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Another Round of Coaching Interviews Needed

Analysis: After the Bears hired Kansas City's Ryan Poles as general manager on Tuesday, it became apparent the franchise was about to commit another silly mistake.

The Bears hired Ryan Poles as general manager on Tuesday and it doesn't mean they've stepped beyond the problem.

In fact, they're right on course for this disaster unless they let the 36-year-old new GM pick or at least have a big voice in choosing the new head coach.

Already there are plenty of indications he'll have no real voice in this, and the Bears will be doomed to repeating the cycle of idiocy which has led to no playoff victories since the 2010 season.

The mistake they're about to repeat is forcing a coach on the GM whom he does not really want.

It last occurred when Pace was hired. They feared a 37-year-old GM lacked enough experience to completely hire the head coach on his own, so ownership "aimed" Pace in the direction of 60-year-old coach John Fox.

Under Fox, the Bears went 14-34 in three seasons and then they let Pace hire his own coach, Matt Nagy.

The Bears could very well be doing this type of thing again. In fact, it looks this way with three finalists for coach already named before the announcement has become official for GM.

The only offensive coach among the three finalists is 67-year-old Jim Caldwell, who hasn't been in the NFL since his firing following the 2017 season. He did briefly return in 2019 when hired by Brian Flores in Miami as offensive assistant but quit for "health concerns."

An offensive side head coach seemed a given at one time because of the need to develop quarterback Justin Fields, but with only one aging prospect on that side of the ball it could mean a defensive coach who has a good idea what he would do on offense and connections around the league to bring in the offensive minds necessary. That could mean Dan Quinn as coach.

Perhaps it means rising star Matt Eberflus, the Colts defensive coordinator. He hasn't had Quinn's great success yet as defensive coordinator for a Super Bowl champion team but is well respected.

One other candidate they were originally intending to speak with on Tuesday was Dennis Allen, the New Orleans defensive coordinator. His status suddenly took a drastic turn with the announcement of Sean Payton's retirement. Allen could be the instant favorite to be the new Saints head coach and isn't in the Bears hunt.

Regardless, none of these candidates were the new general manager's choice to be finalists.

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Beard chairman George McCaskey said at the outset the ideally the GM would be hired first. He didn't say the GM then would ideally hire the coach.

Instead, they're going to force a coach on him like they did in 2015, it would appear.

A repeating cycle of Bears misery starts over.

The only fair and intelligent way to handle this now is for the new GM to get a candidate or two added to the list and then for him to conduct his own interviews of all the finalists from his own list and the list formed by Bill Polian and his hiring committee. 

There is no need for hand-holding here. If Poles isn't capable of doing this on his own, perhaps they made a mistake in hiring him.

It's difficult enough to take over the GM job with a team that doesn't have a first-round draft pick in Year 1. The Bears need to help him out by getting out of his way so he can decide who his first coach is going to be.

During his press conference announcing this search, McCaskey explained that he had felt uncomfortable talking with Matt Nagy about who should play quarterback for the team when they switched to Justin Fields.

"I said that I was uncomfortable that Matt was even asking my opinion about who should be the starting quarterback of the Chicago Bears because that is entirely a coaching decision," McCaskey said.

The general manager's equivalent to the coaching decision on who plays quarterback is who the head coach will be. 

McCaskey needs to feel uncomfortable about that decision, as well, and just let Poles make the call.

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