Jimmy Raye, director of player personnel for the San Diego Chargers, became the second candidate interviewed by the Bears for their vacant general manager spot. Jason Licht of the New England Patriots went through the process on Monday, with Phil Emery from the Atlanta Falcons and Marc Ross from the New York Giants also scheduled for interviews.
And there also is the case of Tim Ruskell, hired as director of player personnel for the Bears by former GM Jerry Angelo last April. Ruskell is perhaps the most intriguing of the group, in part because he is unquestionably the most qualified based strictly on strength of resume.
All of the other candidates are stepping up to what would be the highest posts in their careers. The Bears have a record of hiring first-timers in their respective jobs, from President Ted Phillips to coach Lovie Smith and Angelo, and extending back to Mike Ditka, Dave Wannstedt, Dick Jauron as well as senior staffers.
But setting aside positives or negatives with Ruskell, he has been a team president, GM, assistant GM and held other senior personnel staff spots. Whatever his merits, all four teams he has worked with (Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Seattle, Chicago) have gone to NFC Championship games.
Whether he was the architect or just a very good lucky charm, thats what the Bears will be deciding in the next week or so.
The Bears are back in Chicago and Tom Brady and the Patriots are in town! With a week of practice wrapping up today, here's what's been happening in the lead up to Sunday's Bears-Pats matchup:
- First and foremost, it looks like Khalil Mack is going to play afterall. That's encouraging news, seeing as he didn't practice once this week. Also because he's very good.
- In more surprising news, Allen Robinson has been held out of practice with a groin injury.
- In less surprising news, the Bears are home underdogs this weekend. Never bet against home 'dogs! Right?!
- If you think it feels like a playoff atmosphere at Soldier this weekend, you're not alone. Kyle Long could'nt agree more.
- Those ticket prices, however, are going to look a lot like playoff ticket prices.
- On the Patriots' side of things, it's hard to tell who's hurt, seeing that like half the team is on the injury report.
- Tom Brady will play, though, and there's a lot of comparisons to be made between Brady and Mitchell Trubisky.
- Bill Belichick has been super complimentary of the Bears all week, and that's surely sincere and not at all mind games, nope.
- He wasn't so kind about the Khalil Mack-Lawrence Taylor comparisons, though.
Khalil Mack has yet to miss a game in his NFL career. He doesn’t plan on breaking that streak on Sunday.
ESPN insider Adam Schefter told the “Kirk and Callahan show” on WEEI in Boston that the Bears expect their star pass rusher to play this week against the New England Patriots.
Mack missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with the ankle injury he suffered last week against the Miami Dolphins.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio indicated this week that the outside linebacker could potentially play even if he doesn’t practice due to the injury.
Assuming Mack does take the field on Sunday, he won’t be 100 percent, and it’s unclear how much of an impact he’ll be able to have.
Last week was his least productive game of the season, and he earned a career-low grade from Pro Football Focus, with two missed tackles and only one pressure generated on 33 pass-rushing snaps.
The Bears are going to need more from Mack to slow down Tom Brady and the Patriots offense that’s averaging nearly 40 points per game over the last three weeks.