We’re only 12 days removed from ending the Ryan Pace-Matt Nagy era. But because of how inevitable that split felt, that we’re going on 12 days without a replacement feels long. Toss in general Bears fan angst, another postseason without their favorite team playing, and seeing the Giants already making moves – tensions are a bit higher than we would otherwise expect.
As a general feeling, I think business will begin picking up once some of these teams with high-profile coach and GM candidates start losing and leaving the playoff picture. And yet, we’ll still need to be on high alert for moves from the rumor mill.
Such as the latest…
Is a Matt Eberflus-Morocco Brown Package Deal Plausible?
One of the biggest fears of hiring Bill Polian to essentially be a consultant in charge of the Bears’ hunt for change is that Hall of Fame executive would simply crank open his rolodex and try to piece together football’s version of an arranged marriage with folks in his network. This tweet from NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo won’t lessen those concerns:
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 22, 2022
This tweet has layers, especially since it is piggybacking off NFL media teammate Tom Pelissero. But at the heart of Garafolo’s tweet is buzz he is hearing about the possibility of a Matt Eberflus-Morocco Brown head coach-general manager tandem.
Eberflus, the Colts defensive coordinator, is already lined up for a second interview coming next Wednesday. Meanwhile, Brown, Indy’s Director of College Scouting, has his first interview set to go down on Monday. And because the two work under the same umbrella in Indianapolis, it makes sense that Polian (a former Colts exec) could want to package the two together. Then again, perhaps it is the possible familiarity between Brown and Eberflus fueling this fire. In either case, this feels like something to keep tabs on when next week begins. Especially with Eberflus receiving enough interest from the Jaguars to get a second interview.
Where Does Jim Caldwell Fit in the Mix?
ESPN’s Dan Graziano saying that he would bet on Jim Caldwell landing in Chicago irked some, especially when we shared it through the lens of the former coach turning down interviews elsewhere. But the framing of it has stuck with me for the better part of 24 hours. So, let’s re-visit it:
If I had to bet right now, I’d say Caldwell ends up in Chicago, where former Colts general manager Bill Polian is helping direct the search, though it’s obviously interesting that Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is scheduled for a second interview there.
I can’t read that line without saying: Well, technically, Graziano didn’t say he would bet on Caldwell being the Bears’ head coach. He just said he would bet on Caldwell ending up in Chicago. And that could be in any number of different roles. And now that arranged marriages are on our mind, it is easy to start piecing some things together in terms of hypotheticals.
For instance, what if a Brown-Eberflus tandem comes with Caldwell as an offensive coordinator. A defensive-leaning coach hire amplifies the importance of hiring an offensive-minded counterpart. Especially with quarterback Justin Fields’ development being of the utmost importance. Perhaps Caldwell is a better fit at this stage of his career. Remember, Caldwell, 67, hasn’t been coaching in the NFL the last two years due to health concerns. Maybe Caldwell lands in Chicago, as Graziano predicts — but with the “Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator” title?
There isn’t a need to go too far down that road just yet. Eberflus hasn’t even had a second interview with the Bears. But if Eberflus is the pick, it might be nice to have a top assistant with previous head-coaching experience. Just some food for thought.
The Khan Factor
Not to be left out of the discussion is the Omar Khan factor. NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero reports on the Bears’ upcoming busy week:
Busy week ahead for the #Bears:
Wednesday: #Colts DC Matt Eberflus second interview for HC
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 22, 2022
A first interview with Omar Khan is one to keep an eye on, especially since it is coming on the same day as Morocco Brown’s interview. What piques my interest here is that Brown and Khan have very different backgrounds. Where Brown’s history is rooted in scouting and player personnel, Khan has been on the football operations side with a focus on business/administration. Khan’s background features a stint with the Saints’ football ops department (1997-2001) and titles in Pittsburgh including “Football Administration Coordinator” (2001-11), “Director of Football Administration” (2011-16), and “Vice President of Football and Business Administration” (2016-present). In short, Khan and Brown are two very different candidates. But both carry a high level of intrigue.
If there is one thing I’ve come to expect from the Bears – cliche as it sounds – it is the unexpected. And seeing Khan and Brown interviewing on the same day puts the bug in my ear in which both candidates knock their respective interviews out of the park on Monday. So much so, it leaves Polian to suggest a restructuring of the Bears’ upper management. It doesn’t take too much of an imagination to envision how teaming Khan’s expertise in organization building from one of the best-run franchises in football with Brown’s player personnel background and building a front office from that point moving forward.
Maybe all of that is a pie-in-the-sky idea. But so was the concept of Chicago trading up to draft Justin Fields at this time last year.