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January 14, 2:00 PM ET


Jeff Dickerson
  (1:59 PM)

Really happy to spend some time with everybody and talk Bears/coaching search. Let's begin...

John Chicago [via mobile]

Who do you see as the front runner and your top three

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:04 PM)

I think it's obvious it's going to be a coach with an offensive background. For me, I need a strong-willed personality that can deal with Jay Cutler and re-shape the offense, plus hold the attention of all the veterans on offense. My No. 1 choice is Bruce Arians. What he did in Indianapolis this year under tough circumstances was amazing. He's respected, with street cred. I think that's important when it comes to dealing with Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, etc. So my list goes as follows:1. Arians2. McCoy3. Mike Sullivan / Marc TrestmanBut should the Bears really have to settle for their 3rd choice? I think now is the time Phil Emery needs to move quickly and get the right guy in place.

Matt (Colorado)

So much searching and interviews... Seems to show some uncertainty. Am I wrong?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:08 PM)

Matt, there are two schools of thought. The first being that Emery is wise to interview so many candidates to stockpile information the team could use in the future. The second being the Bears are having a difficult time identifying the proper candidate, which would beg the question why did the club fire Lovie Smith in the first place? But I believe the Bears top choice was a coach whose team was in the postseason, and instead of waiting around doing nothing, the Bears chose to be proactive and meet with all these candidates for the sake of learning. Maybe Arians' health issue futher pushed back the timeline. Keep that in mind.

Mike Luna/ Brighton CO [via mobile]

Who is your #1 guess who is the Bears top head coaching candidate? And please tell me Mike Tice Will Not be the offensive coordinator next year! thanks You Da Man

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:10 PM)

I would be surprised if Mike Tice is the offensive coordinator next year especially if the Bears hire an offensive mind as we suspect. It just didn't work out for Tice. He'll find another job, or maybe the Bears keep him to run the OL. Either way, I don't see him calling plays next year for the Bears.

Kyle C. (Fort Wayne, IN)

With all of the players on the current roster set to become free agents, who do you see as the #1 - #2 priority signings?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:14 PM)

Good question, Kyle. I can think of 3 UFAs that merit priority signings. The first is Henry Melton, although I don't believe the Bears want to overpay Melton, so there is a chance he could test the market. If Melton gets a great offer in free agency, maybe he leaves, but I think the Bears would like to keep him. The second is Nick Roach. He had a solid year and no matter what scheme the Bears run on defense next year, Roach is athletic enough to thrive in it. Finally, the Bears need to think about bringing back Lance Louis, if his health checks out okay after the torn ACL.

David (Shorewood)

Why have we not tried to get an interview with the Patriots offensive coordinator? I know he's in his first year, but obviously he knows a thing or two about one of the leagues best offense. I love that hurry-up keep defenses off balance style of play. Thank you for your time, Jeff and I hope all is well.

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:16 PM)

David, the Patriots OC is Josh McDaniels. His relationship with Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall is poor, at best.

Drew (Chicago)

Do you think Lovie will ink a head coaching job this offseason? If so where?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:19 PM)

I'm starting to have my doubts. Kansas City, Buffalo and Cleveland are taken. Arizona never came calling. He did interview with SD and Philly, but no word whether or not he's got a legit shot to get the job. Maybe JAX? I'm really surprised that a NFL head coach with 84 wins in 9 years is being passed over by Doug Marrone and Rob Chudzinski. Maybe Lovie isn't interviewing well. I really don't know.

Scott (elmhurst, Il)

I think Rod Marinelli needs to come back as the defensive coordinator, do you agree? Thanks

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:21 PM)

I believe a lot of people in the Bears' organization would like for Marinelli to stay. If Smith gets a job, then Marinelli will leave, I think we can all agree on that. But if Smith doesn't get a job, then it's up to Marinelli. Does he stay in Chicago and coach next year or resign? Tough call. If it were me, I'd probably stay and coach out my contract. But Marinelli is very loyal to Lovie and was hurt when Smith got fired.

Kyle (Columbus)

I want you to know I guarantee Ryan Clady in a Bears uniform next year. You heard it here first. Your thoughts and am I crazy?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:22 PM)

Great. Cutler will be thrilled!

Neil (San Diego)

Do you think the Bears try hard to bring back Izzy Idonije? He graded out very well this past year and only cost a couple million

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:25 PM)

Idonije can still play. You're right, Neil. Maybe it depends on what kind of deal that can get him to sign for. Izzy came back last year on a 1-year contract (which surprised me a little) but if they can write up a similar contract, I see now reason why the Bears wouldn't consider bringing him back. Now, it does seem like Corey Wootton is ready to take that next step, and Shea McClellin is going to get his chances being a former first round pick, but you can never have enough good defensive linemen. Despite his age, Idonije is still pretty solid, in my opinion.

Carlos Hammond [via mobile]

Do you think manti t'eo will drop far enough in the draft for the Bears to pick him up and eventually full the spot of Brian Urlacher?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:28 PM)

Unless the Bears trade up to the get him, I do not believe Manti Te'o will be there at No. 20.

Omer (Princeton) [via mobile]

Why doesn't Emery have any interest in the 49ers offensive coordinator? He seems to be doing pretty well in the postseason.

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:29 PM)

Maybe he does. Not every name on the list has been leaked out.

Josh (Montana) [via mobile]

Isn't Marinelli under contract? So if lovie gets a job, he can't just take Marinelli away?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:30 PM)

If a coach wants out bad enough, usually the team will allow it. That would be a professional courtesy for Marinelli, a person the organization respects a great deal.

Jimmy the Cowboy (Houston, TX)

Why has John Gruden not been strongly considered for HC job?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:30 PM)

Only thing I can think of is money and power. He must want too much of both.

Michael (Tampa)

Were you surprised that Emery allowed Toub to interview with other teams? What is the point of keeping the coaching staff under contract if your not going to keep your best coaches around for the HC to consider keeping on?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:34 PM)

Again, Toub must want out badly. Or maybe the organization is ready to move on without him. Toub is an excellent coach who will no doubt land on his feet. That was a no-brainer from day one. It's tough to say why exactly he's talking to these other teams, but it's not like the Bears are sitting around waiting to find out. They tried to interview Cleveland ST coach Chris Tabor and were denied permission. So it looks as if the Bears are going in a different direction, which is unfortunate, but it's all part of the business. Plus, Toub will get much more security in a new job. He only has 1 year left on his deal with the Bears.

Bob (Orland Park, IL)

JD, of course Lovie isn't interviewing well, look how he was with the media.

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:36 PM)

I think Lovie is smart enough to act like a real person in the interviews and not the way he did for 9 years when dealing with the media. Behind closed doors, Lovie is a much different guy than what Bears fans saw at the podium or off the practice field. He must not be telling teams what they want to hear from an offensive perspective.

Matt (Houston)

I know the assistant coaches are still under contract, but what are they doing now? Are they at Halas Hall everyday? Are they scouting? Vacation? Thanks in advance

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:38 PM)

Most of them are at the facility during the week. They are working on their 2013 planning reports, ect. They also work out in the morning. And there is a Chipotle near by. What a life!

David (Atlanta) [via mobile]

Will the Bears have a coach before the Super Bowl?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:40 PM)

I think that is safe to assume. The only coach they interviewed that is still alive in the postseason is Atlanta's Keith Armstrong, and the Bears are going with an offensive coach.

Matt (Chicago, IL)

On a scale from 1-10, with 1 being "Goner" and 10 being "Going nowhere", where do you feel Devin Hester lands on that scale for next season?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:41 PM)

I put it at a 3 or 4.

Adam (San Diego, CA)

Emery has been very quiet about this entire process... what are the chances someone we haven't even heard about gets hired?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:41 PM)

Can't rule it out. He does keep most things to himself.

Bill (Ontario)

Bears should trade Cutler to Cleveland, and then trade for Alex Smith. Then they should hire Cowher. FACT!

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:42 PM)

I believe Cowher said he is not going to coach ever again.

KJ (Florida)

With Forte's skillset, and the way that Arian Foster was used yesterday in the playoff game, do you see Rick Dennison as a legit canidate for the HC job.

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:45 PM)

I'm not ruling out Rick Dennison, by any means. I just feel like Gary Kubiak is the real mastermind behind the Texans operation. I can't sit here and tell you for sure how much he does compared to Kubiak when it comes to running that offense. Kind of like with Pete Carmichael Jr. in New Orleans, although he did run a high-powered offense this year without Sean Payton. But I don't dislike Dennison at all. I think he's legit.

Joe C, Le Claire, IA [via mobile]

Why isnt Clements at least in ur top three? Beating the Packers is still #1 with any Near fan

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:47 PM)

With Clements, it's just a matter of personality. Does he have the personality to be a head coach and earn the respect of all 53 players in the locker room? He's a talented offensive coach, but it takes a lot of things to be a good NFL head coach. Clements never seemed comfortable in the spotlight whenever I dealt with him. This is a big market.

Pat (Dallas)

What happens with Urlacher?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:49 PM)

The way Emery made it sound in his press conference, I would not be surprised if the Bears let him walk in free agency.

Kevin (Chicago)

I noticed last Thursday night that John Clayton reported Trestman was the likely candidate. Could that be why Jimmy Johnson tweeted that out Friday? What connections can Jimmy Johnson actually have?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:52 PM)

John Clayton is one of the best guys I work with at ESPN on a national level. Clayton and Kevin Seifer have supported the work we do locally since ESPNChicago.com launched in 2009. So if John thinks Trestman has a good shot, then Trestman has a good shot. And I believe Jimmy Johnson knows an awful lot. He didn't just make that up. I'm sure there is something to it.

Tim (Hertford, N.C.)

When do the bears finally make a choice? All their guys are out of the playoffs.

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:53 PM)

I think if the Bears don't make an official announcement by the end of the week then something is wrong.

Joe B (Oxford, CT)

Any chance the Bears make a run at Finley if the Packers drop him?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:55 PM)

That is an interesting concept. Finley is a great talent. Exactly the type of TE the Bears need to add to their roster to impact the passing game. But Finley has caused some problems with his mouth and his attitiude. He also lacks effort from time to time. I'd consider it, but the Bears better do their homework. It's not as if he's got this great relationship with Cutler like Brandon Marshall.

David (Morton Grove, IL)

J.D., Will Julius Peppers renegotiate his contract to give the Bears some salary cap relief?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:58 PM)

That would be the second time Peppers would have renegotiated his deal. I don't know if you can expect him to do that. But it's a big cap number, $16.383 million, so I'm sure the Bears would like some relief. But it's unknown what Peppers or the Bears will do. He's still an impact player. So the defense is much better off with him than without him.

Jeff Dickerson
  (3:00 PM)

Thank you everybody. Really had fun doing the chat. Please enjoy the rest of the week and hopefully by this time next Monday the Bears will have their new head coach in place.