CHICAGO -- A reunion between John Fox and Adam Gase seemed realistic when San Francisco and Denver both bypassed Gase to fill their respective head-coaching vacancies.
But is it that simple?
Gase was scheduled to interview for the Chicago Bears offensive coordinator position on Wednesday, sources close to the situation tell ESPN, a full five days after Fox became the 15th head coach in franchise history.
Gase’s employment options have dwindled, so perhaps the 36-year old coordinator does reach an agreement with Fox to coordinate the Chicago offense.
But according to multiple NFL sources, the belief in league circles is that Fox and Gase were content to go their separate ways when Fox left the Broncos, who in turn plucked Gary Kubiak away from Baltimore to be Fox’s replacement.
One source noted that while Fox and Gase “have a strong mutual respect for one another,” they have differing views on offense, with Fox preferring a more traditional ground attack, mixing in impact plays down the field when available, while Gase is described as a “cutting edge offensive mind” who places of higher emphasis on passing the ball.
Fox is not opposed to throwing the football. Under Fox’s watch, Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad thrived in Carolina’s offensive system, and Fox reaped the rewards of having talented pass-catchers Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Wes Welker in Denver.
However, Fox is known as an old-school head coach who comes from a hard-nosed defensive background.
Gase’s offense enjoyed tremendous success in Denver, led by one of the greatest quarterbacks ever, Peyton Manning. With Gase calling plays, the Broncos won 25 regular-season games, two straight division titles, and earned a berth in Super Bowl XLVIII.
But for all the accolades, the organization and both men parted ways.
The Bears moved fast to snatch up Fox, but Gase remains in limbo, passed up not only for a handful of head-coaching gigs, but also for potential offensive coordinator openings in Atlanta, Jacksonville, Baltimore and Oakland.
One source explained that perhaps the reason Gase is still available is because teams have concerns that he will bolt after 2015 for a head-coaching job.
Does a team on the rebuild, such as the Bears, want to have to look for a new offensive coordinator after only one year?
It’s also curious that Fox didn’t move sooner to bring Gase aboard in Chicago, if in fact, the veteran head coach wants to rekindle their working relationship.
However, Gase has several things working in his favor in Chicago. He’s the son-in-law of longtime New Orleans Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt, who worked with Bears general manager Ryan Pace. Gase and Pace have a good relationship. Gase also interviewed to be the Bears’ head coach before Fox and Pace were hired.
Maybe the Bears feel like Gase is simply the best available offensive coordinator (he probably is), and whatever professional disagreements exist between Fox and Gase can be squashed.
But if for whatever reason the Bears decide to let Gase leave Wednesday without a contract, remember that Fox has a proven track record of finding quality assistant coaches -- including Gase, Mike McCoy, Dennis Allen and Jack Del Rio.
The head coach always has the final say on the coaching staff. If Fox doesn’t want to reunite with Gase, then so be it. Fox’s background earns him the benefit of the doubt.