Numbers grow in Bears coaching search, but 'target' difficult to ID

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Numbers grow in Bears coaching search, but 'target' difficult to ID

General manager Phil Emery promised that his search for the next Bears head coach would be thorough. If quantity is any indication, Emerys search already is close to qualifying as such.But while the number of candidates continues to grow almost daily, and it says that Emery was sincere when he said last week that no one is excluded, it is reasonable to wonder whether the Bears were certain they could do better when they fired Lovie Smith.The lineup of more than a dozen candidates suggests that a change was set in motion without a short list already developed. The search continues to be more shotgun than rifle, not necessarily a bad thing or even surprising for someone (Emery) going through the process for the first time.By contrast, when the Bears fired Mike Ditka after 1992, the consensus hot candidate was then-Dallas defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt. Bears President Michael McCaskey had a short list but the clear target was Wannstedt and McCaskey simply out-hustled the New York Giants for him.The 2013 market is different and the Bears are in play with several of the current hot candidates: Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman.Besides current Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub, former colleague Dan Pompei over at the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday that Mike Singletary is also on the guest list for Halas Hall, along with Mike Priefer, special teams coach for the Minnesota Vikings. Singletary, also an assistant head coachlinebackers with the Vikings under coach Leslie Frazier, was sought as an assistant by Dick Jauron but was nixed by then-general manager Jerry Angelo.Singletary subsequently went on to coach the San Francisco 49ers for a couple of seasons, leaving with an 18-22 record that included the 2008 season with Mike Martz as his offensive coordinator.
Critiquing candidatesPhil Emery made it abundantly clear that his new coach will be someone who comes in with an ability to work with what he has, in addition to working with Emery on personnel additions. Some of the candidates pose interesting issues in the work-with area.Bruce Arians would bring a superb quarterback development portfolio, but whether he brings a system workable with the Bears talent base is what his interview would address.Andrew Luck was sacked 41 times last season and hit a multiple of that, according to one NFL source. The sack total was the most of a Colts rookie quarterback. Peyton Manning was sacked 22 times as a rookie and never more than 29 times with Indianapolis.Arians is aggressive and throws downfield even with shaky protection, which has a distant ring of Mike Martz. Luck is extremely mobile and physically strong, and is a timing passer. Whether Jay Cutler adapts to Arians system, or vice versa, is a franchise-level question.I discussed Houston offensive coordinator Rick Dennison previously and a question in his meeting with Emery will undoubtedly be whether the Bears can run a zone-blocking scheme in the run game. Right now the Bears are significantly bigger than the Texans line that runs this mobile system, and Emery and Dennison will need to be clear on what Dennison wants to run, what Emery has for him to run it, and what the Bears will do this offseason and beyond to facilitate that.

Brandon Marshall doesn't remember 3 TD game from Bears-49ers in 2014 because he was on pain pills

Brandon Marshall doesn't remember 3 TD game from Bears-49ers in 2014 because he was on pain pills

Remember back in 2014 when the Bears rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the 49ers 28-20 in San Francisco on Sunday Night Football?

Well, Brandon Marshall doesn't.

And he had three of the four touchdown catches, two of them coming in the last quarter.

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The former Bears wide receiver, who had been dealing with a high ankle sprain, said he took pain pills before the game and doesn't recall much of it, including the incredible one-handed grab that went viral.

"I don't really remember much about that game because I worked really hard to get back from a high ankle (sprain)," Marshall said during a conference call Wednesday. "I'll say it, I took a couple pain pills that masked the pain. I really wasn't supposed to play. I came back from a high ankle (sprain) within 10 days. I was supposed to be out four to six weeks. I don't remember much from that game. I just remember catching those balls. And that was pretty much it."

If only Bears fans could forget that season entirely, which ended in a 5-11 record and the end of the Marc Trestman era.

Bears win over 49ers nets DE Akiem Hicks NFL defensive honor

Bears win over 49ers nets DE Akiem Hicks NFL defensive honor

It may have been just a distant similarity to players on an MLB cellar-dweller earning a Cy Young or MVP award (which happens in Chicago, a lot – Andre Dawson, Ernie Banks twice), but to the Bears it matters. Defensive end Akiem Hicks was named NFC defensive player of the week after his dominating performance in the Bears win last Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers, and he is not alone among Bears getting recognition after one of their few victories.

Never mind that the victory moved the Bears to 3-9 and came over a team losing its 11th straight game. What Hicks accomplished – two sacks, 10 tackles, a quarterback hit, a forced fumble – was being a force in the Bears’ domination of the 49ers and has been part of the emotional core of a team that has lost but not folded.

“It’s easy to say, ‘We’re not getting the results we want,’ but guys have invested,” Hicks said. “I’ve told guys, ‘just think about the hours you’ve invested, to get your body and mind ready for a 16-game season. Why would you put all that work in and then, when you don’t get the results you want, just quit?’"

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Jordan Howard is one of the nominees for the FedEx Air & Ground NFL player of the week. Howard, who posted his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the year, could be a double-winner: He also is among the nominees for Pepsi NFL rookie of the week, as is teammate Leonard Floyd (two sacks, safety, four tackles).

Voting on the latter two awards is still open.

Hicks’ play vs. San Francisco boosted him to a career-best six sacks, and he credited Bears coaches afterwards with giving him opportunities to rush the passer, not simply be utilized as a run-stopper. He has been everything and perhaps a little more than the Bears anticipated when they signed him this offseason to a two-year contract worth $10 million, with $5 million guaranteed.

“I think he's done well,” said defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. “It's a credit to him, a credit to Jay [Rodgers, defensive line coach]. Akiem has kept improving throughout the season, and he's been one of the guys that have been there each and every week, playing a lot of plays for us, and he's been a steady bell cow for us in there.”