It felt telling when the Bears didn’t announce official meetings with any prospective head coach or general manager candidates. Almost as if it was a sign that this thing was ready to turn a corner. Not so much in terms of getting something solid locked in with a candidate, after all, there were still interviews left to be made. But instead, not getting a fresh announcement felt like the team was saying it was ready to pick up the pace.
And yet, there’s this unsettling feeling that hit me while reading this report:
The #Bears are set to request 2nd interviews with 2 more candidates — #Cowboys DC Dan Quinn & ex-#Lions coach Jim Caldwell, per me and @MikeGarafolo. #Colts DC Matt Eberflus has his 2nd interview on Wednesday, per @TomPelissero. #Saints DC Dennis Allen is interviewing tomorrow.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 24, 2022
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweets the Bears are lining up second interviews for head-coach candidates Dan Quinn and Jim Caldwell. Quinn (the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator) and Caldwell (a former head coach who has been out of the league the last two years) join Colts DC Matt Eberflus as getting that honor. Quinn, Caldwell, and Eberflus are now first in line to pitch themselves as the right fit to lead Chicago’s football team moving forward. And, frankly, this is all equal parts flummoxing and underwhelming.
Not only are we looking at a generally uninspiring collection of names, but also doing so before putting a general manager in place. It is absurd to think that the Bears can schedule second interviews with coach candidates when the person responsible on top of them in the organizational pecking order isn’t even around to do them. Why are the Bears even scheduling second interviews with coaches who aren’t going anywhere?
This is what the NFL is trending toward:
Every teams’ top priority should be building pass offenses that can keep up.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) January 24, 2022
Meanwhile, the Bears are setting up interviews with three candidates (Eberflus, Quinn, Allen) with heavy defensive backgrounds. The one offensive-leaning head coach candidate they’re chatting with has been out of the league for two years. And just one minority candidate. This is bothersome. I felt as if getting a different set of eyes on this situation would lead it away from some of the organization’s past issues. Instead, it feels like we’re entering very Bears-y territory.
Don’t get me wrong. I know the splashy hire isn’t always the one that works out best. But this is a genuinely uninspiring group of candidates getting second interviews. Quinn is a tremendous defensive coordinator who has prior head coaching experience. He also must interview well if he is getting more time with the Bears. I suppose you better be a killer interviewee when you have to explain your role overseeing a blown 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. Caldwell hasn’t been coaching in the NFL since 2019 and left his last job in the league due to health concerns. And at age 67, there are serious concerns about how he fits as the league skews younger. Eberflus is the most intriguing candidate of the bunch. But the roots of that might be in that Eberflus has a blank canvas as a head coach when compared to the others.
Stepping back from it and trying to see it from a bigger perspective, and the Bears appear to be setting course on a new path while trying to follow old maps and out-dated software. And that is such a problem.