Chicago Bears: Bruce Arians

Will Bears buck the NFL's age trend?

January, 15, 2013
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As word filtered out Monday night on the finalists for the Chicago Bears' coaching job, some of you immediately expressed support for Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Why? Everyone has their reasons, but without a doubt, age is one of them.

Via Twitter, @cubbieBearHawk wrote: "We need a young Innovative mind not senior citizens." Meanwhile, @MikeDBears recognized how unusual his hopes were: "cant believe im rooting for the 2 old guys."

Fans tend to gravitate toward the "young, innovative mind" narrative -- especially for first-time head coaches. And quite frankly, NFL teams do as well. That undeniable fact makes the Bears' other two known finalists -- Marc Trestman and Bruce Arians -- unique.

Bevell is 43, which puts him neatly in the profile of recent NFL hires. Arians, meanwhile, is 60 and Trestman is 57. As silly as it might sound, their ages make them outliers in the candidate pool teams have recently dipped into among candidates who have not been NFL head coaches before. (In the video, ESPN's Adam Schefter implies Trestman could be a finalist for the job.)

I did a quick look Tuesday morning at the ages of the 21 current coaches who -- like Bevell, Trestman and Arians -- had never been NFL head coaches when hired into their jobs. The average age of those men was 45.3 years old, with a range of 34 (Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers) to 51 (Mike Munchak of the Tennessee Titans, Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings and Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts.)

There are seven men who are in their second jobs as NFL head coaches, meanwhile, and Arians is older than all of them were when they were hired. Trestman is older than all but Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who was 58 when he accepted the job.

In a vacuum, I hope we would all argue that age shouldn't be so relevant in a job that should require leadership and experience. But in recent history, at least, it's clear that NFL teams are just as drawn as fans are to young coaches with potential for growth, favoring them over those who -- like Arians and Trestman -- have spent decades working their way through the coaching ranks.

It would take weeks to fully report out the reasons for that trend. I'm sure that identifying with players, energizing fan bases and bringing "new" schemes are all part of the allure.

What we can say is this: The Bears would certainly buck recent NFL thought by hiring Arians -- whose role as the Colts' interim coach this season was temporary and came only after Pagano's bout with leukemia -- or Trestman. I don't think it is the least bit fair to see that kind of ageism taking place, but as I'm sure every NFL coach in recent history has said at some point, it is what it is.

Coach betting on winner among last four

January, 14, 2013
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Of the 13 known candidates interviewed by the Chicago Bears for their head coaching vacancy, at least one expects the club to settle on one of the last four to meet with general manager Phil Emery.

That group consists of offensive coordinators Tom Clements (Green Bay), Rick Dennison (Houston), Darrell Bevell (Seattle), and Bruce Arians (Indianapolis).

"I would bet on one of the last four candidates," said one of the coaches who had already been interviewed.

(Read full post)

Playoff exits push coaching search along

January, 13, 2013
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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
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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

Coach search: Arians remains in hospital

January, 7, 2013
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Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who is considered a strong contender for the Chicago Bears head coaching job, remained in a Baltimore hospital on Monday.

Doctors are waiting for the 60-year-old Arians' blood pressure to stabilize before releasing him.

Emery has been granted permission to interview Arians, who has developed quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck.

Now a week into his search, Emery has interviewed at least five known candidates and requested permission to sit down with a minimum of five more.

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Spaeth: Arians helps QBs succeed

January, 4, 2013
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Ben RoethlisbergerAP Photo/Gene J. PuskarMatt Spaeth said Ben Roethlisberger was upset when Pittsburgh let go of Bruce Arians.
Nobody is more familiar with Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians in the Chicago Bears' locker room than veteran tight end Matt Spaeth, who spent four years and started 46 games (including the postseason) in Arians' offense with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2007-10.

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Who's next? Candidates for Bears coach

December, 31, 2012
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Tim TebowEric Lars Bakke/AP PhotoThe Bears have already asked for permission to talk with Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears announced Monday their decision to go a different direction at the head coaching position, thus ending Lovie Smith's tenure with the club after nine seasons.

Immediately, speculation begins regarding potential Smith successors. Offensive-minded coach? Defensive-minded coach? Nobody knows. Even when general manager Phil Emery speaks Tuesday morning, it's unlikely he'll shed any real light on the club's plans entering this coaching search.

The speedy decision to fire Smith indicates Emery might already know what he wants in a new coach.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler declined to divulge his preference in coaches Monday during "The Jay Cutler Show" on ESPN 1000.

"I've had both (offensive and defensive head coaches)," Cutler said. "There's pluses and minuses to argue each case. I'm not going to give a preference on what I want, what I don't want because I don't really know at this point. I trust Phil and management and George (McCaskey) and those guys to make the best call. They're going to get the best possible head coach and assistant coaches and coordinators they can. So you've got to trust in that."

Chances are the Bears won't look in the direction of former Broncos head coach and current Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who has been linked to the Chicago job and has a past with Cutler. When McDaniels took over as head coach at Denver, he played a role in facilitating Cutler's trade to the Bears.

"That would be awkward," Cutler said. "He's a good coach, and I think it was interesting how it unfolded in Denver. It's in the past. I'm sure he's going to get a shot at it with all the vacancies this year, and how well they've done in New England."

Here's a list of 16 potential candidates for Bears coach:

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