Bears interview QB coach Greg Olson
The Chicago Bears announced plans to bring in candidates to interview for the vacant general manager position on Wednesday, but they followed that with an actual interview Thursday of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Greg Olson for the position of passing games/quarterbacks coach, according to an NFL source.
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The team's quarterbacks coach under Dick Jauron in 2003, Olson brings extensive experience on offense to the table. Olson worked in Detroit as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, offensive coordinator in St. Louis, and held those same positions in Tampa Bay before the Buccaneers fired him on Jan. 2, the day after the team finished the season with a 4-12 record.
Olson came into the NFL in 2001, working with Steve Mariucci in San Francisco as quarterbacks coach, after playing a key role in developing Saints quarterback Drew Brees on the collegiate level at Purdue from 1997 to 2001.
During Olson's tenure in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers competed despite featuring one of the NFL's youngest rosters. And despite being elevated late to the coordinator position in 2009, Olson directed an offense that generated 400 yards or more in three games that season.
Olson has also been credited with the rapid development of players such as quarterback Josh Freeman (led all rookie quarterbacks with a 54.9 completion percentage in 2009), receivers Mike Williams (11 touchdown catches as a rookie) and Arrelious Benn, and running back LeGarrette Blount. In 2010, Olson's offense produced Rookie of the Week award nominations on 10 occasions.
It's also unclear where Olson fits among the other rumored candidates, such as front runner Dirk Koetter -- the offensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars -- who is scheduled to interview with the Atlanta Falcons, and University of Miami offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and former Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates.
Sources said new offensive coordinator Mike Tice wants to bring in Koetter for the opening because of their extensive experience together in Jacksonville. But it appears Koetter -- who also recently interviewed for the offensive coordinator's job at Alabama -- will be a hot commodity as the offseason continues to unfold.
Bates and Fisch, meanwhile, both worked with Cutler in Denver, giving them a potential leg up on the other candidates in terms of their ability to work with the quarterback. The team interviewed Fisch in 2007 for the job of quarterbacks coach before settling on Pep Hamilton, who was fired in 2009.
Unless Olson blows the Bears away during Thursday's interview, it's unlikely the team will make an announcement before bringing in any other candidates.
While Tice's input will be considered, ultimately, Bears head coach Lovie Smith will make the final decision on this hire.
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
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