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"....