Coach Lovie Smith remarked after this season that every coach on our staffyou would like to see them take another step. He may get his wish, unfortunately for his own staff fortunes.
The Oakland Raiders have requested permission to interview offensive coordinator Mike Tice for their vacant head-coaching job, a story first reported by the Tribune. The Bears dont have a choice but to give that permission, since under NFL rules, assistants are always permitted to explore head-coaching jobs even if still under contract to their current team.
The Raiders have an extensive candidate list numbering nearly a dozen, and new general manager Reggie McKenzie has those and potentially others to evaluate.
The problem for the Bears, however, is potentially serious.
They and Tice, a former head coach with the Minnesota Vikings while McKenzie was a member of the Green Bay Packers front office, are in the process of hiring a passing-game coordinator as a top Tice assistant. Former quarterbacks coach Greg Olsen has been interviewed and others are on Tices list.
But that process now potentially grinds to a dangerous halt until the Tice-Oakland situation plays itself out. Indeed, if Tice leaves, the Bears could well be interviewing those candidates, possibly including Clyde Christensen of the Indianapolis Colts, for the full coordinators position.
Tice was promoted from offensive line coach to coordinator just days after the Bears parted ways with Mike Martz. He has been a dominant influence on the offense over the past two years, directing an offensive line that was key in the Bears rushing for 2,015 yards in 2011 despite losing quarterback Jay Cutler after 10 games and Matt Forte two games later.