Bears

What Emery is asking prospective Bears' head coaches

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What Emery is asking prospective Bears' head coaches

So I've been asked a lot about why Phil Emery is interviewing so many different coaches for the Bears' vacant head coaching position.

The purpose of talking with so many guys is simply to learn as much as possible. Whether it be about offensive systems, philosophies or even other assistant coaches, there is a method to the madness.

Head coaching interviews are as detailed as, or more than, any job in sports or otherwise. Some key topics that are always discussed in these interviews include systems style on both offense and defense.

Since most of the coaches being interviewed by the Bears are offensive guys, they may lay out a good chunk of what they do in terms of utilizing personnel and their overall system. Some coaches will have an entire power point presentation.

One thing every prospective head coach brings to an interview is a long list of potential assistants he would pursue to join his staff. He may include dozens of guys since many may be under contract and unable to leave their current jobs. The list is dissected by the GM and there may even be coaches the GM says he won't accept for various reasons. By seeing the same names pop up on different candidate's lists, GMs can learn who the most highly respected assistant coaches are.

Other topics that are sure to be open for discussion include: how do they practice, meet and discipline players? Oftentimes a coach will have an entire mock practice schedule for the season prepared, from the responsibilities of the assistants to whether the head coach will play the role of the CEO and allow his coordinators to run their sides of the ball or if the coach is going to be a play-caller and oversee his expertise.

The size of the staff is also a big topic. Can the head coach have assistants to assistants, such as an assistant defensive backs coach or offensive assistant, which are not quality control jobs? How many video people are on staff? What is the size of the training staff and other support people? Salaries of assistants have become important. Many teams pay their coordinators at or near the one million mark and the top assistants receive around a half million.

In the Bears' case, the subject of Jay Cutler will definitely be debated. If the head coach isn't sold on Jay after a year, he may want to know if he's tied to him for the long haul. The new coach may want to draft a young QB or look to the market for a possible replacement. Despite being considered a franchise QB, any good coach will look at the number of coordinators he's had and his production.

The new head coach will certainly want to have some say on personnel, even though Emery will have the final say. No coach wants to feel helpless when it comes to the players he's given.

I could go on and on, but that's just a small amount of what takes place during a Head Coaching interview. The more people Phil Emery talks to, the more information he gains, which helps lead to a very informed decision. It's a much better formula than picking one guy and saying "that's my guy"....

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

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USA TODAY

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

The Bears placed Leonard Floyd on injured reserve Thursday morning, ending the second-year outside linebacker’s season following a knee injury suffered Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Floyd suffered an MCL and PCL injury and will have surgery in the next week, coach John Fox said, and the Bears do not have a timetable for his recovery yet. But that Floyd didn't suffer damage to his ACL is potentially good news for Floyd's recovery timetable. 

Still, with Floyd on injured reserve and out for the season, the Bears’ current outside linebacker depth chart consists of two veterans (Pernell McPhee and Sam Acho) and two practice squad signees (Isaiah Irving and Howard Jones). These final six games of the 2017 season could serve as auditions for all four players for roles on the 2018 Bears. 

If every team needs at least three good pass rushers, the Bears can count on Akiem Hicks and Floyd for 2018, provided Floyd comes back healthy. But who’s the third?

The Bears could save about $7.5 million in cap space if they release McPhee in 2018; if they were to cut ties with Willie Young, who’s on injured reserve right now as well, it would provide $4.5 million in cap relief. McPhee will be 29 in December, while Young will turn 33 next September. 

The Bears won’t necessarily need the cap relief next year, and could certainly decide to keep both players, who’ve shown they’re still productive when healthy. But even if both players are back, the Bears may need to add another outside linebacker via free agency of the draft — remember, the team could’ve began the season with Floyd, Young, McPhee, Acho and Lamarr Houston as their outside linebackers; an injury Houston suffered in the fourth preseason game ended his time in Chicago. 

Needs at wide receiver and cornerback are pressing, but outside linebacker may need to be in that same conversation. If the Bears have a top-10 pick for the fourth consecutive year, plus some cap space, they perhaps could have the ability to address all three needs in March and April. 

That may be looking a little too far into the future, though. The best-case for the Bears is McPhee finishes the season strong and Irving and/or Jones shows something in the opportunities they receive in these final six games (Jones, for what it’s worth, had five sacks as a rookie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015). But the worst-case — and perhaps the most realistic — is that the Bears go into the offseason needing to fill at least one pass-rushing spot. 

Under Center Podcast: Can Mitch Trubisky follow Carson Wentz’s path to stardom?

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Under Center Podcast: Can Mitch Trubisky follow Carson Wentz’s path to stardom?

JJ Stankevitz and John “Moon” Mullin are joined by NBC Sports Philadelphia Eagles reporter Dave Zangaro to offer an encouraging connection between Carson Wentz’s growth and that of Mitchell Trubisky.

Check out the entire podcast here: