The last few weeks haven't been very good from a P.R. standpoint for the Bears. They've been painted as a bride jilted at the alter, time and time again. The perception through the media, and even here on WCG has been that Jerry Angelo, Ted Phillips, and Lovie Smith are searching for a coaching staff with no plan what so ever. And that they are on their, what is it now, fourth or fifth choice? That could be the case, and I'm sure the Negative Nancy's will be out in force lambasting the coaching search (or lack thereof!), but if you look deeper into the hunt what do we really see?
Yes the Bears are giving the "due diligence" speech. And yes, I'm just as sick of it as most of you are, but I really doubt these guys are lying about their process. They must have a plan, and even with as slow as it seems, they will stick to their plan.
Perception #1 - The Bears lost out on their #1 choice for offensive coordinator, Jeremy Bates.
But the Reality is: Bates was their initial target because USC was finished playing and they even were as far as having an interview scheduled to meet with Bates. But. As soon as Pete Carroll jumped to Seattle, Bates had his "in" back to the NFL, and in a coaching environment he was comfortable with. Bad Luck Bears.
Had Carroll not left USC, who knows what could have come out of the Bates interview. Bates wanted to get back to the pros, and with the familiarity and friendship he has with Jay Cutler, he very well could have been hired.
Perception #2 - The Bears were thwarted in an attempt to interview their second choice for offensive coordinator, Tom Clements.
But the Reality is: The Bears reached out to Green Bay because they lost in the wildcard round of the playoffs, which is the rules of the NFL. They had to wait until the Packers were done. They denied the interview so the Bears moved on.
Perception #3 - The Bears interviewed their third choice in Ken Zampese of the Bengals.
But the Reality is: The Bears had to wait for the Bengals to be eliminated from playoff contention before asking permission to interview Zampese. And I'm sure they'd rather explore possibilities with Clements (since he has been around the NFC North) first. But that doesn't necessarily make him a better choice. Had they talked to Zampese before inquiring about Clements really makes no difference.
Perception #4 -The Bears lost out of a chance to hire Perry Fewell for defensive coordinator.
But the Reality is: Ok, I'll give you this one... Reports were he was weighing offers from both the Giants and Bears. And while there were no specific contract numbers that were floated out there, my guess is New York had a better offer on the table.
But in thinking about which job would have better forwarded the career of Perry Fewell, you have to think he made the right choice. Working in a different system than the Tampa 2 will only make Fewell that much more of an attractive head coaching candidate when he receives another opportunity. It was the right decision for his future.
Perception #5 - The Bears are putting the cart before the offensive horse by interviewing and hiring position coaches before hiring an offensive coordinator.
But the Reality is: Positions coaches teach technique. Getting off the line and into your pattern as a tight end is the same in any offense. The routes are more or less the same. Foot and hand placement in blocking varies little from coach to coach. Even if the Bears bring in an offensive coordinator that favors a zone blocking scheme, it's still man up blocking, the o-line will just get to their reads in a different way.
Mike Tice was a great hire, he was available, he and the Bears saw a great fit, and they got it done.
Perception #6 - Interviewing Rod Chudzinski for O.C. makes him the fourth option.
But the Reality is: The Bears had to wait until San Diego was eliminated from the playoffs to even seek permission to talk with him. Had S.D. not lost to the Jets he never would have interviewed when he did. For all we know he tops their wish list.
Perception #7 - Mike Martz is the fall back plan if no one wants to come to Chicago.
But the Reality is: This is a tough call, because I've seen conflicting reports on whether they have or haven't reached out to Martz, or whether they have or haven't spoken to Martz about becoming O.C. I'll tell you this though, if the Bears end up hiring Martz and give us the B.S. about him being their top candidate all along then we should all picket Halas Hall. I'm sure he's a name they have in mind, but I really hope it doesn't come down to Martz.