Hours after telling Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy about their firing, Chicago Bears chairman George McCuskey promised that finding their replacements “will lead to the best choice that will lead the Bears to success.”
McCuskey and President and CEO Ted Phillips spoke to the media for an hour Monday afternoon detailing how they would find the next Bears general manager and coach.
Here are five questions they answered during this session.
Who will look for the Bears?
While McCuskey said he would eventually decide on the next general manager and coach, the Bears put together a five-person search committee – McCuskey, Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian, Phillips, VP of Player Relations Lamar Soup Campbell and Senior Vice President. Tanesha Wade, President for Diversity, Justice and Inclusion.
- Polian, 79, spent 32 years in the NFL and served as an executive at the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts. His teams have won the Super Bowl five times, including one with the Colts over the Bears in 2006. His hired trainers included Hall of Famers Tony Dungi and Marv Levy, as well as House Capers and Jim Caldwell.
McCuskey began consulting with Polian during the season as he tried to determine the fate of Pace and Nagy.
“In our first conversations with Bill, I was amazed at how well he understood the game and even our situation,” McCuskey said. “When we called him for no reason, he asked us detailed questions about our squad, about our situation with injuries of specific players. He was very aware of the game in general and the bear situation in particular. So I think we’ll be in good hands, relying on Bill to help us make that decision. ”
- Phillips has been President and CEO of the Bears since 1999 and saw the team hire three general managers and five head coaches. During his tenure, the Bears made the playoffs six times and lost 10 or more games nine times.
“I trust Ted unconditionally,” McCuskey said. “Because I have a lot of respect for his judgment, his analytical skills, his flair when it comes to the people we interview, and in the end he will be negotiating the GM and head coach contracts.”
- Campbell is a former NFL quarterback with the Detroit Lions. The Bears hired him in 2017 to work with players, and he is willing to help the Bears determine how candidates will lead players.
“He talks to the players every day in the locker room, what is important, what is on their minds, what worries them, what they are happy about,” Phillips said. “It will help you better understand how the locker room can respond to different coaching styles, different leadership styles.”
- Wade began her career with the Bears as Director of Events and Entertainment and was transferred to a new position in the fall. Her involvement is integral to the Bears’ efforts to review a diverse pool of candidates.
“Tanesha, she is very smart and she will help us accommodate the diversity of opinions and the implicit bias that many people have when trying to hire a leader, be it a coach or a general manager,” Phillips said.
How will the searches go?
McCuskey said the Bears will have “long lists” of candidates for both positions.
The Bears have already begun preparing for Monday’s interviews. According to numerous reports, they reached out to Colts College Scouting Director Brown Morocco, Cleveland Browns VP of Football Operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Browns VP of Player Personnel Glenn Cook for an interview with the general manager, as well as a former coach. Philadelphia Eagles to Doug Pederson, Buffalo Bills quarterback. Coordinator Leslie Fraser and Offensive Bills Coordinator Brian Daboll for coach interview.
Pederson, Fraser and Daboll are notable for showing that the bears interview coaches before deciding on a grandmaster. McCuskey said the Bears would prefer hiring the CEO first.
“But if we see a head coach candidate that we think is the right fit, we’ll do our best to get him in the house,” McCuskey said.
McCuskey hopes that the diversity of the interview room experience will lead to the productive conversations needed to select the right people.
“We’re looking forward to having a frank and free conversation,” McCuskey said. “Bill said that when he interviewed Tony Dunga, he knew in the first 12 minutes that Tony was his boyfriend, and they continued talking about football for another eight hours. So we look forward to having such detailed conversations. ”
What qualities do they look for in a grandmaster and a coach?
McCuskey has repeatedly emphasized that the bears are open-minded about what they want from the CEO and coach.
He said that interviews with coaches “will not be limited to philosophy, outline, whether the candidate has experience on the offensive, defensive or special teams side, whether the candidate has previous experience as a head coach, whether the candidate has college experience. game or professional game, or financial considerations. ”
When asked if someone associated with bears would make him more comfortable, he said it would depend “on who that person was and what their vision of bears is.” And he also said the Bears are open to different approaches to how to succeed on the pitch, whether through perestroika or with much of their current group.
McCuskey referred to Polian’s book Super Bowl Schemes several times in his search responses, including when he said the bears are looking for leaders as general managers and coaches.
“(Polian) said he was amazed at how (how) great teams have coaches who are respected by the players,” McCuskey said of the book. “They shouldn’t love him, they shouldn’t love him, but they respect him. Thus, the main quality that we will look for in both the general manager and the head coach is leadership. ”
He said the Bears are committed to “fairness in the process” as they take diversity into account when hiring.
“As a member of the Diversity Committee (NFL), I hear all the time that people just want a fair trial,” McCuskey said. “This is not a specific result as long as people get a fair shake-up. The same quality interview as any other candidate, the same opportunity to be heard as any other candidate. This is an important part of the process. We don’t know what the result will be. ”
How is this search different from the latest Grandmaster Bears search?
Following the 2014 season, the Bears hired former NFL CEO Ernie Accorsi to help them on their quest that eventually led to the hiring of Pace and coach John Fox.
So the inclusion of Polian seems familiar.
“The change in the interview room is that we have three new people in the room, so we took advantage of their point of view,” McCuskey said.
The larger announced change is that the new general manager will report to McCuskey rather than Phillips, who is focusing on the Bears’ potential purchase of the former Arlington International Racetrack as a possible location for the new stadium.
However, Phillips will still be looking. He said he thinks he has learned a lot from participating in other pursuits.
“I don’t regret hiring Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy,” Phillips said. “They both brought a lot to the Bears. Ultimately, on the pitch, the results were not what we wanted to be, but they met many requirements. You cannot ask for better leaders, you cannot ask for more forward-thinking thinkers, you cannot ask people who gave their best, had a high work ethic, were humble, and I am going to look for those very qualities a lot.
“And we hope that with Bill’s extensive experience, technical aspects of coaching strategy and assessment processes, this will add a nice added value to our search and help us find the right people.”
How does quarterback Justin Fields affect?
Fields, drafted 11 by Pace in the spring, had a not-so-good rookie season under Nagy, going 2-8 in the starting lineup, shooting 1,870 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Noting that he is “not a football appraiser,” McCuskey said he sees “a dynamic player with great potential, great ability, a big heart and a strong work ethic.”
“We are looking for a general manager and head coach who can develop not only the quarterback position, but the talent around him, creating a strong defense to help the quarterback and lead the Bears to success,” McCuskey said.
However, McCuskey said Fields will not be involved in the search. He also tried not to insist that the new CEO or coach be fascinated by Fields, refusing to hypothesize candidates who might have gone in a different direction as quarterback.
“We do not know what the candidates said because we haven’t talked to any of them yet,” he said. “We want to know what their plans are for this position with the Bears.”