It has been a rough go for the Bears in their search to replace the fired Ron Turner. The next coordinator will have his hands full, helping Jay Cutler turn around a miserable inaugural season with the Bears while also having to work with mostly inexperienced receivers and a weak offensive line.
That said, it appears the main reason for the prolonged search may be that candidates are hesitant to come to the Bears knowing that head coach Lovie Smith might be in his last season unless the team's fortunes turn around.
Meanwhile, Lovie-mentor Mike Martz sits on the sideline and waits, in a somewhat curious position. Martz had expressed interest in the job and obviously has ties to Smith, yet he was last heard giving the Bears a referral on Bengals quarterback coach Ken Zampese.
No word yet on whether Zampese, who interviewed last week, is still a candidate, but one would have to figure that if he had blown the Bears away, they would have signed him already.
One person who apparently is no longer a candidate is Rob Chudzinski, who emerged over the past week. The Chargers tight end coach will not be hired, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Other potential candidates for the job include Paul Hackett, Bill Musgrave, and, if the Packers change their mind, Tom Clements.
Hackett has been an O-coordinator and QB coach in the NFL and, with a quarterback-centric background, could be a good fit with Cutler.
Clements is the quarterback coach in Green Bay, so the Bears job would be a promotion for him, but so far the Packers have denied the Bears permission to speak to him.
As for Hue Jackson, the Ravens quarterback coach, the team would need Baltimore's permission to speak with him about the job. More importantly, however, he is also interviewing with the Oakland Raiders for their head coaching gig.
Jackson is said to have played a major role in the development of Carson Palmer and now Joe Flacco with the Ravens.
If the Bears lose out on Jackson, it won't be the first time they have been left at the altar. First choice (and former Cutler coach) Jeremy Bates decided to follow Pete Carroll to Seattle.
Martz may end up being a face-saving hire for Smith after all.