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From No Coach to a Full Staff in Three Days: Building the Team

How did the Bears go from having no head coach to nearly completing their staff in three days? We look at Phil Emery's approach.

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It'd be pretty easy to say that things got a little out of control for Phil Emery and the Chicago Bears after the season ended. I mean, the day after the season ended, Lovie Smith was fired, the search for the head coach was on and Lovie's staff assistants were in limbo, many notified they were not returning. After fourteen or sixteen candidates and just over two weeks of interviews and information gathering, Emery had his head coach, and today, three days later, Emery and Marc Trestman nearly had to fill out an entire staff but for a few notable exceptions.

So Trestman's staff so far consists of the few Lovie-Smith-Regime holdovers, a couple guys he worked with in Oakland and San Francisco, and quite a few of the guys he coached with in the CFL. It might be a bit of a buddy system, sure, but consider this.

Rod Marinelli elected not to come back to the Bears because he wanted a fresh start after Lovie Smith gave him (reluctantly for Marinelli) the defensive coordinator job. Mike Martz came to the Bears because he worked with Lovie on the "Greatest Show on Turf" Rams. In 2004 during the head coaching search, Terry Shea came to the Bears as Lovie Smith's first choice - Ron Turner eventually came back to the Bears in 2005 after having worked for the team in the 90s.

Hiring who you know isn't an unexpected thing in the NFL - it's what teams do, and it's why sometimes when a head coach leaves, some of "his guys" go with him. It's why after failing in Denver, Josh McDaniels returned to New England. The Bears may have been more prone to tradition and history than other organizations, but also consider this:

Put yourself in Marc Trestman's shoes. You're taking your first head coaching job in the NFL, and for better or worse you haven't been in the NFL in eight years. The one area where that would impact him would be in current NFL connections. Trestman might take recommendations, but really, while there are some risks here, Trestman isn't going to give people he knows a job just to give people he knows a job. He chose people that he's familiar with and won with at his stops in the league. That's not the worst thing in the world - he trusts these coaches, and that's fine.

But these connections are what allowed the Bears to fill out their entire coaching staff in three days. Part of Emery's interviewing process probably included thoughts on how his staffs would be filled out to facilitate this. With two guys that have such an attention to detail, it sure wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.

Emery and Marc Trestman had a plan they put together and so far have executed it as needed. And when Marinelli decides he wants to leave, they call up Mel Tucker and get him without missing a beat.

Are they moving too fast? Maybe, but as with Emery acquiring Brandon Marshall, picking Shea McClellin in the first round and trading up for Alshon Jeffery, they aggressively went after "their guys." All we can do is hope that "their guys" are the right guys.