This is the last Sunday with multiple football games of consequence we’ll get until next September. Enjoy these moments while you’re still able to do so.
• Bears fans are getting this offseason what they were asking for all season long:
Ownership got their first choice GM.
The GM got his first choice coach.
The coach for his first choice OC.
You don’t have to like any of the choices. That’s your prerogative. But the process that’s landed the Bears here has been executed to perfection.
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) January 30, 2022
• The process has been … good? Surprisingly good? Refreshingly acceptable? DBB’s Jeff Hughes hits the right notes here. Even if we don’t love the individual hires, there is something to be said about the process of getting to this point. The Bears are putting new eyes on old problems. And they are new eyes from different coaching and front office backgrounds. It might seem inconsequential, but it isn’t. Think about it…
• One lesson we should’ve taken away from the Pace-Nagy era is that a diversity of ideas is important in building a contender. Ironically, the Saints system in which Pace grew up in had that with Sean Payton (Eagles, Giants, Cowboys, and a bunch of college teams) run the gauntlet before becoming Super Bowl winning coach Sean Payton. Same for the Chiefs system Matt Nagy was climbing. Andy Reid was with the Packers and Eagles before elevating K.C. to new heights. And well before that, Reid had stops at BYU, San Francisco State, Northern Arizona, UTEP, and Missouri. This isn’t to say the Bears process guarantees future success. But having a variety of experiences to pull from should help matters moving forward.
• Yeah, this has me feeling good things:
— Brad Spielberger, Esq. (@PFF_Brad) January 29, 2022
• Don’t let the word analytics spook you. At its core, analytics is an all-encompassing word to describe a team exhausting any and all possible ways to make itself better. Good teams use analytics to find and create edges other teams can’t, don’t, or aren’t willing to unearth. Bad teams use analytics poorly, while the worst teams simply don’t use them at all. And that is preposterous to me. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to be better at something that makes your team better? That just doesn’t line up in my mind.
• Even though the Bears appear to have their offensive coordinator lined up, they did take on an interesting interview. The team was reportedly chopping it up with Sanjay Lal, the Jaguars receivers coach. NFL Network reporter Jane Slater tweeted it was for the offensive coordinator opening, but with Luke Getsy set to take that role, I wonder if the team was interviewing Lal with another position in mind. After all, the Bears will need a receivers coach on Getsy’s staff.
• Previously, Lal has been a receivers coach with the Cowboys (2018-19), Colts (2017), Bills (2015-16), Jets (2012-14), and Raiders (2009-11). He also has experience with the Seahawks (Senior Offensive Assistant, 2020), Cal (Offensive Assistant/Quarterbacks Coach), Saint Mary’s (QBs/Strength and Conditioning Coach). I’m not sure what is more intriguing — the diversity of stops on Lal’s résumé or that he has ties to free-agents-to-be D.J. Clark (Jacksonville) and Michael Gallup (Dallas).
• We have previously discussed the possibility of Rich Bisaccia leaving the Raiders to join the Bears if Vegas hires Josh McDaniels to be their head coach. But Bisaccia isn’t the only special teams coach reportedly on Chicago’s radar.
• Matt Lombardo (Fansided) tweets Giants special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey will interview for the Bears opening. No time and date has been set, but McGaughey is an interesting name to chop it up with from a Bears perspective. The Giants were 10th on Rick Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings in 2021, proving that one of football’s worst teams could still be good at something. And McGaughey has special teams coaching experience in the pros with the Panthers (2016-17), 49ers (2015), and Jets (2014), as well as in college with LSU (2011-13), Houston (2003-04). McGaughey was also born in Chicago, so perhaps there is some hometown pull to be had as far as that goes.
• Speaking of the Raiders, they’re about to be busy:
The #Raiders are expected to hire #Patriots de facto GM Dave Ziegler as their new GM, per, @MikeGarafolo and @TomPelissero. He was key in New England’s fast turnaround, now turns his attention to Las Vegas. The next step is slated to be the hire of Josh McDaniels as head coach.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 30, 2022
• Chicago can feel like the smallest big city in the world sometimes:
It’s hard to keep a hiring search secret in Chicago — just ask the Bears fan who shot the video of new GM Ryan Poles at O’Hare."
— Chicago Tribune Sports (@ChicagoSports) January 30, 2022
• In case you were wondering why the Bears were racking up interviewees (specifically, ones coaching in the postseason) early in their coach search process, this tweet should open your eyes:
Important procedural note: If the #Rams win tonight, the #Jaguars aren’t allowed to officially interview Kevin O’Connell until after the Super Bowl because they didn’t do a first interview during divisional playoff week. https://t.co/KUgBREROYd
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 30, 2022
• Simply put, the Jaguars are rooting for a 49ers win so they can interview Rams OC Kevin O’Connell sooner, rather than later. All because they didn’t do due diligence early in the process. Whoopsiedoodle.
• This isn’t the flex the Dolphins think it is:
In the 2020 NFL Draft, the #Dolphins had 3 first-round picks. They appeared willing to give up all of them and potentially more for the rights to the No. 1 pick — Joe Burrow. Instead, the #Bengals hung up the phone ☎️.
My story on what might have been: https://t.co/nGAwgg7ToJ
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 30, 2022
• We could’ve had Justin Herbert for nothing but a draft pick, but we were willing to trade the world for Joe Burrow just doesn’t add up in my mind. But different strokes for different folks, I guess.
• On the one hand, good for Luke Butkus getting a promotion (and presumably, a nice pay raise):
The Packers are promoting assistant O-line coach Luke Butkus to offensive line coach, according to a source. Butkus is the nephew of Bears legend Dick Butkus.
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) January 30, 2022
• But on the other hand, the Bears have to counter this move by hiring a Lombardi to work somewhere at Halas Hall. An eye for an eye … or something like that!
• I am open to the Bulls being open to adding a backup center:
Everyone and their mother knows the Bulls need help in the frontcourt, and rumor has it they could look to improve the backup center position at the deadline.
Any names you're interested in?
I listed a few below ⬇️https://t.co/QPPqar41Ch
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 30, 2022
• Now, here’s a name I thought we were done hearing about from a coaching standpoint:
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) January 30, 2022
• Christian Yelich hit .234 with a .392 slugging percentage in 722 plate appearances between his bad tweet and his apology. Baseball karma is real:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 29, 2022