Game recognize game:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 3, 2018
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune presents the argument for Urlacher to earn first-ballot Hall of Fame status and gets an endorsement from Aaron Rodgers, a long-time Bears nemesis/tormentor/rival who often lined up against Urlacher in the NFL’s longest-running rivalry.
Despite Ray Lewis’ looming presence on the ballot, Urlacher is deserving for first-ballot nomination because of what he did to revolutionize the position. There’s no football argument to be made against either getting in right away, though. Hopefully, the Hall’s voters get it right and induct both.
- Believe it or not, the Bears have some real attractive selling points for potential head coach candidates. A world-class city, a soon-to-be renovated practice facility that will be a state-of-the-art fixture, a top-10 defense, and a quarterback with a ton of upside. And yet, that’s not quite the selling point George McCaskey has in mind. Off the bat, McCaskey mentions the Bears’ presence as a “legacy franchise” when asked about his pitch to candidates, and that didn’t sit well with Dan Wiederer, who along with Chicago Tribune teammate Rich Campbell wonder if the Bears have the right vision and sales pitch for the team’s coaching search.
- Meanwhile, John Mullin of NBC Sports believes the Bears should re-think their angle on their sales pitch to coaching prospects. Instead of selling their past, Mullin argues the Bears should be selling candidates on the opportunity of building their own legacy. Selling a better tomorrow is probably more enticing to these candidates than the forgotten glory of the past.
- I’m not necessarily bothered by McCaskey or Ted Phillips joining GM Ryan Pace to head coach interviews like many others are. The team chairman and president have a right to know what they’re getting into and paying for with a potential candidate, even if their perspective is of minimal value compared to that of the general manager. And as long as Pace is truly making all the final calls, it should work out just fine. Full stop.
- At least this coaching search has a different feel to it than the one from 2015 that resulted in John Fox. Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times explores exactly how it will look different. For starters, Ernie Accorsi is nowhere near the action. Also, Pace will surely surpass the four candidates he interviewed back in 2015. In fact, he’ll pass that number by the end of the week. After interviewing Vic Fangio on Wednesday, Pace is already scheduled to meet with Vikings coordinators George Edwards and Pat Shurmur, Eagles Quarterbacks Coach John DeFilippo, and Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels over the weekend and beyond.
- A sixth candidate, Panthers Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks, could be waiting in the wings. It was reported early in the week the Bears will request an interview with Wilks, but Patrick Finley of the Sun-Times reports the team hasn’t made a formal request to interview him.
- Kyle Fuller’s ranking on this list of lockdown cornerbacks based on Pro Football Focus’ data tracking the lowest catch rate on contested passes is yet another reason the Bears should be very serious about re-signing Fuller to a long-term deal:
The lowest catch rates on contested passes from 2017 pic.twitter.com/NB0YTayPhr
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 4, 2018
- Dowell Loggains has left the Bears to join the Miami Dolphins where he’ll serve as Adam Gase’s offensive coordinator. However, Loggains might not be the only Bears assistant in line for a new job elsewhere. Mike Klis covers the Denver Broncos for 9News and names Curtis Modkins as the first known candidate for the team’s open running backs coach position. Modkins served in that capacity for the Bears in 2017 after being the offensive coordinator under Chip Kelly and the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. He also spent time as a running backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, and Detroit Lions, while also spending some time as the Buffalo Bills’ offensive coordinator.
- The Packers have lost a defensive assistant to the college ranks. Tom Silverstein reports Defensive Quality Control Assistant Tim McGarigle is taking a job with Northwestern University. McGarigle was a linebacker at Northwestern and was a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik and Dick Butkus awards as a senior in 2005.
- As for the Packers’ search for a GM to replace the re-assigned Ted Thompson, Silverstein writes Russ Ball is a “good bet” to be the guy. Ball is currently the Vice President of Football Administration/Player Finance. So, while he isn’t necessarily a “football guy” he’s a highly respected front office member who is a front-runner for the job. He won’t be alone, though, as Eliot Wolf – the son of former Packers GM Ron Wolf, who was the architect of the team’s Super Bowl XXXI winner – will interview for the job, according to Ian Rapoport.
- And finally, Winston Moss, who is currently the Packers Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Coach, is the latest in the line of candidates for the Detroit Lions head coach position. Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper rounds up the list of known candidates and interviewees including Mike Vrabel (Texans DC), Pat Shurmur (Vikings OC), Matt Patricia (Patriots DC), Steve Wilks (Panthers DC), and their own coordinators on both sides of the ball in Jim Bob Cooter and Teryl Austin.