Diving Into the Offseason: GM Interviews, Coaching Candidates & the Free Agent List

| January 5th, 2015


  • Bears set to interview Lake Dawson (Tuesday) and Chris Ballard (Wednesday) for their GM position, per Adam Schefter. You know what I’d like to see from the Bears this week? Once they identify the guy they want, hire him. If Ballard is the guy they’ve truly wanted since even before they fired Phil Emery a week ago (as was suggested in multiple locations), don’t let him leave Halas Hall Wednesday without discussing terms of the contract and scheduling the press conference for Thursday morning. The firings of Emery and Trestman were decisive actions by owner George McCaskey. Let’s keep that decisiveness going.
  • Here’s what worries me about Todd Bowles: his sideline demeanor reminds me of Marc Trestman and Lovie Smith and Dick Jauron. Bruce Arians described Bowles as “soft-spoken” and haven’t we seen how sideline stoicism plays in the city of Chicago? You can call this a non-issue if you like but the lack of fire and passion from the Bears has been a major issue over the last two seasons. McCaskey should be looking for a man to change that.
  • Second thought on this. Jim Fassel coached the Giants to a Super Bowl appearance during his time with the Giants but he was a nightmare off the field and was way too lenient with his players inside the locker room. Longtime Giants owner Wellington Mara wanted to follow Fassel with the polar opposite. He went to Tom Coughlin. Giants won two titles.

  • Bears played three of the four remaining teams in the NFC this season (and the Packers twice). They lost those four contests by 82 combined points. So the Bears might be a few bulbs away from the championship chandelier.
  • Jeff Dickerson at ESPN Chicago provided a list of Bears UFAs for 2015. Here it is:

Lance Briggs, OLB

Eben Britton, OG/OT

Jeremy Cain, LS

Jimmy Clausen, QB

Chris Conte, S

Brain de la Puente, C/OG

Jay Feely, K

Austen Lane, DE

Danny McCray, S

Sherrick McManis, CB

Zach Miller, TE

Josh Morgan, WR

Montell Owens, FB

Stephen Paea, DT

Dante Rosario, TE

Trevor Scott, DE

Darryl Sharpton, LB

Charles Tillman, CB

Anthony Walters, S

D.J. Williams, MLB

Who Would I Absolutely Bring Back: (1) If Charles Tillman wants to play another season the Bears should accommodate him with a one-year, incentive laden deal. (2) Darryl Sharpton is a versatile, professional linebacker and I’m a believer that Sharpton and Christian Jones can be stalwarts in the middle of the defense. (3) Sherrick McManis and Jeremy Cain are essential special teams components.

Who Am I Not Sure About: (1) Is Stephen Paea really worth the money he may command on the open market? I am wary of players having career years in contract years. (2) Brian de la Puente would provide versatility for the Bears offensive line but either he or Garza need to be the starting center if he’s signed. I’d prefer seeing the Bears find a young center in the draft. (3) Eben Britton’s usefulness is entirely scheme dependent.

Who Should Be 100% Gone: (1) I wouldn’t re-sign Lance Briggs if he offered to play for veteran minimum. (2) Chris Conte has to go. He is a terrific athlete but his inability to stay healthy coupled with his propensity to make a big mistake in a big moment has come to symbolize the defensive futility of the last two season.

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