Emery moves Bears coaching search into round two

Following Sunday’s interview with Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, Chicago Bears General Manager Phil Emery has seemingly completed his initial round of interviews.

To date, 13 known candidates have met with the Bears, and Emery professed to wanting to have a coach in place in time for post-season all-star games. The two most well-known showcases for draft prospects occur over the next two weekends, the Shrine game in Tampa and the Senior Bowl the following weekend in Mobile, Alabama.

Emery is expected to move quickly this week to narrow down the list to two-three finalists. The Bears caught a break when Denver (offensive coordinator Mike McCoy), Green Bay (offensive coordinator Tom Clements, and Houston (offensive coordinator Rick Dennison) lost in the divisional playoffs. All three teams possess applicants that interest Chicago, allowing the Bears to move forward in prospective talks. Each has a background in tutoring and developing quarterbacks, especially McCoy. He adapted systems that Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow both had success in, and then meshed with Peyton Manning this season to help him resurrect his career.

Meanwhile, Arians may have the most complete resume of any candidate. He took control of the Colts after head coach Chuck Pagano was forced into a leave of absence after being diagnosed with leukemia. Arians ably steered Indianapolis to a surprising 9-3 mark, and earned high marks for his efforts. Prior to Indianapolis, he was the longtime offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh and worked extensively to develop Ben Roethlisberger. He also possesses previous head coaching experience in college at Temple. However, age (60) may work against him, and his recent bout with illness could give pause for concern on whether he’s equipped with the 244/7/365 grind of the NFL.

Just a hunch, but the finalists could come from a pool of McCoy, Arians, Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, and either Clements or Dennison. Emery expects to conduct a second round of interviews early this week, with club ownership and team President Ted Phillips taking part. A decision could come by week’s end.

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