The Chicago Bears have interviewed two candidates for their head coaching vacancy so far. Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase. They have an interview scheduled with Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles for Saturday and they hope to have a general manager in place before that meeting takes place.
The Bears have also requested to interview Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, but Kubiak will wait until the Ravens are eliminated from the playoffs before weighing his head coaching options.
Once a GM is hired there's another name to add to the coaching mix.
Doesn’t sound like Mike Shanahan will stop at three interviews. The #Bears, when they hire a GM, are expected to interview for HC him, too— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 6, 2015
Shanahan is an option that has been bandied about by some because of his ties to Jay Cutler, but he's already met with the San Francisco 49ers, the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders about their head coaching vacancies. Shanahan is in the mix because of his body of work, not because he helped Cutler to a Pro Bowl in 2008.
With Shanahan we know the type of offense he brings to the table. He's not afraid to run the ball, he will employ a zone blocking scheme and he utilizes a version of the West Coast Offense. But what about defense. The Chicago Bears have just seen two of the worst statistical season in the franchise's history, so how will he address the D if he's hired.
Shanahan has coached 20 years in the NFL, in those 20 seasons he has had a top 5 unit in terms of yards allowed on 4 different occasions. He's been in the bottom five 3 times. His defenses have ranked in the top half of the league 12 times in yards allowed, 10 times in points allowed and 12 times in takeaways.
The average finish of his defenses in yards allowed in his 20 years at head coach, spanning three teams, is 14th. In points allowed and takeaways it's 16th. So, he's had a few very good defenses, a few bad Ds and the rest of the time he was middle of the pack. Having a quality defensive coordinator ready to go will be something Bears brass will want to know if they go with the 62 year old Shanahan.
If Shanahan is looking for complete control of personnel, that won't happen in Chicago. The Bears plan to have a GM in place before interviewing him. They are meeting with Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson today and they will meet with Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard on Wednesday. Ballard is considered by many around league to be the favorite for the job, with some reporters already saying he has the gig in the bag.
This snippet is from ESPN's Michael C. Wright's article from earlier today.
"[Ballard] should be a lock unless they want to totally move on from the [former general manager Jerry] Angelo ties," said one scouting director who has worked directly with Ballard. "If [the Bears] don't hire Ballard, they would be making a big mistake. He knows players, but the underrated quality about Chris is the way he deals with people. He's second to none. One of the best evaluators around. Has deep knowledge because he has played college in the Big Ten (at Wisconsin), coached college (Texas A&M-Kingsville), and did both pro and college scouting. He's more qualified than anybody I have ever been around in this business."
If Ballard is hired, Wright's source believes that former Bears and current Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub will be a front runner for Chicago's head coaching job.
Ballard declined an opportunity to meet with the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Jets in regards to their openings at General Manager. Maybe Ballard spurned those teams because he knows he has the Bears gig, but a big reason Ballard turned down both requests is he wants full authority over the football side of things.
One reason Chris Ballard turned down Jets interview -- When he becomes a GM, wants full authority. That was far from certain in New York.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 5, 2015
#Chiefs exec Chris Ballard is not expected to interview for #Eagles top personnel job that Philly requested him for. Lack of final say hurts— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 6, 2015
It has also been reported that the Bears have no interest in hiring their former ball boy, Rex Ryan, as head coach. Ryan, former head coach of the New York Jets and son of legendary Chicago defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, is interviewing with the Atlanta Falcons today. If Ryan is still on the market after the Bears hire a GM, maybe there will be a change of heart.
A Bears GM interview sked of Gaine/Dawson today & Ballard/Pace tomorrow seems reasonable. We'll see if all the meetings actually go through— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) January 6, 2015
That would be Houston Texans Pro Personnel Director Brian Gaine and New Orleans Saints Director of Player Personnel Ryan Pace.
What are your thoughts on the search process so far?
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>As I said. RT <a href="https://twitter.com/Edwerderespn">@Edwerderespn</a> Despite success w/Jay Cutler & Brandon Marshall, I'm told <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bears?src=hash">#Bears</a> do not have Shanahan on list of HC prospects</p>— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) <a href="https://twitter.com/mikecwright/status/552881813014999040">January 7, 2015</a></blockquote>
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