There has been much speculation as to what is going to happen at Halas Hall over the next few weeks and months. If we believe everything that has been said/written, then there could be a total house cleaning with the coaching staff, or there will just be a few changes made.
Up until last week's loss at Cleveland, I felt that Coach Matt Eberflus was safe, but because of how the Beras lost that game, my feeling is different.
I now feel that it's better than a 50/50 chance that the whole coaching staff will be let go following the Green Bay game.
The problem with that is the Chicago Bears have to "start over" yet again. A new coaching staff means new schemes on both sides of the ball. When I see that, the first thing I wonder about is what current players fit and what players don't. One thing is certain: coaches want players who fit the scheme they want to run.
On the offensive side of the ball, it's easier to keep the same players and fit them into a new scheme. On defense though, the type of player the scheme needs can change dramatically. Because the Bears have drafted and signed free agents to fit the current scheme, it would be a good bet that Ryan Poles hires a coach who would want to run a similar style of defense that the Bears currently run. It doesn't have to be exact but rather requires the same type of players.
If, in fact, the Bears do change the whole coaching staff, that will more than likely take up a good part of the month of January. That also means that it's a good bet that Poles will miss both the East-West Shrine Bowl and the Senior Bowl while he is involved with putting a coaching staff together.
Even if that is the case, the rest of the Bears' personal staff will be at these games doing the work that needs to be done. At All-Star games, it's not about how a player performs as they already have multiple seasons of tape on the player. It's more about interviews and getting close to certain players that they have an interest in. Rest assured, the proper work for the Draft will get done, as will veteran free agency preparation.
I'm not about to get into who may or may not be a good candidate to be the next Head Coach if one is needed. Having been involved in coaching searches before, I know what a difficult task it is. Each fan will have his favorite as will print media and talk radio personalities. Their opinion will mean nothing.
Even though there will be three people who must sign off on the person, and those three are Chairman George McCaskey, President Kevin Warren and General Manager Ryan Poles, the main voice in the decision will be Ryan Poles. Why? Because he must work with the person on a day-to-day basis. Their philosophy and their vision of what the team should look like have to be the same. The working relationship between the General Manager and the Head Coach is the most important relationship in the building. For that reason, the fan or media favorite might not be Poles' favorite.
I have had to work for a club when the relationship between Coach and General Manager did not align, and it was pure hell for four years.
In 1993, when I worked for the New York Giants, the Giants needed a new Head Coach. Being that was 30 years ago, I don't remember all the particulars as to who the candidates were, but one of the finalists was former Denver Head Coach Dan Reeves. Reeves had had much success for most of his time at Denver and was a hot name that cycle.
When Reeves was at Denver, while he didn't have the GM title, he was the man in charge of all football operations. He was the Head Coach, General Manager and Player Personal Director. Everything in the building revolved around what Reeves wanted.
In New York at the time, the General Manager was the late George Young, who was one of the great General Managers of all time. With the Giants, George had total control of the Draft and the roster. As part of the interview process, George had to know that he would be able to work with Reeves, and Reeves would accept that he no longer was in total control. To get the job, Reeves said that all he wanted to do was coach and was happy to work under George. Once Reeves ended up with the job, things changed. Reeves challenged everything. In fact, our pre-draft meetings, which are supposed to be fun, were like a war. During player cutdowns at the end of camp, it was another war. It was a relationship that made life at the Giants offices very difficult. Not difficult for just the coaches and personnel department but the entire building. There was always extreme tenseness around. Trust me, it wasn't fun getting up and going to work.
With the Bears, Poles must make sure that he will be able to work closely and in agreement with the man he hires. During my time with the Bears, General Manager Jerry Angelo and Head Coach Lovie Smith had a wonderful relationship. They weren't just General Manager and Head Coach, but they were friends. The same type of relationship existed between Lovie and just about everyone in the building. That is one of the reasons why we had success fairly quickly and got to a Super Bowl.
If, in fact, a coaching change is made, I don't envy Ryan Poles. The decision he makes will be the most important decision of his life to date. Unlike two years ago when Mat Eberflus was hired, Poles will be part of the entire process. If you remember, two years ago, Poles was hired, and then shortly thereafter 'Flus was hired. Poles was given a list of finalists. This time, he will make that list.