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The Chicago Bears fired their long-standing head coach, Lovie Smith, on Monday, following a 10-6 season in which the Bears once again failed to make the playoffs and collapsed for the second year in a row, according to Chicago Bears.
Although the swift move truly surprised me—I had written Sunday why I thought Lovie would return—in the end, his inability to beat the Packers, combined with his being unable to get an offense going, along with five seasons in six that the Bears failed to make the playoffs all probably contributed to his demise.
We have talked before about whether such a move signifies a total overhaul or just a new coach running the same defense with upgrades where needed (read: offensive line).
But no matter what direction the Bears end up going—be it a total overhaul or trying to contend next season—I feel the Bears need to get with the modern NFL and find a head coach who understands offense.
I like that Phil Emery is wasting no time in finding Smith's successor. The Bears are probably second only to San Diego in terms of the attractiveness of head coaching jobs in the NFL, but it's still better to strike while the iron's hot.
That said, here are my latest odds. Check back often as I will be updating this article as information becomes available.
Update: According to this report, the Bears interviewed Toub on Monday, so I have raised his odds.
Update: This report indicates that Emery will select two finalists this coming week and bring them to Halas Hall. But since Arians remains in the hospital, I wonder if that will affect his timeframe.
Yes, believe it or not, Singletary is the latest candidate, but he is believed to be just a favor for the McCaskey family. He is the only defensive-oriented candidate thus far. He was known as an old school, Ditka-like coach with the Niners. He also was, of course, a Hall of Fame MLB for the Bears during their Super Bowl run.
Priefer is another candidate announced on Monday. Currently the Vikings special teams coach, he has also coached for Denver and Kansas City. He is 46 years old and attended Navy.
He was the OC for Denver when Jay Cutler had his 4,500 yard passing season.
Update: A new candidate has emerged. According to this report, Emery will meet with Trestman, a Canadian Football League coach. He also has considerable NFL experience and is known as a QB guru.
But he recently signed an extension with the Montreal Alouettes, so there is no certainty that he would even be able to take the job if it is offered. It would be quite the "out of the box" type of pick and I just don't see it happening. But he apparently will interview, so he has a chance.
Update: Carmichael scheduled to interview on Thursday.
Update: A new candidate has emerged, one that I had previously written about. Clements is the OC for the Packers. Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
I don't know about this guy, though, as he has been an OC for just one season and he doesn't call the plays. But the Bears were interested in him before, so who knows?
Update 4pm CT: According to Fox's Jay Glazer, the Bears have sought permission to speak to McCoy, so at this point he must be listed as one of the two early favorites for the job.
Update #2: Now that McCoy is being mentioned as a coaching candidate for other teams, and the Bears have added more candidates of their own, his odds have decreased slightly.
Update: McCoy is scheduled to interview over the weekend. But he is a hot commodity so Bears will have lots of competition for his services.
McCoy has been the OC for the Broncos since 2009. Kyle Orton had a career year under him, and he's young (40), so the Bears could build around him.
Update: Emery will interview Sullivan on Wednesday according to this report.
Update: Sullivan's interview, originally scheduled for three hours, took six hours. Perhaps a good sign for him?
According to a league source, ESPN is saying that the Bears have asked for permission to interview Tampa Bay Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.
Sullivan has moved up quickly, from wide receivers coach to QB coach to OC in just four years. Tampa's offense finished ninth in the league, and QB Josh Freeman struggled down the stretch.
Update: According to this report, DeCamillis will meet with Emery on Saturday.
Perhaps Emery is going the historical route, as the last time the Bears hired a special teams coach away from the Cowboys, it was Da Coach himself.
The 47 year-old DeCamillis has coached for four other teams and he has ties to Emery when both worked for Atlanta.
Update 4pm CT: According to this report by Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com, the Bears have a meeting planned with Armstrong, so he must be listed as a current co-favorite with McCoy, as those are the only names we've heard thus far.
Update 7:57pm CT: As more names roll in, there are signals that this could be a Rooney-rule interview, so I'm dropping the odds a bit.
Armstrong is currently the special teams coordinator for the Falcons. He has a history with Emery as he was the special teams coach for the Bears while Emery served as a scout. They were also together in Atlanta for one season.
I hate to bring this up, but this could be a "Rooney-rule" interview, though his previous connections to Emery gives him equal odds as the other announced candidates.
Roman is the OC for the 49ers. I haven't heard his named mentioned around the Bears circle but he would be an interesting candidate.
Shanahan is the son of longtime coach Mike Shanahan, so he has the lineage. He worked well with Matt Schaub in Houston, but it's his work with Robert Griffin III and Kyle Cousins in Cincinnati that is garnering the most attention and making him a hot coaching commodity.
Update: His name has not been mentioned in connection with the Bears job.
Update: Koetter has withdrawn his name from any head coaching opportunities, per this report.
He is known for a vertical passing attack, and in his first season with Jacksonville, the offense set team records for points, touchdowns and TD passes.
Update: The Bears have finally asked for permission to interview Arians, so I will improve his odds a bit.
Update 11:21pm: According to this report at NFL.com, the Chargers are interested in Arians. Since San Diego is the top opening in the league, that should appeal to Arians, so he may be off the market soon. Plus, the Bears have not mentioned his name so far.
Arians did a terrific job with the Indianapolis Colts after Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with cancer. With Pagano's return, Arians will be looking for a head coaching opportunity elsewhere.
His only drawback is that he's on the older side at 60. But I like him, although he will be in high demand by any team looking for a coach.
This would be the first time the Bears had brought in a college coach, so it's another long shot. Still, he will get looks from NFL teams this offseason, just as he did last offseason when he almost signed with the Bucs.
If you don't know who Kelly is, he is currently the head coach at Oregon and is considered a brilliant offensive innovator. Even Bill Belichick has sought his advice.
He is a big believer in the no-huddle offense, using just one word to signify the play-call.
Other than former coaches like Reid or Gruden, Toub is probably the least likely candidate. I believe that Emery wants to clean house, but he must be included here because he is an outstanding special teams coach and will get consideration by other teams, so the Bears should at least offer him an interview.
Billick has everything the Bears should be looking for in a coaching candidate, but the big questions are how much money and control would Billick want and is he even interested in returning to the NFL?
I haven't heard any links to him with any NFL teams, so I consider this one another long shot.
Gruden is probably not going to be Bears' next head coach. He wants too much money and control, and his ego goes through the roof. However, he is a solid coach with credentials (Super Bowl win), and he understands offense. He seems to truly like Jay Cutler, too.
Still, he is a real long shot.
Update: Reid appears close to signing with one of two teams.
Update: Reid is close to signing with Kansas City.
Update: Reid signed with the Chiefs.
The wounds may be too fresh, as he is just coming off a rough year with the Philadelphia Eagles. I expect Reid to spend a year in the TV booth before deciding to coach anywhere.
A good offensive mind, but another long shot, in my opinion.