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The Bears' list of interview candidates is a long and impressive one, but could it bite the Bears in the end? How can timing throw off the Bears' head-coaching search?
Let's run down the list of interviews and candidates for the Bears' head-coaching position:
- Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong
Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy (although not according to ESPN, who mention the interview as a "get-to-know-you" interview instead of as an "interview for a head coaching job.")
- Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan
- Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis
- Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements
- Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael
- Colts offensive coordinator/interim head coach Bruce Arians
Then there's the possibility of college coaches entering the fray, such as Chip Kelly of Oregon, Penn State's Bill O'Brien (nope), and Alabama's
snake oil salesman Nick Saban, as well as the possibilities of TV personalities Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher both "available" (though Gruden's been rather anti-"leaving the booth"), former head coaches such as Norv Turner, the Bears' own special teams' coordinator Dave Toub, and even Mike Holmgren. Put bluntly, there's so many coaching candidates and such a number of interviews that I suspect Phil Emery doesn't go one morning without asking the mailman in the morning or the checkout clerk at Starbucks if they're interested in the Bears' head-coaching position.
But are the Bears and Emery trying to do too much in too little time? Emery hopes to have the head-coaching spot filled by January 19, before the East-West Shrine Game, which seems a little on the optimistic side. But four of those seven interviewees are playoff contenders, which means that if Emery decides his man is one of those four, and that team makes a deep playoff run, the Bears could be coachless until February - and that's if the coaching candidate chooses the Bears, too.
One of the risks the Bears also run of doing detailed due diligence with each candidate is one of the other five teams (with Andy Reid going to Kansas City all but certain) making an immediate offer to one of the Bears' favored candidates. McCoy is a much-tossed-around name with no shortage of suitors, and I expect more teams to come after Arians after the job he did this past season with the Colts while Chuck Pagano underwent treatment.
The tricky thing is identifying one candidate is better than another. If the Bears decide they have a candidate, and he's still in the playoffs, I have a sneaking suspicion that "deadline" will just kind of fade away. But if their guy is available and the Bears identify him as superior to the other candidates, the quicker the Bears move on him, the better.