In his press conference with reporters on Tuesday morning, Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery indicated that he would like to hire a new head coach within the next three weeks. Emery’s goal is to be standing side by side with the new head coach of the Bears at the college all-star games on January 19. Emery already should be applauded with the sense of urgency that he is operating under while conducting the search for the Bears’ new head coach.
Immediately after the his press conference, Emery was taken to the airport and took a flight to Atlanta. Emery spent most of Tuesday interviewing Atlanta Falcons’ special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong. Before we go into detail on Armstrong, there is something that should be said about the legitimacy of his candidacy. First, Armstrong is an African American. That is the only thing that makes him similar to former Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith. Armstrong has been classified as a high-motor guy that always generates a response from his players. Emery’s interview of Armstrong would also fulfill the requirement of the Rooney rule. However, Armstrong is a legitimate candidate for the Bears’ head coaching vacancy.
Emery is spending Wednesday interviewing Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. Sullivan is reportedly meeting with Emery in Atlanta. Sullivan has been described as quick riser within the National Football League. Sullivan has gone from a wide receivers coach to a quarterbacks coach with the New York Giants and now an offensive coordinator. Sullivan has been credited with improving the production level from Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning and Buccaneers’ quarterback Josh Freeman. Sullivan certainly has earned a reputation for himself over recent seasons, though a promotion to a head coach position may be premature for Sullivan. For that reason, Sullivan may not be the Bears’ primary target.
This weekend, Emery will be interviewing at least two head coaching candidates. On Saturday, Emery will interview Dallas Cowboys’ special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis. DeCamillis is certainly no stranger to head coaching vacancies, as the coordinator has been linked to open head coaching positions in recent seasons. Last off-season, DeCamillis was a candidate for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coaching position. Also this weekend, Emery will interview Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. Personally, I have a sneaking suspicion that McCoy may be the Bears’ primary target.
At some point in the coming week, the Bears’ will interview Green Bay Packers’ offensive coordinator Tom Clements. The Bears had interest in Clements in 2010 to replace Ron Turner as their offensive coordinator, however, the Packers were allowed to deny the Bears’ request because the position was not a head coaching position. The Packers are unable to pull such a maneuver this time around because the Bears’ interest in Clements is as a prospective head coach.
It is important to remember that Emery is going to be thorough in his search for the Bears’ next head coach. The Bears are believed to have interest in Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, New Orleans Saints’ offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, and Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien. Though, no interviews have been scheduled for those three prospective candidates.
Expect more candidates to emerge for the Bears’ head coaching position over the coming week.