Could Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson be there for the Bears at No. 20?

With the Senior Bowl just taking place on Saturday, I figured it would be a great time to take our second look (here's our first) at what players some draftniks think the Bears could select in the 2013 NFL Draft (which begins April 25th). Additionally, I'll include the five players each draftnik has being selected before and after the Bears' first round pick, so we can get a nice idea of what players could be available in the range of No. 20.

Now, keep in mind that much can change with the perception of the draft prospects after the NFL Combine which begins February 20th, and with (perceived) team needs after moves are made in free agency (begins March 12th).

Oh, and make sure to click over and check out the full mock drafts from these writers.


Walter Football (1/29)

(1st Round) Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia 
It's sad to see the Brian Urlacher era come to an end. Urlacher will be a free agent in March, but he was playing poorly anyway. The Bears will have to find a replacement this offseason - perhaps in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. They'll probably be interested in Alec Ogletree, who has been tremendous for Georgia this season. Ogletree is arguably the top prospect available. 

(2nd Round) Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia 
The Bears have revealed that they will be searching for a speed element to their passing game this offseason. If that's the case, they won't hesitate selecting Tavon Austin if he's available at this juncture. Chicago cannot have Devin Hester on the field as a receiver any longer. 

(4th Round) Oday Aboushi, G/OT, Virginia 
If you've watched Jay Cutler take a beating throughout this past season, you know that they need to find multiple upgrades for their struggling offensive line.

5 players selected before: DE/LB Dion Jordan, OG Chance Warmack, OLB Jarvis Jones, DT Sheldon Richardson, OT Lane Johnson.

5 players selected after: LB Manti Te'o, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Keenan Allen, DT Johnathan Jenkins, DT Bennie Logan.


CBS Sports' Dane Brugler (1/28)

Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
With larger needs at linebacker and offensive line, tight end might be a long shot here, but Chicago needs to upgrade the position at some point this off-season. A Midwest kid, Eifert is a reliable pass catcher who will fit well with what the Bears want to do on offense.

5 players selected before: DE Dion Jordan, OT Lane Johnson, OLB Jarvis Jones, DT Sheldon Richardson, DE Ezekiel Ansah.

5 players selected after: DE Datone Jones, S Kenny Vaccaro, WR Keenan Allen, DT Johnathan Hawkins, DT Jesse Williams.


CBS Sports' Rob Rang (1/28)

Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Bears' offensive line is a mess and with little hope of getting better without reinforcements. Johnson, a former quarterback, tight end and defensive lineman at the junior college level, has developed into a quality tackle over the past two seasons with the Sooners and possesses the athletic upside to eventually be the top flight NFL left tackle Jay Cutler so desperately needs. Only the fact that Johnson remains a bit raw might keep him on the board at this point, as he has the feet and length of a future Pro Bowler. 

5 players selected before: DE Ezekiel Ansah, OG Chance Warmack, DT John Jenkins, DT Kawann Short, TE Zach Ertz.

5 players selected after: OLB Alec Ogletree, S Matt Elam, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, CB Desmond Trufant, DE Alex Okafor.


Fansided's Josh Sanchez (1/28)

Lane Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma 
Johnson solidified his status as a first-round pick with his performance in Mobile and the Bears could use someone to keep Cutler on his feet. If the Bears can protect Cutler next season, he will thrive under new head coach Marc Trestman.

5 players selected before: DE Ezekiel Ansah, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, LB Jarvis Jones, QB Tyler Wilson, DE/LB Dion Jordan.

5 players selected after: DE Sam Montgomery, OT DJ Fluker, WR Keenan Allen, CB Johnanthan Banks, WR DeAndre Hopkins.


Walter Football's Charlie Campbell (1/28)

(1st Round) Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma 
Obviously, Chicago needs tackle help above everything else. Their new coaching staff isn't married to J'Marcus Webb, so replacing him with a first-round pick is a potential no-brainer for the Bears. 

There is building buzz for Johnson to be a first-rounder following his impressive Senior Bowl performance. He was a 2-year starter and a good edge-blocker for Landry Jones. Johnson protected the blind side of his quarterback extremely well in 2012. The senior had a strong game against Texas protecting his signal-caller versus some good Longhorn pass-rushers. He did that again against Texas A&M in his collegiate finale. 

Johnson has nice athleticism with quick feet to mirror speed-rushers. The 6-foot-6, 302-pounder showed at the Senior Bowl that he is a viable left tackle prospect for the NFL. He started at right tackle for the Sooners in 2011 having played tight end and defensive end the previous season. Johnson redshirted in 2009. 

Depending on who drafts him, Johnson could start his career at right tackle before moving over to the left side. 

(2nd Round) Jordan Reed, TE, Florida 

The Bears badly need a receiving tight end who can exploit the middle of the field. That is Reed's speciality. 

Reed played well for Florida and has some real play-making ability. He led theam with 45 receptions for 559 yards and three touchdowns in 2012. The Gators could have gotten more out of Reed, but sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel was inconsistent. Reed had a costly fumble inside the 10-yard line late in the fourth quarter in a close loss to Georgia. 

Reed, a former quarterback, is still developing at tight end, and he should have returned for his senior season. Reed is a dangerous receiver, but needs to improve his blocking ability to be a three-down player. He caught 28 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns as sophomore in 2011. The redshirt junior has also been tutored by former Gators and current Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. 

Reed caught only six passes for 79 yards and one touchdown in 2010, but that was because Florida had him playing other positions in the majority of his snaps. For instance, he played some spread-option quarterback and completed 26 of 46 passes for 252 yards. Reed also ran for 328 yards and five touchdowns.

5 players selected before: DE/LB Dion Jordan, S Kenny Vaccaro, DT John Jenkins, DT Sheldon Richardson, DE Ezekiel Ansah.

5 players selected after: DE/LB Sam Montgomery, LB Manti Te'o, DT Kawann Short, OG Jonathan Cooper, DT Shariff Floyd.


SB Nation's Dan Kadar (1/28)

Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame 
The Bears will have their pick of tight ends in the first round between Eifert and Stanford's Zach Ertz. Eifert's pass catching numbers were down this season, but that's only because teams often had multiple defenders on him. After greatly improving as a blocker last season, he's a better all-around tight end than Ertz.

5 players selected before: DT Jesse Williams, WR Keenan Allen, DT John Jenkins, DT Johnathan Hankins, DE Ezekiel Ansah.

5 players selected after: LB Arthur Brown, OG Jonathan Cooper, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, DT Shariff Floyd, WR DeAndre Hopkins.


Eat Drink And Sleep Football's Kevin Hanson (1/27)

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame 
While Manziel won the Heisman Trophy, Te'o finished a close second and an argument could be made that he should have won it. Meanwhile, he won numerous awards including the Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Award, which are national player of the year awards himself. 

As an insider linebacker, Te'o has his third consecutive season with 100-plus tackles, but he is also tied for second in the country in interceptions (seven) for the Fighting Irish, who played (and lost to) Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game. 

Te'o had his worst game of the season against the Crimson Tide. Unfortunately, that coincides with his final game and against his toughest competition. While that performance certainly doesn't help his draft stock, Te'o should not slip much beyond this point. 

5 players selected before: DT Sheldon Richardson, OG Chance Warmack. LB Alec Ogletree, DE Ezekiel Ansah, CB Xavier Rhodes.

5 players selected after: OG Jonathan Cooper, S Kenny Vaccaro, DE Margus Hunt, DT Jesse Williams, DT John Jenkins.


First-Round Grade (1/27)

Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
The Bears will be devastated that Jonathan Cooper (OG, UNC) went two spots earlier, and with no viable offensive linemen available at the #20 pick, they will turn their attention to the LB position. Specifically, the Bears need to add youth to the middle of the defense with the expected departure of Brian Urlacher (MLB, Chi). Minter might be a bit of a reach here, but he was the heart and soul of the LSU defense in 2012. If Urlacher isn’t brought back, Minter would line up as the new starting MLB for the Bears…a position with a lot of history and a lot of pressure. If the Draft falls this way, don’t be surprised to see Phil Emery trade back (possibly even out of the first round).

5 players selected before: S Kenny Vaccaro, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, OLB Dion Jordan, OG Jonathan Cooper, OLB Alec Ogletree.

5 players selected after: RB Eddie Lacy, OT DJ Fluker, DT John Jenkins, CB Xavier Rhodes, WR Tavon Austin.


Optimum Scouting (1/27)

Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina 
Upgrading the offensive line is of major importance for the Bears, and finding a left tackle would be ideal. But with none available, they’ll need to either trade up for Lane Johnson (ideal) or just take the best offensive lineman available, with that being Jonathan Cooper.

5 players selected before: DE/LB Dion Jordan, OG Chance Warmack, ILB Kevin Minter, OT DJ Fluker, DE Ezekiel Ansah.

5 players selected after: S Kenny Vaccaro, TE Zach Ertz, WR DeAndre Hopkins, OG Larry Warford, DT John Jenkins.



Feel free to post your thoughts (below in the comments) on these projected Bears picks, and make sure to check back soon for much more on the draft in regards to the Bears. I'll have posts like this one showing projected Bears picks every couple of weeks leading up to the draft.


 Minor Bears move today, but with a slow last week (slow compared to the previous couple of weeks, anyway), we'll bring you the news.

ESPN Chicago's Jeff Dickerson is reporting that the Bears have signed free agent safety Tom Nelson to a one-year contract:

Nelson, who just turned 26 in December, is a local product that played high school football at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, and college football at Illinois State.

Nelson signed with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2009. When Dickerson broke the news of the signing, I thought to myself, "Tom Nelson? How do I know that name?" And a quick look at Nelson's Wikipedia page gave me the answer:

His attempt to make the Bengals' roster was chronicled on the HBO series Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cincinnati Bengals.
So there you go: Tom Nelson, Hard Knocks star. Nelson would go on to play in 12 games for the Bengals in that season, starting three. He had 25 tackles, one interception, and two pass deflections.

In 2010, he played eight games for the Bengals, and then played four games for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011. He was out of the league in 2012, but clearly must still be in pretty good football shape to stand out at a Bears tryout of safeties on Tuesday.

Chris Conte and Major Wright were impressive as starting safeties in 2012, but the depth at the position is certainly a concern. Veteran Craig Steltz is a capable fill-in, but lacks speed in pass coverage which is a big deal considering the Bears face the Packers' and Lions' passing attack twice each every year. 2012 third-round pick Brandon Hardin missed all season due to a neck injury, so he's still an unknown, and Anthony Walters showed some promise but definitely shouldn't be guaranteed of a 2013 roster spot just yet.

Also, you have to keep in mind that with a new coaching staff in place and some potential scheme (even though is Mel Tucker likely to run a very similar defense), philosophical changes, some of the current Bears players may not be valued as much they were in the Lovie Smith era.

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The 2013 Bears coaching staff under Marc Trestman is going to look very, very different than the Bears staff we saw in 2012. In fact, it's almost entirely different. I'll have a post coming up on all of the coaching staff moves, but for right now want to focus on a major hiring to the Bears staff: Mel Tucker as defensive coordinator.

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora initially reported that a deal between the Bears and Tucker was being finalized, and the Chicago Tribune's Dan Pompei then confirmed it's a done deal:




The Bears have since confirmed themselves that Tucker is the new defensive coordinator.

Tucker, who just turned 41 on January 4th, was the Jacksonville Jaguars' defensive coordinator over the last four seasons, and also held the title of assistant head coach for them in 2012. He has head coaching experience as well, as he coached the final five Jaguars games in 2011 following the firing of Jack Del Rio. Tucker also interviewed for the Jaguars' head coaching job this offseason (as well as last offseason), but the Jaguars chose to go with Gus Bradley.

Before working for the Jaguars, Tucker was the Cleveland Browns' defensive coordinator in 2008. He's also had assistant coaching jobs at the college level with Ohio State, LSU, Miami (Ohio), and Michigan State.

Trestman and Bears general manager Phil Emery made it clear on Wednesday that they wanted Rod Marinelli to stay as the Bears' defensive coordinator, but Marinelli chose to leave the team in search of an opportunity with another team. It's unknown if Marinelli didn't want to stay on the staff due to his friendship with Lovie Smith, if he didn't like seeing nearly everybody else on the staff gone, if he just wanted to go work with somebody he was closer with, if he simply wanted a new beginning, etc.

Whatever the case, Marinelli didn't want to comeback, and news just broke that he's going to take the Cowboys' defensive line job, working under his buddy and new Cowboys defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin:


Reports surfaced that the Bears may promote defensive backs coach Jon Hoke to the defensive coordinator role, as it's assumed he would've been able to run a defense similar to the one the Bears have run under Smith and Marinelli. Hoke is very highly regarded, and the defensive back play was sensational in 2012 with an All-Pro in Charles Tillman, a second-team All-Pro in Tim Jennings. On Friday night, Brad Biggs reported that Hoke will remain as the Bears' defensive backs coach. Very good news:



Additionally, it was reported on Friday afternoon that the Bears planned to interview Washington Redskins coach and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris on Saturday, but minutes later, it was announced that Tucker would be hired for the position.

With Trestman being an offensive-minded head coach that will also have the duties of being the offensive play-caller, the defensive coordinator role is crucial on this Bears team, and I think Tucker is a terrific hire. I even tweeted before the news of the hiring that Tucker was my preferred choice for the job.

As Rotworld summarized well: "Tucker runs a 4-3, Cover-2 style defense, easing the transition from Lovie Smith." Given the Bears' personnel (especially considering the talents, sizes, etc. of core players) and the tremendous defensive success in 2012, there's no reason to change much with the defensive philosophy. However, Tucker's also shown the ability to work well with 3-4 defenses in the past and various defensive schemes/concepts. And I think that's a big part of why Tucker was the choice, as if the Bears decide to change up things schematically with their defense in the next few years, they may be able to do so with Tucker instead of bringing in another defensive coordinator.

It's not just Tucker's defensive knowledge and ability to continue the Bears' general defensive philosophy that makes him an attractive candidate, but he's a highly respected coach, known for his passionate, no-nonsense attitude, and being able to relate well with players.

Here's some tweets I gathered from respected NFL writers and football minds in regards to Tucker and the hire (and note that Michael C. Wright worked as a Jaguars beat writer in the past so he's very familiar with Tucker):






Check back for much more on the Bears' new coaching staff in the coming days.

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On Thursday at Halas Hall, the Chicago Bears introduced Marc Trestman as the franchise's 14th head coach. Additionally, it was reported on Thursday that his contract with the Bears is for four years.

Below are some of the main things (that I noticed, at least) to take away from the press conference, in which general manager Phil Emery and Trestman spoke to the media.


Phil Emery
  • Emery interviewed five special teams coordinators for the job. We were only aware of four, so there's some candidate we weren't aware about. And that means there were at least 14 overall coaching candidates interviewed.
  • "We also reached out to people we did not interview, and had people reach out to us."
  • On the Bears' coaching job: "It's a gem. It's a prize."
  • Confirms the three finalists were Bruce Arians, Darrell Bevell, and of course, Marc Trestman.
  • Bevell was eliminated at the end because he didn't have head coaching experience. It came down to Arians and Trestman.
  • "Excellence" is the key word Emery is using to describe Trestman, especially when it comes to coaching quarterbacks and running an offense.
  • "Do not underestimate Marc Trestman as a competitor."
  • "Marc has a quietness to him, a quiet confidence, a high level of intellect. Those are attractive qualities."
  • "Marc shared to me his favorite quote. 'What I do for myself is buried with me. What I do for others lives forever.'"
  • On Trestman: "He is a champion."

Marc Trestman
  • "In Chicago, they love the Bears, but it's beyond passion. It really is."
  • "The Bears are the most loved and storied franchise in the NFL."
  • "I'm filled with an incredible amount and sense of humility today."
  • "I feel the passion. I feel the sense of urgency. I feel a commitment to win."
  • "We've got to put together a staff of high character. Men who are experts in the science of football."
  • "We've gotta play tough, physical football. Disciplined football."
  • "The quarterback absolutely must play at an efficient level."
  • "I'm going to be responsible for keeping Jay and our quarterbacks safe in the pocket."
  • "We're going to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball."
  • "On defense, it starts with the quarterback. Gotta hurry him and knock him down."
  • "We've gotta create turnovers." Talked about how it's what this team does best and has for a number of years. 
  • Talks about pride and passion on special teams. Definitely makes sense why the fiery Joe DeCamillis was hired, then.
  • "On the offensive side, it starts and ends with the quarterback. We've gotta protect him and keep him safe."
  • "We've gotta be tough and physical with our mindset, whether it's run or pass."
  • "I get to be the team's compass or road map. Or in modern day terms, the team's GPS system."
  • On Rod Marinelli: "He's made up his mind to move on." Talks about how the team will look to find a new defensive coordinator.
  • "Our players are going to compete on a daily basis on the practice field."
  • "Playing the quarterback position... are you kidding me? It's the most difficult position in all of sports."
  • Met Jay Cutler 10 years ago in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Danced around the "Do you think Jay Cutler a franchise quarterback?" question.
  • On Cutler: "We connected immediately. We could've sat there all day and talked football." 
  • "Jay Cutler is a guy who loves football." "Jay Cutler is a guy who is willing to learn. A guy that wants to do everything to help this franchise and please these amazing fans." 
  • You can tell that, like Emery, Trestman really, REALLY has a romantic relationship with football.
  • "I love to coach ball."
  • The Bears will practice everyday like it's the Super Bowl.
  • "We've gotta create a sense of urgency in our building (Halas Hall) on a daily basis."
  • "The No. 1 marriage in all of sports is the marriage between a coach and his quarterback."
  • Trestman confirms that he will be calling the offensive plays. 
  • "I will say that I'm calling plays with the help and cooperation of Aaron (Kromer) and his staff."
  • "The quarterback has gotta protect the ball."
  • "I love calling plays."
  • Needs to catch up NFL personnel; been out of the league for 8 years. 
  • "When I step out of this room, I will begin to study." "I can't wait for that."
  • Trestman says that he watches tape after the season is over of the top teams in the league to try to learn from them: "I take the top teams in the league & I break them down in all 3 phases. I've done it every year." 
  • "Your philosophy is fluid." 
  • "I haven't sized up the offensive line, but I've spent 11 years sizing up Aaron Kromer."
  • Did not comment on if Brian Urlacher will be back with the Bears in 2013.
  • On the staff members: "We've got Joe D (Joe DeCamillis)... you know we've got Aaron (Kromer)." Also, each DeCamillis and Kromer were in attendance watching from the balcony at Halas Hall.
  • On Brandon Marshall: "He's a pretty darn good player."
  • On working with Emery: "I want his input. I don't have all the answers." "Phil's here to educate me and show me the way when it comes to understanding these players so we can have success." 
  • About being on offense: "The only object is to score touchdowns."
  • "We want to be very capable of being a good running team, and we want to be capable of being a very good passing team."
  • On CFL to NFL:  "I'm excited we get four downs now", as opposed to three.
  • Downplayed the CFL to NFL transition. Basically saying that at the end of the day it comes down to the same things. 
  • "I have final say on the coaching staff."
  • "I would expect we have a few guys from the staff (in Canada) come South." So, expect a few staff members from Trestman's Montreal Alouettes staff to join his staff with the Bears.
  • Says Bears center Roberto Garza bought his (Trestman's) book at 2 AM right after he was hired.
  • Didn't rule out a 3-4 defense, but understands the personnel and success this team has had in a 4-3.
  • "We've seen some transitional phases with tight end football in the NFL."
  • More on the tight end position: "It's not who you have, it's being able to force defenses to defend the entire field."
After the press conference, it was revealed by Zach Zaidman that Andy Bischoff, Trestman's top assistant in Montreal, was in attendance at Halas Hall on Thursday. So expect Bischoff to join the staff.

Video of the press conference should be available shortly and I'll post it on here. I found it to be a very impressive press conference, and it's easy to see why Trestman was Emery's guy.

UPDATE: Not finding any full video or even any embeddable video that shows very much. But ChicagoBears.Com has the portion of the press conference where Trestman speaks: Link.

UPDATE #2:  Here's audio of the full press conference, thanks to the Chicago Sun-Times:


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Last week, two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Jimmy Johnson tweeted the following:

Johnson later tweeted to clarify that he said "it LOOKS like" Rob Chudzinski and Marc Trestman would be getting NFL jobs (he meant head coaching jobs) with the Browns and Bears.

Chudzinski had already been reported as the Browns' new coach, but this was the first news from any sort of  reputable source (Johnson currently is an NFL analyst for Fox and was Trestman's quarterbacks coach at the University of Miami) on Trestman as a  (basically) done deal to the Bears.

Well, Johnson took plenty of criticism for the apparent false, or at least 'jump-the-gun' report, but it turns out in the end, he was right on the money.

The Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs reported late on Tuesday night that the Bears have hired Trestman to be their new head coach:


If for some reason you doubt Biggs' report (and you shouldn't; he's as good as there is in the business), here's official word from the Bears' Twitter account on the hiring of Trestman:


According to Adam Oestmann of Chicago Bears Huddle, the Bears have scheduled a 10 AM CT news conference on Thursday at Halas Hall to introduce Trestman as head coach:

As I wrote on Monday night, Trestman had emerged as the "heavy favorite" for the job, so the the hiring is hardly a surprise (and that's even if you put aside Johnson's tweet).

Trestman was one of the three reported finalists for the job, along with Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. The three candidates were to go through a second interview earlier in the week with general manager Phil Emery, president Ted Phillips, and chairman George McCaskey. Phillips and McCaskey were not present for the first interviews each candidate had.

Trestman, who actually turned 57 on Tuesday (not a bad birthday, right?), is known for his offensive mind, and especially known for his work with quarterbacks:

He was Bernie Kosar's quarterback for the 1983 national champion Miami Hurricanes.

He was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Steve Young and the San Francisco 49ers in 1995 and 1996, and the 49ers led the NFL in points scored and passing yards in the '95 season.

He was the Raiders' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach during Rich Gannon's 2002 NFL MVP season in which the Raiders made the Super Bowl.

He made Scott Mitchell look like a competent quarterback while quarterbacks coach with the Lions in 1995.

He helped Jake Plummer and the Arizona Cardinals win their first playoff game in 51 years while offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 1998.

He's also worked as a quarterbacks coach for prospects entering the NFL Draft, including one Jay Cutler.

And certainly, one of the main things Emery had in mind with this hire: getting the most out of Cutler and his tremendous talent. Here's what Gannon, currently an NFL television and radio analyst, had to say in regards to Trestman as a coach, and with Cutler in mind:

“One thing about him that is a strength is his ability to listen,” Gannon said. “He takes feedback. Marc has always been the type of guy who can sit down with you and talk about things. What do you like about this? What don’t you like? His feedback is excellent. And he has an ability to be honest with you. Somebody needs to be honest with Jay Cutler.”
Source: Chicago Tribune

Trestman has been away from the NFL for eight years, but served as head coach of the CFL's Montreal Alouettes for the last five years. With the Alouettes, Trestman put together a 64-34 record over five seasons, and won back-to-back Grey Cup championships. Simply put- he's been tremendously successful up north.

Now, obviously people will have concerns about the transition from the CFL to NFL, and many of the meatballs out there will just make lazy, uneducated complaints simply referring to Trestman as a CFL coach. But Trestman has 17 years of NFL coaching experience, and it seems the main reason he never got a chance to be a head coach in the NFL wasn't because didn't have the resume or football knowledge, but because people were unsure if he'd be able to handle and lead an NFL team. What he did with the Alouettes has greatly cooled much of that doubt. Many, many people have come forward saying he's now ready to be an NFL coach.

Anyway, as I write this, it's past 4:30 freaking AM my time (mountain) and I need to get some sleep. I just wanted to make sure to have a post up about this obviously huge news that broke late on Tuesday night.

I'll have much more on Trestman, and potentially corresponding moves to the coaching staff (for example: will Rod Marinelli be kept to be defensive coordinator?), so stay tuned.

UPDATE: The press conference to introduce Marc Trestman as the head coach of the Bears has been moved from 10 AM CT to 11 AM CT on Thursday. So, one hour back. Maybe that's the Bears' way of saying, "Sorry you got little sleep on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning because of us. Here's an extra hour."

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I've never seen ABC's television series Happy Endings, and really can't believe there's a show titled that on network television. No complaints, just sayin'.

But Bears star linebacker Lance Briggs made an appearance on Sunday night's episode (see his appearance in the video above) that had a kickball focus.

Check it out:


As you could see, he didn't say much, but this was part of it:

“That’s the name on my state I.D. I don’t drive. It’s too dangerous.”

As The Big Lead's Stephen Douglas astutely points out, "Happy Endings is always spot on with their sports references and this one was no different. Briggs crashed his Lamborghini back in 2007, left it on the highway and reported it stolen."

So, good for Lance that he can poke fun at that (if that's indeed the reason for the line), and not a bad acting job either. While we may not see much more acting from 32-year-old linebacker, I think he'd make a terrific NFL television analyst when he retires. Hopefully that won't be for a while, though, as he's still playing as well as ever for the Bears.

UPDATE: For some reason the embed code I found of the clip is only resulting in the full episode on here. So go over to The Big Lead if you just want to see Lance's appearance.

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Marc Trestman is reportedly the "heavy favorite" to land the Bears' head coaching job. 

After Phil Emery and the Bears interviewed a whopping 13 (known) candidates for their head coaching vacancy, it appears they have (finally) identified their finalists for the position.

The Indianapolis Colts' Bruce Arians, Seattle Seahawks' Darrell Bevell, and Montreal Alouettes' Marc Trestman (CFL) will reportedly get second interviews with the Bears.  In Trestman's case, he's apparently already had that second interview:




For these second round of interviews, Bears president Ted Phillips and chairman George McCaskey will be present. However, in the end, it will be Emery's decision.

And which of these guys is Emery most likely to nab for the job? Trestman, who turns 57 on Tuesday, appears to be the favorite. Here's a collection of tweets with more on that, as well as some other notable information in regards to the candidates (and reminder you can see this stuff right when I come across it by following DBN on Twitter):






Emery's said that, ideally, he'd like to have the new coach hired in time for the college football All-Star Games (for draft prospect evaluating purposes), which begin this Saturday with the East-West Shrine Game.. So, we should learn who the new Bears coach is in the next few days, perhaps even in the next 24 hours. Stay tuned.

And for much more on Arians, Bevell, and Trestman, here's the initial write-ups I did about each of them:

Bruce Arians

Darrell Bevell

Marc Trestman


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The 2012 Associated Press All-Pro team was released on Saturday, and it contains four Chicago Bears. 

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall and cornerback Charles Tillman were two of the 27 NFL players named first-team All-Pro. Additionally, cornerback Tim Jennings and defensive end Julius Peppers were named second-team All-Pro.

Recently, those four players, along with defensive tackle Henry Melton, were named to the NFL Pro Bowl team as well.

After being acquired for two third round picks from the Dolphins in the offseason, Marshall was everything the Bears could've asked for, and more. The veteran wide receiver set Bears single-season records with 118 receptions and 1,508 receiving yards. The 118 receptions tied him (with Wes Welker) for second in the NFL, only behind the Lions' Calvin "Megatron" Johnson (who had 122), and the 1,508 receiving yards placed him third in the NFL. The most incredible thing about Marshall's production is he did it in double or even triple coverage at times.

The Bears' defense led the NFL in takeaways (44) this season, and "Peanut" Tillman was a major reason why. Tillman led the NFL with a ridiculous 10 forced fumbles (or Peanut punches), and had three interceptions returned for touchdowns, tying the 31-year-old for the NFL lead in that category with Rams rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

Opposite Tillman at cornerback for the Bears was Jennings, and all he did was lead the NFL in interceptions with nine. Quite an outstanding season for a guy that lost his starting cornerback position with the Bears towards the end of the 2011 season.

As for Peppers, the 32-year-old battled a foot injury all season, but fought through it to play all 16 games and get 11.5 sacks, the fourth-highest season total in his remarkable career. Peppers didn't look quite like his usual self at times during the year, but really came on in the final three games, with 4.5 sacks over that time.

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Another day, another few candidates revealed for the Chicago Bears' head coaching vacancy. Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub, Vikings linebackers coach and Hall of Fame Bears linebacker Mike Singletary, and Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer are the latest candidates to have interviews scheduled with the Bears (and in Toub's case, the interview already took place):

An interview with Toub has been expected, especially after the Bears scheduled interviews with Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong and Cowboys special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis. Toub, 50, is  considered by many to be the best special teams coordinator in the NFL, and it's been assumed for a few years that he'd eventually land a head coaching job. Last year, Toub interviewed for the Dolphins' job.

Here's more on Toub, from ESPN Chicago's Jeff Dickerson:

An original member of Lovie Smith's staff who joined the Bears organization in 2004, Toub has molded the club's special teams unit into one of the top outfits in the league over the last nine years. The Bears had the No. 1 rated special teams in 2006 and 2007 and are annually ranked in the top third of the league. 

Under Toub, the Bears have produced four Pro Bowl players: Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, Brendon Ayanbadejo and Robbie Gould. 

Toub is the fourth known special teams coach to be considered for the Bears' head coaching position, joining Atlanta's Keith Armstrong, Dallas' Joe DeCamillis and Minnesota's Mike Priefer.

The Singletary interview certainly comes as a surprise. Yes, 'Samurai Mike' is one of the greatest players in Bears history and is beloved by Chicago, but he struggled mightily as head coach with the 49ers. The 54-year-old went 18-22 with the 49ers from 2008-2010, before Jim Harbaugh went 24-8 as 49ers head coach over the last two years (and currently has them hosting a second-round playoff game).

During Singletary's 49ers tenure, he was best known for mooning the team in the locker room during halftime of a 2008 game against the Seahawks, and then ripping tight end Vernon Davis to shreds in the postgame press conference (after sending Davis to the locker room with over 10 minutes to go in the game).

It's been speculated that Emery was requested by the McCaskeys to interview Singletary out of respect, and that's certainly a possibility. Whatever the case, don't expect Singletary to be a finalist for the job. I just can't see him being a realistic possibility for the job for many, many reasons.

Priefer, 46, just finished his second season as the Vikings' special teams coordinator, after holding the same title for the Broncos and Chiefs in previous years. I can't tell you much more about Priefer... there's not even a Wikipedia page about him. But, yeah, he'll be interviewing, and like Singletary, should be considered quite a long shot for the job.

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said on NBC Sports Network today that there's been rumblings around the league that Emery is doing so many interviews to collect as much information as he can on ways to improve the team (particularly the offense, of course) and that in reality there's probably only a handful of guys he's seriously considering for the job. That may rub some the wrong way, but if you can do it, why not? Every candidate is going to have different ideas and philosophies on ways to improve the offense, so you might as well gather as much information as you can. Some candidate out there may present a brilliant way to get more out of Jay Cutler, the offensive line, other receivers than Brandon Marshall, etc.

And even if these candidates don't get the job, just getting an interview can go a long way in boosting their chances for a head coaching job in the future, or at least boost their chances for more interview opportunities. Look at Marc Trestman, for example. He was completely off the NFL radar until the Bears scheduled an interview with him, and now all of a sudden other teams (such as the Browns) are reportedly interested in him too. Even if a candidate may just be being "used" in the eyes of some, it's still beneficial for their coaching prospects down the road.

UPDATE: Brad Biggs added an interesting nugget on Priefer.
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With the Bears' 2012 season over, the focus for Bears fans is now on the head coaching search (and the corresponding moves to the coaching staff), 2013 free agency (begins March 12th), and the 2013 NFL Draft (begins April 25th).

And with the end of the NFL season comes the release of many NFL mock drafts around the interwebs. You'll end up mocking mock drafts as much as you take them seriously, but it's still interesting to see the positions and players the draftniks think the Bears could take. And it's just a nice look at what prospects the draftniks think could be available when the Bears are set to pick at No. 20 in the first round.

Now, the mock drafts will change a lot in the next few months, especially after the NFL Combine, which begins February 20th. Some of the prospects that are highly regarded now could end up being mid-round selections, and there's a lot of prospects currently off the first-round radar that will greatly improve their stock after impressive performances at the Combine and workouts. Additionally, what teams do (or lose) in free agency in the month prior to the draft could change their draft needs.

But, for now, here's how some of the draftniks see the Bears going about their first round pick (and second round pick in a few instances):

Eat Drink And Sleep Football (1/7)

(1st Round) Eric Fisher (pictured above), OT, Central Michigan 
After Rodgers and Rivers, no player has been sacked more than Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (113) over the past three seasons combined. Cutler has played the fewest games in that trio, however, and averages more sacks per game than the other two. At 6-8 and 305 pounds, Fisher is the top senior left tackle prospect in this year's draft class and will be an immediate upgrade over J'Marcus Webb. 

(2nd Round) Kevin Minter, LB, LSU 
Minter led LSU in tackles (130) and tackles for loss (15.0) this season. Along with Georgia's Jarvis Jones and Alabama's C.J. Mosley, Minter was a first-team All-SEC selection this year.


NFL Future's Micheal Profetta (1/7)

(1st Round) Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma 
With the exception of Kansas City’s QB depth chart, there isn’t a positional unit in the NFL in more dire need of an upgrade than the Chicago offensive line. To put it simply, there isn’t a starting-caliber offensive lineman to be found on the roster. The situation has reached Code Red, folks. Unless they spend a fortune sprucing up the O-line during free agency, the Bears will have no choice but to draft O-linemen early and often. In this scenario, the choice comes down to Jonathan Cooper or Lane Johnson. Johnson’s potential to guard the blindside at the pro level gives him the “positional value” edge. 

Also considered: OG Jonathan Cooper…Could be considered the safest option on the board.

(2nd Round) Kyle Long, OG/OT, Oregon 


SB Nation (1/7)

Jonathan Cooper, Guard, North Carolina 
Jonathan Cooper is an impressive prospect. He is as athletic as any guard I've ever studied and would do wonders for a Bears offensive line that has struggled in recent years. This pick would make a lot of sense.


CBS Sports' Rob Rang (1/4)

Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Bears' offensive line is a mess and with little hope of getting better without reinforcements. Fisher isn't widely known by fans, but the 6-7, 305-pounder has ranked as NFLDraftScout.com's top senior offensive tackle for the past two months, boasting the athleticism and tenacity to emerge as a clear-cut top 20 prospect with a strong performance at the Senior Bowl.


Draft Season's Matt Falk (1/4)

Kevin Minter LB, LSU 
Brian Urlacher very well could have played his last season in Chicago. Even if he did return he is not the player he once was. Minter has great instincts for a linebacker and doesn’t shy away from the chance to lay a lick on opposing players.


Next Era NFL (1/4)

Barrett Jones, OG/C, Alabama 
The Bears need some help on the O-Line to let talented Quarterback Jay Cutler do his thing. Jones is a versatile talent that could help the Bears in a lot of areas along the line, when required.


Walter Football's Charlie Campbell (1/4)

(1st Round) Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
Chicago has missed out on the first-round left tackles, so the team can address its aging defense with this pick. Brian Urlacher's contract is running out, and the injuries are mounting as he's aging. The Bears need a long-term middle linebacker, and Ogletree would be a perfect replacement for the veteran.

Ogletree broke his foot in the 2011 season opener against Boise State and missed the next seven games. The sophomore really came on in the second half of the year. The 6-foot-3, 236-pounder produced 52 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles in the final seven games. He really stood out with big games against Georgia Tech, LSU and Michigan State. Ogletree had 34 tackles as a freshman in 2010.

The junior was suspended the first four games of this season. He had 111 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, one interception and five passes broken up after returning to the lineup.

Ogletree is very fast and instinctive. He has the frame to get bigger and stay as a middle linebacker in the NFL. Ogletree has a lot of upside and it isn't surprising that his stock has pushed into first-round consideration this year.

(2nd Round) Joseph Fauria, TE, UCLA 
The Bears badly need a receiving tight end who can exploit the middle of the field. Fauria (6-7, 255) is a quality receiving option as part of a tight end stable. His quickness, good route-running and good hands should let him be a nice part of a passing offense. Fauria is tremendous in the red zone. He had 45 receptions for 620 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. Fauria is an improved blocker, but needs to continue to get better there. He was UCLA's second-leading receiver with 39 catches for 481 yards and six touchdowns in 2011. Fauria was a backup in 2010 after sitting out 2009 because he transferred in from Notre Dame.


CBS Sports' Dane Brugler (1/3)

Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
It seems like the Bears have had offensive line struggles for the past decade, recently releasing former first round tackle Chris Williams. Johnson is a former QB, TE and DE who is still growing at the offensive tackle position, but the upside is off the charts.


Draft Season's Nik Edlund (1/3)

DJ Fluker OT, Alabama 
The Bears offensive line continues to be a problem so their hand is forced and they reach a little for help.



Draft Season's Will Lomas (1/2)

Keenan Allen, WR, Cal 
Allen is an athletic WR who has been held captive by a bad quarterback and weak offensive system. Chicago NEEDS offensive linemen, but they have shown a tendency to pass on them in the past and this year doesn’t look like anything different. Allen will give defenses something to thing about other than Marshall and Cutler needs another outlet for the times he does go against VG cornerbacks.


Fox Sports' Peter Schrager (1/2)

Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan 
Jay Cutler was under duress just about every time he went back to pass this season. Six-foot-seven, 305 pounds, and downright nasty — Fisher would be an immediate upgrade over the offensive tackles currently employed in Chicago. The Bears won 10 games, but after a 7-1 start, the season ended in disappointment. They’ve got to rebuild the offensive line . . . again. Fisher’s a start.



Optimum Scouting (1/2)

Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina 
Whoever the new coach is, they’ll likely be clamoring for offensive line help. While there’s no offensive tackle value at this point in the draft (DJ Flucker/Justin Pugh are solid but would be reaches), the Giants could opt for a 1st round value at guard in Cooper.


Walter Football (1/2)

(1st Round) Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia 
It's sad to see the Brian Urlacher era come to an end. Urlacher will be a free agent after this season, but he was playing poorly anyway. The Bears will have to find a replacement this offseason - perhaps in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. They'll probably be interested in Alec Ogletree, who has been tremendous for Georgia this season. Ogletree is arguably the top prospect available.

(2nd Round) D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama 
If you've watched the Bears struggle to score over the past few weeks, you know that they need to find multiple upgrades for their struggling offensive line.



NFL Draft Net (1/1)

Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Bears have been trying to put a line together for years. Whoever the new coach is that comes into Chicago will have to look at giving Jay Cutler a chance, and that starts with protecting him. 

Previous: Jonathan Cooper


NFL's Future (1/1)

(1st Round) Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina 
The Bears need to take the best offensive lineman available. Cooper doesn’t get the love of Warmack or DeCastro but he may be their equal. He’s athletic with enough power to be effective in either a zone or power scheme. 

(2nd Round) D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama 
The Bears double up on the OL in the first two round. Fluker could take over the RT spot with Jon Cooper manning a starting guard spot. Now, they need a LT. Yeah, it’s that bad in Chicago. I think Carimi goes inside to guard or to the bench on a full time basis.


NFL Mocks (1/1)

Chance Warmack . Offensive Guard, Alabama
Warmack is arguably the best OL prospect in the draft, and there’s no question the Bears have to upgrade their offensive line drastically.


So, it appears there will be some solid offensive line prospects available when the Bears pick at No. 20, which is certainly good news, as the Bears obviously need a lot of help there.

I plan to frequently show what the mock drafts are saying as we lead up to the real draft, so make sure to keep checking back.

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The list of candidates that Phil Emery and the Bears are known to plan to interview (or already have interviewed) for the head coaching vacancy is now up to 10, after news broke on Sunday that the Bears requested permission to interview Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison for the job.



The 43-year-old Bevell is in his second season as the Seahawks' offensive coordinator, after holding the same job for the Vikings from 2006-2010. The former University of Wisconsin quarterback also served as the Packers' quarterbacks coach in 2003-2005, and was an offensive assistant for the team from 2000-2002. Bevell worked extensively with Brett Favre both in his time with the Packers and Vikings.

And what rookie Russell Wilson (26 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 100 QB rating) has been able to do at quarterback in Bevell's offense this season has been remarkable. It's the main reason the Seahawks are still alive as we head into the second round of the NFL playoffs.

Dennison, 54, is a guy I'm very familiar with, as he played tight end where I went to college at Colorado State University, and then played linebacker here in Denver for the Broncos from 1982-1990. Five years after his playing career was over, Dennison joined the Broncos' coaching staff as an offensive assistant, a job he held through 1996. He then was the Broncos' special teams coach in 1997-2000, their offensive line coach from 2001-2005 (and again in 2009), and their offensive coordinator in 2006-2008.

The three years Dennison worked as offensive coordinator for the Broncos were the three years Jay Cutler played quarterback there, and three of the four years Brandon Marshall played wide receiver there. So, that's obviously a major thing to keep in mind with Dennison as a candidate for the Bears' job.

The Chicago Sun-Times' Sean Jensen adds in this great point:


Currently, Dennison is the Texans' offensive coordinator, a job he's held since 2010. However, head coach Gary Kubiak is the one calling plays for the Texans, who like the Seahawks are also second-round bound in the playoffs.

Still, Dennison's certainly played a big role in the Texans' solid offense over the last few years, which has been highlighted by a terrific running game and arguably the best offensive line in the NFL. With that running game and offensive line, the Texans are known for their zone-blocking scheme, and you'd have to think Dennison may want to implement that scheme on the Bears if he became head coach. The problem is then that you need offensive lineman that are athletic enough to make the zone-blocking scheme work. Of course,  the Bears may need to completely rebuild their offensive line already anyway.

Jensen also added this tweet about Dennison:


Stay tuned for much more here on DBN about the Bears' head coaching search. At this rate, we'll probably learn of a few more candidates in the next couple of days. But, over the next week, expect Emery to be down to 2-3 finalists for the position.

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The eighth candidate the Bears are known to have an interview scheduled with for their head coaching vacancy is easily the most surprising.

Marc Trestman, head coach of the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, is set to interview with the Bears for the job according to NFL.Com's Ian Rapoport:
This one is sure to get the "Seriously, a CFL coach?!" reaction from many Bears fans, but Trestman is very qualified and has a long history of coaching in the NFL, too. The 56-year-old has been an offensive coordinator for the Browns (1988-1989), 49ers (1995-1996), Cardinals (1998-2000), and Raiders (2001-2003).

Trestman was also was a running backs coach for the Vikings (1985-1986), as well as a quarterbacks coach for the Buccaneers (1987), Vikings (1990-1991), 49ers (1995-1996), Lions (1997), Cardinals (1998-2000), Raiders (2001-2003), and Dolphins (2004). Additionally, he played quarterback at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State University, and was a training camp body for the Minnesota Vikings as a defensive back in 1978 and 1979.

The 2009 CFL Coach of the Year is known for his work with quarterbacks, a theme we've noticed with Phil Emery's coaching search (something I've written about in the previous two posts : link and link).

Trestman worked with Steve Young while with the 49ers (and while they led the NFL in scoring in 1996), Rich Gannon during his 2002 MVP season in Oakland, and Bernie Kosar with the Browns. He also worked with Jay Cutler before the 2006 draft, and does the same with plenty of quarterbacks before they enter the draft.

Greg Cosell, the executive producer of ESPN's NFL Matchup and senior producer of NFL Films for 33 years, has probably seen as much football tape as anybody on the planet. And he's one of the most respected football analysts on the planet. Here's what he had to say about Trestman on Saturday:
Trestman's contract with the Alouettes runs through 2016, but it's considered likely that their ownership would allow him out of his contract if the Bears (or another NFL franchise) wanted to hire him as head coach.

UPDATE: Totally forgot some another interesting nugget on Trestman that @GrantJess reminded me of- Trestman's relationship with Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.

CBS Sports' Will Brinson on Trestman:
Read more about Trestman and Wilson: Link.

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NFL.Com's Ian Rapoport reports that the Bears have requested permission to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who also served as the Colts' interim head coach for 12 games this season following Chuck Pagano's leukemia diagnosis:


Arians was widely expected to be a name of interest for the Bears and other teams after leading the Colts to a 9-3 record that ultimately placed them in the playoffs. That's after they finished with the NFL's worst record in 2011, at 2-14.

Now, rookie quarterback Andrew Luck is the No. 1 reason for the Colts' turnaround, but Arians still deserves a TON of credit for the success (and with Luck's development as well), especially when you consider the rough emotional situation the young Colts team was put in when Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. The Colts are the NFL's story of the year, and Arians may even win Coach of the Year. It would be well deserved.

Like the situation with the Packers and offensive coordinator Tom Clements, requesting permission from the Colts for an interview with Arians is a formality, as teams cannot block a coordinator from interviewing for the promotion that a head coaching job is. Only lateral moves can be blocked.

Arians is in his first year with the Colts after serving as the Steelers' offensive coordinator from 2007-2011.  So, he was the play-caller for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a Steelers team that made the playoffs in four of the five years he was offensive coordinator, winning the Super Bowl in one of those years (2008).

The former college quarterback at Virginia Tech was the Steelers' wide receivers coach in 2004-2006, after also being the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2001-2003. He's held plenty of other jobs as an assistant coach on offenses at the college and pro ranks for years, and even was the head coach for Temple University in 1983-1998.

Oh, and his first go-around with the Colts was in 1998-2000... as Peyton Manning's first quarterbacks coach in the NFL.

The 60-year-old has always had a reputation as the NFL's top offensive minds, and he certainly showed this season that he has the leadership qualities necessary for an NFL head coach.

Zach Zaidman with some quotes from Pagano on Arians as a head coaching candidate:





Arians recently explained how he's "not just gonna run away (from his Colts job) to be a head coach":

“We’ll listen to see if it’s right for me and my family. I’m not just gonna run away to be a head coach, I’m not gonna do that,” Arians said. “I want to make sure they have a chance to win and see what the situation is, what city it is in. But definitely would listen, yes.”
Source: Pro Football Talk

The Bears certainly have the best chance to win now (hey, they just won 10 games) of the teams with head coaching vacancies, and Chicago is certainly a great city, within a five-hour drive of his current location (and where I assume his family resides). You would think the Bears' job is the type of situation that would appeal to him.

Arians becomes the seventh name the Bears are known to be looking at for the head coaching job, joining Clements, Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, Cowboys special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, and Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong as candidates.

You'll notice that there are no defensive-minded guys on that list, although Emery did say the Bears would interview such candidates. There's certainly a trend with most of these candidates so far (something I also wrote about last night): offensively-minded and a history of working with great quarterbacks.

I'll leave you with these quotes from Bears veteran tight end Matt Spaeth, who played in Arians' offense with the Steelers from 2007-2010:






UPDATE: Permission granted (although, again, it had to be) and Arians will interview next week.
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