Some Bears fans and a handful of media are growing restless as the search for the next Bears head coach enters its second week and the list of candidates that have been or will be interviewed surpasses a dozen. The quantity — and diversity — of interviewees concerns some who speculate that general manager Phil Emery might not know what he’s doing or looking for.
I have no problem with where the coaching search stands at this point, nor do I feel that the number of applicants or length of time before a candidate is hired will be any kind of hinderance as the franchise moves froward post-Lovie Smith.
First, Emery is doing his due diligence in casting a wide net and gaining a perspective of all the different philosophies that are out there. The narrower the list of candidates, the greater the risk that Emery faces in hiring a bust. Conversely, by interviewing many coaches, Emery has a better chance of finding that right candidate who possesses the right qualities that fit the organization. Emery can gain an understanding of what different coaches are trying to do around the league and he can tailor the right philosophy to his personnel and the vision he has for the franchise.
Secondly, I have a staunch belief that Emery already has his preferred candidate in mind and that it’s probably a coach that is part of a team that remains in the playoffs to date. By interviewing many candidates and stretching out the interview process, Emery doesn’t run the risk of tipping his hand and letting other franchises currently seeking a head coach know who he is pursuing. If the interview process stopped after a handful of candidates and then Emery waited for his preferred choice’s team to be eliminated from the playoffs, he would draw more criticism for wasting time on the search.
It’s my belief that Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is the leading candidate at this point, but that’s just a guess. Denver is expected to do quite well in the postseason, perhaps even reach the Super Bowl. If that were to happen, the Bears would be unable to hire him until the first week of February.
If not McCoy, Emery might have a candidate in mind whose team is still playing. And by continuing the interview process, he may be waiting out other teams to see if they hire their candidates first. So far, the Bears have not missed out on any candidates on their list. The Bills have hired Doug Marrone and the Chiefs scooped up Andy Reid. Neither candidate was a target for the Bears — at least not publicly.
It’s important Bears fans have patience and ride this search out. Contrary to what some members of the media might say, there is nothing embarrassing or disappointing about the search that Emery is conducting. Even if this search stretches into a third or fourth week, I’m sure we’ll all find out who the finalists are in that time period and I’m confident Emery will get the right man for the job. He has my trust at this point.