyton Manning?

Christensen is a 14-year NFL coaching veteran who spent six seasons at Tampa Bay, coaching tight ends (1996-98) and quarterbacks (1999-00) before being promoted to offensive coordinator for the 2001 season.

He was on the same staff there with Smith, who was the Bucs' linebackers coach from 1996-2000.

But with Moore's retirement imminent, Christensen could be next in line for that job, a more attractive position than anything the Bears could offer.