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Sunday, January 10, 2010
On Bates, Fisch and Frazier

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

A few coaching notes in the NFC North:

Conventional wisdom suggests that Pete Carroll will take Southern California offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates with him to Seattle. If that happens, Chicago would lose one of its top candidates to replace Ron Turner as its offensive coordinator.

But Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports Bates might not be Carroll’s first choice. Longtime assistant Norm Chow, who worked for Carroll at Southern California as well with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, is also getting strong consideration. That leaves the Bears in play for Bates’ services.

A Bates-Jedd Fisch reunion in Chicago has been discussed. Fisch, like Bates a former Denver assistant when quarterback Jay Cutler was there, is currently the offensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota. But Fisch could end up in Washington with former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan.

Finally, a word on Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s interview Saturday with the Seahawks. I know many people think Frazier shouldn’t have agreed to what seemed a token interview to satisfy the NFL’s Rooney Rule requirement. To me, that would have been short-sighted reaction.

First, let’s be clear: The Rooney Rule worked in this case. The rule wasn’t established to prevent teams from prioritizing candidates. Its intent was to force them to cast a wider net. Without the Rooney Rule, Frazier might never have gotten in front of Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke. Other than taking four hours out of Frazier’s day, there is no downside to that dynamic.

Even if Carroll ultimately becomes the Seahawks coach, who knows? Maybe some day, Leiweke will be the CEO of another team that doesn’t have strong feelings about a particular candidate. Maybe Frazier’s four-hour effort Saturday would pay off then.

Second, Carroll’s past decision-making has been mercurial. Frazier was wise to put himself in line as a rebound candidate in the event discussions broke down with the Seahawks. It’s happened before. Bill Parcells was once expected to be Tampa Bay’s coach. So was Steve Mariucci.

OK, that’s the end of my Sunday morning rant. Carry on.