As Da Bears Turns
Let us check in on the Soap Opera that is the Chicago Bears
When we last left the Bears, Offensive Coordinator Aaron Kromer was crying his apology to the team and Jay Cutler for being Ian Rappaport’s anonymous source. Since that time:
- Bears’ Head Coach Marc Trestman stated that Jay Cutler was the Bears’ starting quarterback immediately following and the Tuesday after a loss to the Saints. However, Trestman changed his mind and named Jimmy Clausen the starter on that Wednesday. The team learned via social media and was not happy for the way it was handle, but not that Cutler was benched.
- Jimmy Clausen played adequate, at best, but suffered a concussion and was ruled out for the last game of the season. Cutler would be named starter.
- Trestman, Kromer and General Manager Phil Emery were fired on Black Monday. The remaining coaching staff is still under contract, but they have been informed to seek employment elsewhere.
- In a very passionate press conference, Chairman George McCaskey and CEO/President Ted Phillips, explained their reasons for firing Emery and Trestman, along with stating that 91 year old Virginia McCaskey (George Halas’ daughter) was “pissed off” over the direction of the team.
- While McCaskey and Phillips will have final say in hiring a General Manager and Head Coach, they have hired former Giants GM and longtime football man, Ernie Accorsi, as their consultant for hiring for the positions.
- General Management candidates include: Chris Ballard (Chiefs), Lake Dawson (Titans), Brian Gaine (Texans) and Ryan Pace (Saints)
- Head Coach candidates include: Dan Quinn (Seahawks), Mike Shanahan, Todd Bowles (Cardinals), Adam Gase (Broncos) and Doug Marrone
The Bears are interviewing Todd Bowles on Saturday, January 10th, and have told multiple sources that they expect to have a GM in place by that date. Chris Ballard is the leading candidate for the position, and will be interviewing with the team on Wednesday the 7th.
Does that mean Ballard will be walking away with an offer?
Ballard has been viewed as the defacto leader for the position. This is based on the 12 years he spent with the team in the scouting department from 2001 – 2011. While there is a belief that he could be the next “rockstar” GM, he has no experience and track record at the position.
Moreover, Eric DeCosta of the Ravens refused the request from the Bears for an interview and privately told people it was due to Ted Phillips still having a role with the team on the football side of the house. As was highlighted in an earlier article, Phillips has no football experience and is not a “football man.” He really is a numbers guy and should have no business in making any football decisions. While George McCaskey did state that he would look at Phillips’ role in the organization and redefine roles, if needed, it is still very unlikely that it will happen. To put Ted Phillips role in perspective, he was responsible for and used consulting firms to hire former General Mangers Jerry Angelo and Phil Emery. Their talent evaluation and drafting skills is what put the Chicago Bears in their current position.
Once a GM is hired, it will be expected that the Bears aggressively target their next head coach. Besides the list of candidates above, we all can be sure that the GM will have some of their own choices as well.
Personally, I am hoping for Todd Bowles. His hybrid schemes with Arizona can translate into the players that Chicago has on defense and will keep them competitive until they can invigorate the defense with young talent over the next few years (hopefully).
The biggest issue with Bowles is that Bruce Arians will have his ear, and while Emery is gone, the treatment and conditions that Emery put on Arians during the interview process are not forgotten. Those include: forcing Arians to do a mock press conference and telling Arians that certain assistant defensive coaches had to stay on the staff. Most interesting, Rod Marinelli consulted Emery on his coaching search back in 2013 and had Arians as the top candidate on his list, but Emery was set on hiring Trestman (thinking he was outsmarting the room) and the rest is history.
No matter what occurs, the Bears need to find a GM and coach that will not contribute to the stories listed above. Unlike previous years, the list of possible GM and coaching candidates are the same names other teams are interested in as well. These will not be “outside the box” hires. While that is a good sign for Bears fans, they must hope that the soap opera ends and the Bears can focus on making football decisions, drafting and winning games.