No surprise Kelly is on Bears' radar

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No surprise Kelly is on Bears' radar

It was funny reading reports Wednesday night concerning Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. They were, to quote Pro Football Talk, almost spontaneously and simultaneously about the Philadelphia Eagles being interested in Kelly for their vacant head coaching position. The Eagles' interest was so piqued that they interviewed Kelly following the BCS Championship game. As I stated before -- and tweeted out more than a month ago -- Kelly was on NFL radars. A coach with one losing record in 23 years of coaching does not go unnoticed.

MORE: Miller: Kelly, Saban among possible Bears candidates

But all of a sudden the media was caught with their pants down regarding a candidate they did not take seriously. Now reports have Kelly returning to South Bend. This, of course, is after Kelly during the week, leading up to the game, stated his only interest was Notre Dame. Love him or loathe him, Kelly has won wherever hes coached; that is why he is of NFL interest.
Speculation runsamokin the media, where reporters were quick to link the Browns, Bears, pretty much any head coaching vacancy on the planet to Kelly as most teams seem to interview the same candidates. Its called slap-it-out-there journalism and hope it sticks. It normally is camouflaged as fact with an unidentified source to provide validity because, is anyone really going to check anyway? The writer sure isnt going to reveal any source.
As I have written before, Bears GM Phil Emery is not a newbie to scouting players and coaches. There are plenty of files regarding both. The Bears, and every other NFL team, have walked weekly through the Irishs door in South Bend, Cincinnati, or Central Michigan to scout players and coaches. General managers and scouts are present every college weekend to scout talent of interest. It is not regulated just to the young men running around on the field. How coachs delegate, their decision making, and sideline demeanor is all scouted, assessed, and filed.
An NFL presence is even greater if universities are located in proximity of an NFL team. For instance, the Bears are in proximity to Northwestern, Illinois and Notre Dame. They have had plenty of opportunity to converse with Kelly, along with the Cleveland Browns, who are also within proximity and searching for a new head coach. Contact for interest and interviewing a candidate are two completely different actions.
For instance, Jon Gruden is still the number one coaching candidate on my Chicago Bears head coaching list. No one in the media has indicated Gruden as a serious candidate. After all, interviewing only seems to be what counts among the media. I wonder if Grudens been contacted though...hmm...

Bears challenged to replace coaches involved in three all-rookie selections

Bears challenged to replace coaches involved in three all-rookie selections

As a sign of good things to come, three Bears were selected to the NFL's all-rookie teams. But there's a negative thread running through the honors of linebacker Leonard Floyd being named to the rookie defensive team, and the selections of center Cody Whitehair and running back Jordan Howard to the rookie offensive team.
 
The concern lies not in the players or the personnel department under GM Ryan Pace that designated them for drafting. It is in the fact that the position coaches for all three rookie standouts are all gone from the staff of coach John Fox.
 
Finding talent is difficult enough. Developing it is the crucial next step in the football process, and what was evident in the rookie years of Floyd, Whitehair and Howard was that each developed into NFL-grade players with some very solid coaching.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
 
Offensive line coach Dave Magazu was not brought back, reportedly in favor of former Miami Dolphins assistant offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn, as reported by Sirius XM radio and Sporting News.
 
Stan Drayton, who coached Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott at Ohio State, then Howard this year, left for the University of Texas.

Outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt appeared to be exiting for the New York Jets, although sources report that the deal may not go through.
 
Coaches can't create talent but they can certainly foster and maximize it. Replacing the mentors of their three top rookies from arguably the best draft class since 2004 (Tommie Harris, Tank Johnson, Bernard Berrian, Nathan Vasher) now becomes a talent search in its own right.

Accolades keep pouring in for Bears' 2016 rookie class

Accolades keep pouring in for Bears' 2016 rookie class

The 2016 NFL Draft could be one that will define Ryan Pace's tenure as GM of the Bears.

Just last week, Jordan Howard became the second rookie running back in Bears franchise history to be named to the Pro Bowl since Gale Sayers in 1965.

The PFWA released their 2016 All-Rookie Team on Tuesday, and Bears center Cody Whitehair, linebacker Leonard Floyd and Howard all made the list.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Howard, the Bears' fifth round selection (150th overall) out of Indiana, set the rookie franchise record with 1,313 rushing yards on 252 carries and 6 touchdowns. Howard also had 29 receptions for 298 yards and one receiving touchdown.

Floyd, the No. 9 overall selection out of Georgia, registered 33 tackles, 7 sacks and 9 quarterback hits in 12 games.

Whitehair, a second-round pick out of Kansas State, started all 16 games at center for the Bears after spending the majority of the preseason at guard.

The Bears (tied with the Chargers) had the second-highest number of selections behind the Kansas City Chiefs.

Check out the complete 2016 PFWA All-Rookie Team below:

Offense

QB – Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
RB – Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys; Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
WR – Sterling Shepard, New York Giants; Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
TE – Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers
C – Cody Whitehair, Chicago Bears
G – Joe Thuney, New England Patriots; Laremy Tunsil, Miami Dolphins
T – Jack Conklin, Tennessee Titans; Taylor Decker, Detroit Lions

Defense

DL – Joey Bosa, San Diego Chargers; DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers; Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs; Yannick Ngakoue, Jacksonville Jaguars
LB – Jatavis Brown, San Diego Chargers; Leonard Floyd, Chicago Bears; Deion Jones, Atlanta Falcons
CB – Vernon Hargreaves III, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars
S – Karl Joseph, Oakland Raiders; Keanu Neal, Atlanta Falcons

Special Teams

PK – Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints
P – Riley Dixon, Denver Broncos
KR – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
PR – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
ST – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs