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Durkin: Potential Bears Offensive Coordinator Candidates

By Dan Durkin-

(CBS) The Bears got their man Friday, hiring John Fox to be the 15th coach in team history.

Just as new general manager Ryan Pace's first order of business was hiring a head coach, Fox's first order of business is assembling a coaching staff.

Given the depth and breadth of his NFL experience, Fox's connections around the league are deep. He has a proven track record of hiring quality assistants. In his four years in Denver, three of his coordinators went on to become head coaches -- Dennis Allen (former Raiders coach), Mike McCoy (current Chargers coach) and Jack Del Rio (current Raiders coach).

Here's a couple potential candidates Fox may consider for his offensive coordinator role in Chicago.

Kyle Shanahan

Despite being only 35, Shanahan has already accumulated seven years of experience as an offensive coordinator and is regarded as an ascending offensive mind.

Shanahan got his start with the Houston Texans in 2008, working under Gary Kubiak for two seasons, becoming versed in a zone-running scheme with a play-action bootleg package. The Texans offense was one of the league's most productive over this span. In 2008, they ranked third in total yards and fourth in passing yards. In 2009, they ranked first in passing yards and fourth in total yards.

When his dad, Mike, was named Washington's coach in 2010, Shanahan joined him in the same capacity. In 2012, Washington drafted Robert Griffin III, and the offense emerged as the league's best rushing attack, averaging 169 yards per game. Washington was also fourth in points and fifth in total yards. Once again, Shanahan developed a formidable play-action passing off of the Redskins rushing attack.

Shanahan spent the past season in Cleveland, but he was a part of a tense situation, centered around the handling of first-round draft pick Johnny Manziel. The situation ended with Shanahan resigning earlier this month.

Shanahan is on the path to becoming a head coach, but he will likely need a few more years as a coordinator before getting that opportunity.

Greg Knapp

Knapp has 20 years of NFL coaching experience, evenly split between an offensive coordinator and a quarterbacks coach. Knapp spent the last two seasons working as the Broncos' quarterback coach.

One element that stands out on Knapp's resume is the work he's done with quarterbacks. Knapp got his first NFL opportunity with the 49ers as a quality control assistant in 1995 and was twice promoted, first to quarterbacks coach in 1998 and to offensive coordinator in 2001.

While working as the 49ers quarterbacks coach, Knapp worked with Hall of Famer Steve Young for the final two seasons of his NFL career. In 1998, Young earned first-team All-Pro honors.

As offensive coordinator, Knapp worked with Jeff Garcia, who set a franchise record with 4,278 passing yards in his first season as the starter. Garcia went on to earn three Pro Bowl selections.

From 2004 to 2006, Knapp was the offensive coordinator in Atlanta, during which time the team ranked first in rushing all three seasons. Knapp also helped develop Michael Vick, who earned two of his four Pro Bowl selections under Knapp's guidance.

While with the Texans in 2010 and 2011, Knapp helped develop Matt Schaub -- whom he previously worked with in Atlanta. In 2011, after Schaub was lost for the season, rookie T.J. Yates led the Texans to their first playoff win in franchise history.

Over the past two seasons in Denver, Knapp has worked with Peyton Manning and offensive coordinator Adam Gase. In 2013, the Broncos set single-season NFL records for points scored (606) and passing yards (5,444).

Knapp's roots are in the West Coast offense, but he's also well versed in the zone-based running scheme -- which he learned while working with Mike Shanahan and Kubiak in San Francisco -- and the bootleg play action passing game. While working with Gase and Manning, he's been exposed to a spread passing attack that uses levels and mesh concepts.

Dan Durkin covers the Bears for and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.

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