What’s going on with Phil Emery’s coaching search?

By
Updated: January 9, 2013
General manager Phil Emery is being extremely thorough in his search for Chicago's next head coach.

General manager Phil Emery is being extremely thorough in his search for Chicago’s next head coach.  Maybe he should interview some of the regulars here at WCSN.

Calling all candidates

Want to be the next head coach of the Chicago Bears? Fax in your resume to general manager Phil Emery and you probably have a pretty good shot landing an interview.

In all seriousness, Emery hasn’t interviewed the entire planet (yet); it just seems like it. He has definitely cast his net far and wide, though — not just in the NFL, but also in other football leagues. The list of coaches he has either interviewed or requested permission to interview currently sits at 13 and may well rise further. And these are only candidates currently employed by other teams. It does not include any former head coaches, such as Bill Cowher, Emery might have contacted discreetly.

It’s obvious that Emery is looking to take the Bears in a new direction. Former head coach Lovie Smith had a defensive background, a trait that he shares with only one of the current candidates: legendary Bears linebacker and erstwhile San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary. Seven candidates are employed as offensive coordinators, which makes sense, given Emery’s assertion that Lovie was fired for his failure to establish a capable offense in Chicago. Four are special teams coordinators, including Dave Toub, who has been Chicago’s special teams coach since 2004. Rounding out the list is Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman, a Canadian Football League bigwig who was an NFL offensive coordinator from 1989 to 2003.

Are some candidates, such as Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, being interviewed as a way to gather intelligence on rival teams?

Are some candidates, such as Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, being interviewed as a way to gather intelligence on rival teams?

Getting antsy

Many fans are starting to worry that Emery is getting too far-reaching in his coaching search, particularly when names like Singletary* come up. Singletary was an utter failure in San Francisco, as evidenced by the fact that the same team that consistently went 6-10 under him morphed into a Super Bowl contender the instant he walked out the door. They want a few finalists to be named, final interviews to be conducted, and a coach to be hired soon.

*Take heart, Bears fans of WCSN. Rumors are that Singletary is not a serious candidate and was only interviewed out of respect for his legacy within the organization from his playing days, per the request of the team ownership.

It is likely that Emery is at least partially using these interviews as fact-finding missions about rival teams; he has already talked to coaches from seven different NFC teams, including two divisional foes and five of the six playoff teams this year. Also, Emery is possibly biding his time and/or trying to disguise his true intentions. This could especially be true if he is favoring a coordinator from a team still in the playoffs, as five of the candidates are. NFL rules limit the interaction he can have with these coaches until after their teams’ seasons have ended.

The short list

Here is my semi-educated guess at the five most likely candidates to be the next Chicago head coach, and what each brings to the table.

Bruce Arians did an excellent job in Indianapolis this year.

Bruce Arians did an excellent job in Indianapolis this year.

1a) Bruce Arians, offensive coordinator, Indianapolis Colts.  Arians has a long history as a successful offensive coach in the NFL and is especially noted for mentoring successful quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Andrew Luck early in their careers. Arians’ experience with Roethlisberger—a mobile, temperamental quarterback who is used to operating behind a shaky offensive line and is willing to take chances—is especially enticing for Chicago and Jay Cutler. Arians also has some limited experience as a head coach, going 9-3 in 2012 while head coach Chuck Pagano was being treated for leukemia.

1b) Mike McCoy, offensive coordinator, Denver Broncos.  McCoy has been Denver’s offensive coordinator since 2008, devising three very different and successful offenses under quarterbacks Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow, and Peyton Manning. His ability to mold an offensive scheme to fit the strengths of his personnel is arguably McCoy’s most appealing trait and one that would be well-received for a Chicago offense whose previous coordinators have failed to even try this.

Rick Dennison has experience working with Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall.

Rick Dennison has experience working with Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall.

3) Rick Dennison, Offensive Coordinator, Houston Texans.  Dennison has been Houston’s offensive coordinator since 2009, where he has built a successful offense using similar personnel to what the Bears currently have, albeit with a significantly better offensive line. He could bring that offense, built around a strong running game, one dominant receiver, and play action, to Chicago. He worked with Cutler and wide receiver Brandon Marshall as Denver’s offensive coordinator from 2006-2008.

4) Tom Clements, offensive coordinator, Green Bay Packers.  Clements has been an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in the NFL for over 15 years, helping to tutor five different Pro Bowl quarterbacks in Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Green Bay. He has been in Green Bay since 2006 and was instrumental in the development of Aaron Rodgers. Hiring Clements would have the added appeal of detracting from a division rival, but Clements does not have proven success calling plays, as head coach Mike McCarthy takes care of those duties for Green Bay, and is therefore a bigger risk to be in over his head than the three candidates above him.

5) Dave Toub, special teams coordinator, Chicago Bears. Toub has been Chicago’s special teams coordinator since 2004, overseeing a unit that has consistently been among the best in the NFL. He is extremely popular in Chicago’s locker room and would be a well received by the players. Of course, this could work against Toub, too. Emery just got rid of a coach who was popular with the players, and is likely looking to bring in a fresh face from outside the organization to establish a new culture.

Getting it right

As things stand now, I would be surprised to see anyone outside of the first three choices be named as Chicago’s next coach. I have not heard reports of any of the interviews yet, so it is certainly possible that one of the lesser-known candidates will be extremely impressive in his interview and emerge as the surprise choice. Given Emery’s apparent propensity to interview anyone and everyone, it may well be that Chicago’s next head coach has not yet been contacted.

Could a surprise candidate like Marc Trestman of the CFL emerge as Chicago's next head coach?

Could a surprise candidate like Marc Trestman of the CFL emerge as Chicago’s next head coach?

The bottom line is that finding the right guy is far more important than hiring a popular choice or getting someone quickly. Emery has a plethora of options in front of him; paring them down to a short list and then eventually to one candidate is sure to be a painstaking process. The best teams in the NFL are those that can maintain consistency in their front office and coaching staff, and Emery has a chance now to hire a coach who can partner with him to set Chicago up for long-term success.

About the author(s)

Johnathan Wood is a passionate fan of the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, and Northwestern Wildcats. He enjoys being the beat writer for the Bears at Water Cooler Sports and being obnoxiously unapologetic about how his favorite teams are more awesome than yours. Feel free to email him at [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions. Connect with .

446 comments
natradamus
natradamus moderator

I am tempted to send Emery a  resume emphasizing my madden game planning and impressive win streaks against very dedicated gamers

Home of the Braves
Home of the Braves

I hate hockey, but I felt kinda bad when the Thrashers left. I can only imagine the feeling if the Falcons, Braves, or Hawks leave

RBB-DGAF
RBB-DGAF

any niners fans here? ? ? ?

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

Seattle placed their normal kicker on IR.  That leaves Longwell as THE man there.  This should be interesting.  

Reginald Hopelessness
Reginald Hopelessness moderator

"BREAKING NEWS: The Sacramento Kings have been SOLD to a Seattle group!"

ARodge is the GOAT... and you Favre-ing know it
ARodge is the GOAT... and you Favre-ing know it

I find this consistently hilarious:

People who want to confine discussions of championships to the "Super Bowl Era"

Now, we have whippersnappin' upstarts who want to discuss Superbowls, but arbitrarily confine the discussion to "...since 1995.."

pffttt!!

LaCW
LaCW

Pitt, GB, and NE kinda dominate their divisions. 

Reginald Hopelessness
Reginald Hopelessness moderator

since 1995 Season. SB teams for each division as they stand now:

NFCN - 4 (GB 3, CHI)

NFCS - 4 (NO, ATL, TB, CAR)

NFCE - 5 ( NYG 3, PHI, DAL)

NFCW - 4 (ARI, STL2, SEA))

AFCN - 5 (PIT 4, BAL)

AFCS - 3 (IND 2, TEN)

AFCE - 6 (NE 6)

AFCW - 3 (DEN 2, OAK)



LMFAO AFCE

G & G
G & G moderator

@Pugs R Kewl My "Vuvuzela" will look great in her mouth

IFYOUKNOWWHATIMEAN

natradamus
natradamus moderator

I had a 13 game winstreak at the Shaubet St. pit,  that is much more impressive than any accomplishments earned in the CFL

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

@SDL Brent Musberger: "AJ McCarron's beautiful girlfriend is preparing to hold my massive schlong in her mouth."

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

@Miracle Man the true irony?  Head of the relocation committee, who decides how much they'll have to pay to relocate, is Clay Bennett.


Yes, the same Clay Bennett who bought Seattle and moved them to OKC.

RBB-DGAF
RBB-DGAF

@SDL It's all perspective, I might die and never count SBs at all LOL.

Reginald Hopelessness
Reginald Hopelessness moderator

@SDL 


i just picked the time frame that one of the SB teams came into existence. thats all.