Sports
Add news
News

How has the search for a new coach and GM been so far? And what does Bill Polian’s involvement mean? 4 questions for the Chicago Bears.

015
How has the search for a new coach and GM been so far? And what does Bill Polian’s involvement mean? 4 questions for the Chicago Bears.

The Chicago Bears have been busy since firing Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy on Jan. 10. The team is in the process of interviewing 15 general manager and 11 coaching candidates, and the lists could grow.

As the interview process continues, our team weighs in on four timely topics.

1. If I were the Bears, I would hire __________.

Brad Biggs: <mark class="hl_orange">The best combination of a general manager and coach they can get. </mark>

In doing so, they have to find two candidates who can work well together and have creative disagreement. The last thing the Bears want is to have a GM and coach who fall back on the word “collaboration” every time they’re seated together answering questions about the roster, moves that have been made and a philosophy for the team that expands beyond X’s and O’s. This means theylikely need to hire the GM first, which George McCaskey said was the most likely step in the process. That way, the new GM can have a hand in the process of selecting the coach even though it’s apparent Bill Polian is a central figure in this transition phase, maybe more so than Ernie Accorsi was in 2015. Whatever direction it takes them in, the Bears need the GM and coach prepared to work together with the understanding and expectation they’re not going to see eye to eye on everything. The Bears are at a critical stage with a young quarterback and a roster that is going to be retooled because of the number of pending free agents. It’s an understatement to say there’s a lot of heavy lifting to do.

Colleen Kane: <mark class="hl_orange">A GM with experience and an offensive coach to guide Justin Fields.</mark>

McCaskey declared last week that the new GM would report directly to him and would have “the ultimate football authority and oversight over the entire football operation.” Meanwhile, McCaskey has said he is “not a football evaluator.” So if that is the structure the Bears want, they might be better suited hiring a GM with more experience — either in years or with different teams or roles — and with the contacts to build an impressive support staff rather than somebody green who still is in the early stages of learning how to run a team. Former Houston Texans GM Rick Smith is the most interesting name with those credentials out there, but the Bears should be able to zero in on others with the proper grooming on their lengthy list of candidates.

As for the coach, I understand that there are defensive-minded candidates that could be successful with the Bears, so I’m not saying someone such as Matt Eberflus or Todd Bowles wouldn’t be a good hire. But as I think about the potential the Bears have with Fields — and the ongoing problems the team has had at fixing the quarterback position — it makes me lean toward taking a swing at the best possible offensive mind. Find the candidate who marries those skills with good leadership qualities and play-calling experience, and I would be sold. Byron Leftwich and Brian Daboll are two intriguing names to me.

Dan Wiederer: <mark class="hl_orange">Two undeniable leaders with a very specific vision plus connections around the league that will help them fortify their respective staffs in the front office and in the coaching realm.</mark>

I know you’re probably looking for two specific names here, two candidates projected to be slam-dunk hires. But with the Bears still in the first phase of interviewing at least 25 total applicants for both jobs, the list of possibilities and combinations remains too vast. Still, it cannot be emphasized enough just how important it is for the Bears to use this process to find a new GM who knows exactly what he wants, not only in a head coach who will work alongside him in a demanding rebuilding project but in the front office roles that will be significantly influential in establishing this team’s direction. Questions need to be asked in the interviewing process to learn about the vision and honest assessment of prospective candidates.

2. Bill Polian’s involvement in the Bears search is __________.

Biggs: <mark class="hl_orange">Interesting.</mark>

What strikes me is how the team has toggled back and forth between GM and coaching candidates in the process. McCaskey said the plan, unless the Bears meet with a coaching candidate they are completely blown away by, is to hire the GM first. This leads me to believe Polian not only is going to have major say in who the Bears select as GM, he also is going to have considerable input in the selection of the head coach. Why else would the Bears go through such a deep list of coaching candidates while conducting initial GM interviews?

Kane: <mark class="hl_orange">Important. But is it enough?</mark>

Polian has 32 years of NFL experience, led five teams that made Super Bowl appearances and hired Hall of Fame coaches Marv Levy and Tony Dungy. With those credentials, it very much seems as if this search is Polian’s show, even if McCaskey makes the final decision. Polian’s involvement, along with that of LaMar “Soup” Campbell to lend a player perspective and Tanesha Wade to lend her perspective as the team’s senior vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, all make sense for the Bears. I simply wonder if the Bears could have used one more person with football scouting or coaching experience in the room with them.

McCaskey was asked about whether the search could have used someone younger — Polian is 79 and was fired by the Indianapolis Colts after the 2011 season — and he referenced George Halas’ hiring of Mike Ditka when Halas was 87. Fair enough, but I don’t know if having one more football mind in the room would have hurt anything. Or maybe Campbell and Wade serve as that younger-perspective balance. Really, we won’t be able to judge the search team’s success for a while.

Wiederer: <mark class="hl_orange">Temporary.</mark>

Helpful but temporary. Polian united with the Bears some time during this season. (Conveniently, McCaskey couldn’t remember exactly when.) And after he helped guide McCaskey and team President and CEO Ted Phillips to a decision to fire Pace and Nagy, Polian agreed to stick around to steer the hiring process. His credentials and connections, his insight and input will be invaluable to the Bears. But again, a month from now, Polian likely willvanish from the Bears’ decision-making process, with almost no skin in the game as a new GM and a new coach embark on a new journey at Halas Hall.

It all circles back to a question the Bears have never really provided an adequate answer to: If they acknowledge themselves that they need guidance from a consultant with a deep football background to help them make the biggest decisions in the oversight of building a championship football team, then why is there such a strong resistance to finding a younger, non-retired Polian-type to handle those duties full time in a role similar to president of football operations.

3. The Bears’ GM and coach searches so far have been __________.

Biggs: <mark class="hl_orange">Thorough, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.</mark>

History shows that teams usually botch the hiring of the head coach — just look at the turnover rate around the league — and teams that strike first don’t stand out as the success stories. So with the Bears still working their way through initial meetings with GM and coaching candidates, one can hope this means they are leaving no stone unturned and no question unanswered in the process.

Kane: <mark class="hl_orange">Slow.</mark>

That’s how it goes when there are at least 25 candidates to fill the two positions and the Bears check off only a couple a day.

McCaskey promised a “thorough, diligent and exhaustive” search, and the Bears have requested interviews with many of the top names to fill both jobs. That they can do the initial sessions over video conference call certainly helps the Bears logistically to keep such a long list, especially as several of the coaching candidates are with their teams in the playoffs.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing to take the time to speak with so many, as long as the Bears have a good process to narrow down their perspective hires and can do it before their ideal candidate is lured elsewhere. But of course I’m as impatient as Bears fans to see who it’s going to be.

Wiederer: <mark class="hl_orange">Comprehensive.</mark>

Thorough. Perhaps a bit wayward. Consider the reality that, according to reports, Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Eberflus has been promised a second interview for the head coaching job before the Bears have hired a GM. And not only before the Bears have hired a GM but before they have come anywhere close to finishing their first-phase interviews for that job. McCaskey stressed last week that his preference was to hire a GM before moving on to hire a coach. But if that was the preference, why haven’t the Bears accelerated their efforts to get the GM position filled before doing so much extensive work exploring head coaching candidates? At some point, after the two hires are made, McCaskey, Phillips and Polian will have to provide more insight into the processes they used and the strategy that guided them. At this stage, the list of questions that need to be answered is growing.

4. The Bears interviewing coaches alongside GMs is

___

Biggs: <mark class="hl_orange">A sign that Polian is likely going to have a strong voice in the selection of the team’s next coach. </mark>

Polian had a terrific track record picking coaches when he was a GM, working with Levy, Dom Capers, Dungy and Jim Caldwell. That bodes well for the Bears involving the 79-year-old Hall of Famer. It also means the Bears are being very careful to ensure that they end up with what they believe is the best combination.

Kane: <mark class="hl_orange">Probably fine — for now.</mark>

Hiring a coach before a GM is not a great idea because it could limit who the Bears are able to bring in for the GM position. But I don’t see a problem with the Bears going through the first round of interviews with coaches before the GM is in place. Such a process can help inform their interviews with GMs and help them determine which people are going to mesh best. And with seven other teams conducting coach interviews, it doesn’t hurt to do work to entice a hot candidate to join them.

However, I do wonder about them setting up second interviews — as reportedly has happened with Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus — before they have a GM in place. Don’t they want the coach’s future direct boss to be there for the more serious inquiry? And what if the GM has a couple of coaches he also would like the Bears to consider?

Wiederer: <mark class="hl_orange">Confusing.</mark>

As stated above, it just seems to be a little out of whack with the organization’s own stated priorities. Listen, there is little harm in interviewing prospective coaches before a GM is hired. But it also might be an inefficient use of time, particularly with such extensive candidate lists for both roles. If the Bears are intent on giving their next GM full autonomy over the football operations, then that GM must be afforded an opportunity to see the coaching search in his way, targeting candidates with his own interviewing process. Which means identifying the new GM has to be the most urgent priority. Hopefully by this time next week, the Bears will have found a path to the end of that search and will be ready to intensify their hunt for a new coach.

Biggs: A sign that Polian is likely going to have a strong voice in the selection of the team’s next coach. Polian had a terrific track record picking coaches when he was a GM, working with Levy, Dom Capers, Dungy and Jim Caldwell. That bodes well for the Bears involving the 79-year-old Hall of Famer. It also means the Bears are being very careful to ensure that they end up with what they believe is the best combination. Kane: Probably fine — for now. Hiring a coach before a GM is not a great idea because it could limit who the Bears are able to bring in for the GM position. But I don’t see a problem with the Bears going through the first round of interviews with coaches before the GM is in place. Such a process can help inform their interviews with GMs and help them determine which people are going to mesh best. And with seven other teams conducting coach interviews, it doesn’t hurt to do work to entice a hot candidate to join them. However, I do wonder about them setting up second interviews — as reportedly has happened with Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus — before they have a GM in place. Don’t they want the coach’s future direct boss to be there for the more serious inquiry? And what if the GM has a couple of coaches he also would like the Bears to consider? Wiederer: Confusing. As stated above, it just seems to be a little out of whack with the organization’s own stated priorities. Listen, there is little harm in interviewing prospective coaches before a GM is hired. But it also might be an inefficient use of time, particularly with such extensive candidate lists for both roles. If the Bears are intent on giving their next GM full autonomy over the football operations, then that GM must be afforded an opportunity to see the coaching search in his way, targeting candidates with his own interviewing process. Which means identifying the new GM has to be the most urgent priority. Hopefully by this time next week, the Bears will have found a path to the end of that search and will be ready to intensify their hunt for a new coach.

Загрузка...

Comments

Комментарии для сайта Cackle
Загрузка...

More news:

For The Win (usatoday.com)
For The Win (usatoday.com)

Read on Sportsweek.org:

Other sports