Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery hopes to have a new head coach in place by Jan. 19's East-West Shrine game and has a lengthy list of candidates to sort through.
Emery fired Lovie Smith, in part, because of a failure over the years to develop the offense. Therefore, it's no surprise that most of the candidates on the Bears' interview list have offensive backgrounds, with over 25 percent of the NFL's current offensive coordinators on the Bears' list of candidates. The Bears have interviewed Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. Other offensive coordinators on the Bears' list include Pete Carmichael (New Orleans Saints), Tom Clements (Green Bay Packers), Rick Dennison (Houston Texans), Bruce Arians (Indianapolis Colts), Darrell Bevell (Seattle Seahawks) and Montreal Alouettes head coach and quarterback guru Marc Trestman.
Special teams coordinators are also on the Bears' list, as Keith Armstrong (Atlanta Falcons), Joe DeCamillis (Dallas Cowboys), Mike Priefer (Minnesota Vikings) and current Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub are candidates for the job. One defensive coach is in the mix, as Bears Hall of Fame linebacker and former 49ers head coach and current Vikings special assistant to the head coach/linebackers coach Mike Singletary is a candidate, reports Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
Below is a look at the latest in coaching and general manager searches:
Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals have interviewed current defensive coordinator Ray Horton and met with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Saturday. Though no interview has taken place, the Cardinals requested permission to interview Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who was the Cardinals' offensive coordinator from 2007-08. The Cardinals received permission to interview Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, which will take place on Thursday.
Steve Keim, the team's vice president of player personnel, remains the top candidate for the team's general manager position, but is drawing interest from other clubs, including the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers. The Cardinals have also interviewed Washington Redskins director of pro personnel Morocco Brown for the GM post.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills concluded their head coaching search by hiring Syracuse University head coach Doug Marrone, who was introduced by the team on Monday. Marrone is looking for NFL-level coordinators and received permission to interview New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who declined an extension with the Jets during the 2012 season. In addition to Pettine, the Bills are looking to interview Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mel Tucker for their coordinator vacancy.
Carolina Panthers: Owner Jerry Richardson decided that the team made enough progress in the second half of the season to keep head coach Ron Rivera for a third season. Now comes the task of finding a full-time replacement for general manager Marty Hurney. Some candidates have emerged, reports Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Including interim GM Brandon Beane, the Panthers are also looking at New York Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross, Giants senior pro personnel executive Dave Gettleman, Minnesota Vikings assistant general manager George Paton, Montreal Alouettes general manager Jim Popp, andTennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson.
Cleveland Browns: Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner made a run at Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, who opted to remain in the college ranks. While on the hunt for Kelly before last Thursday night's Fiesta Bowl, the Browns interviewed former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisehunt and current Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton and met with Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, who is remaining in college, and Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone, who joined the Bills on Sunday morning. As part of their coaching search "reboot", the Browns are looking at Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman and Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Browns could also pursue ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, who formerly coached the Oakland Raiders and Buccaneers.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Owner Shad Khan had a third meeting with Falcons director of player personnel David Caldwell, who is also drawing interest from the Jets. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Caldwell had a second interview with New York. Other candidates for the Jags' GM job include Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross, San Francisco 49ers director of player personnel Tom Gamble – who backed out of a second interview – and Cardinals vice president of player personnel Steve Keim.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs were the first to hire a new head coach this offseason, reaching a five-year agreement with former Eagles head coach Andy Reid. The Chiefs parted ways with GM Scott Pioli before signing Reid and, contrary to popular belief, the new GM will have control over the team's personnel.
"The general manager has say over personnel, and the head coach has say over coaching the football team, but I want them to be able to work together," Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt said on Monday according to the Kansas City Star.
The top two candidates to replace Pioli have ties to Reid. Packers director of football operations John Dorsey and former Browns GM Tom Heckert, who spent a decade working with Reid in Philadelphia.
New York Jets: The early favorite to land the Jets' GM position is San Francisco 49ers director of player personnel Tom Gamble, who has backed up out of the running in Jacksonville and pushed back his interview with the San Diego Chargers. The Jets will interview Falcons director of player personnel David Caldwell for a second time and reportedly met with Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross and current assistant GM Scott Cohen. Another name mentioned in connection with the Jets' job is Miami Dolphins assistant GM Brian Gaine, who previously played and scouted for the Jets.
The Jets made some coaching changes this week, parting ways with quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles were the runner-up to the University of Oregon on Chip Kelly, who had a nine-hour meeting with the Eagles' brass before deciding to return to Eugene. The Eagles also met with Penn State's Bill O'Brien, who also stayed in school, and interviewed Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong. The Eagles interviewed Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Sunday and have requests to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.
San Diego Chargers: Not much has changed on the Chargers' search for a general manager and head coach. The team remains focused on their search for a GM to replace A.J. Smith. According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the club is expected to decide between current director of player personnel Jimmy Raye or Colts director of player personnel Tom Telesco within "a day or two". The Chargers also interviewed Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross, Cardinals vice president of player personnel Steve Keim and are scheduled to interview 49ers director of player personnel Tom Gamble on Tuesday.
As for their head coaching vacancy, the team interviewed Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone the night before he agreed to become the Bills' head coach. The Chargers are believed to have interest in Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and former Bears head coach Lovie Smith.