Chicago Bears: Keith Armstrong

Playoff exits push coaching search along

January, 13, 2013
1/13/13
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Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery acknowledged Jan. 1 that in his search for a new head coach "the playoffs are a consideration," but that potential roadblock appears to have come down Sunday with the conclusion of the divisional round of the postseason.

[+] EnlargeDenver's Mike McCoy
Byron Hetzler/US PRESSWIREDenver's Mike McCoy is one of four offensive coordinators whose season ended this weekend, opening the door for the Bears to move forward in their coaching search.
Of the known candidates, four coached for teams that lost in the divisional round, a group consisting of four offensive coordinators: Seattle's Darrell Bevell, Houston's Rick Dennison, Green Bay's Tom Clements and Mike McCoy of the Denver Broncos. The losses by the Seahawks, Texans, Packers and Broncos open up availability for those coaches to talk more in the coming days, with Emery expected to move into the next phase of the process. He'll probably pick two to three finalists for second interviews that will also involve team president Ted Phillips and Bears chairman George McCaskey.

"There may be a candidate that's in the playoffs and may be unavailable to us (that) we may have to wait out," Emery said. "After we're at the point where we feel good (that) we have quality candidates to select two or three as finalists, we will either have them come to us or go to them so we can have an opportunity for them to talk to George or to talk to Ted and that George and Ted can interact with them and get a feel for them. At the end, the final decision will be mine."

The timeline for Emery making the choice seems now to be a little less difficult.

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Bears' coaching search: End of 1st round?

January, 13, 2013
1/13/13
11:53
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By the end of Sunday, it's possible the Chicago Bears will have concluded their first round of interviews in what has already been an epic coaching search. Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was scheduled to be the 13th known candidate to speak with general manager Phil Emery. If there are more first-round interviews scheduled, they haven't been reported.

My educated guess is that some interviews have been completed in secrecy, so I wouldn't be surprised if Emery has spoken with 15 or more candidates. We've discussed the possibility that Emery is using this opportunity to pick the brains of as many smart assistant coaches as he can, but I think we have also seen an undeniable quality emerge as well.

Here's how Tennessee Titans general manger Ruston Webster put it last week during an interview with my AFC South colleague Paul Kuharsky on 104.5-FM in Nashville: "I know Phil Emery, and Phil Emery is about as thorough of a human being as I've ever known."

Meanwhile, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, two of the coaches Emery has spoken with said "they never have interviewed with anyone as prepared and detailed" as him.

So before we try to ascribe some kind of ulterior motive to Emery's approach, and rather than conclude he is flailing blindly in the night, perhaps this search is best viewed as a physical extension of Emery's meticulous personality. Where and when it ends remains anyone's guess. Former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson tweeted that Emery favored his former assistant, current Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman, but nothing more has come of what appears to be Johnson's personal view.

For the record, here are the Bears' Lucky 13 to this point:
  1. Arians
  2. Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong
  3. Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell
  4. New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr.
  5. Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements
  6. Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis
  7. Houston Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison
  8. Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy
  9. Minnesota Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer
  10. Vikings special assistant to the head coach Mike Singletary.
  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan
  12. Trestman
  13. Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub

Source: Bears to talk to Armstrong

December, 31, 2012
12/31/12
3:32
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Keith ArmstrongKim Klement/USA TODAY SportsKeith Armstong and Phil Emery have ties from a previous stints with the Bears and Falcons.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- In the aftermath of the firing Monday of Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith, the club has already set up an interview with Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, according to an NFL source.

The timeline for the expected interview is unclear with Armstrong in the midst of preparations for his team's Jan. 13 divisional round playoff game.

Armstrong, 47, worked for the Bears from 1997-2000 under Dave Wannstedt, and later Dick Jauron. For three years during Armstrong's tenure with the Bears (1998-2000), current general manager Phil Emery served as the club's area scout. Armstrong and Emery also worked three years together in Atlanta (2009-11), where the special teams coach groomed current Bears receiver Eric Weems into a Pro Bowl special teams player.

By interviewing Armstrong, the Bears satisfy conditions of the Rooney Rule, established in 2003, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operations openings. Given Emery's history with Armstrong it is unlikely the general manager is simply adhering to the rule, meaning there's a good chance his interest is genuine.

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