'Ridiculous' search? Maybe. Maybe not.

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'Ridiculous' search? Maybe. Maybe not.

The Bears coach search has now gone to at least 13 names, which is by any standard a lot. But maybe not by all that much.

The search firm entrusted with developing GM candidates in 2001 (culminating with the Jerry Angelo hiring) came up with a portfolio of 10, which Ted Phillips trimmed to three finalists.

After the Bears fired Dave Wannstedt in 1998, Mark Hatley was ordered by Michael McCaskey to begin a search for candidates. Hatley went on the road, talked to more than a dozen (including Bill Belichick, Brian Billick and Jim Haslett hows that for a list of ones that got away?), and eventually developed five candidates to bring to Halas Hall for final interviews: Gunther Cunningham, Dick Jauron, Sherm Lewis, Dave McGinnis and Joe Pendry.

The current search process is directed toward developing 2-3 finalists.

An old friend from my long-ago days in corporate work, a senior executive with vast experience in matters of hiring and interviewing, shared some observations on the Bears process so far looking for a new head coach.

Bottom line, he said, whether the Bears have someone in mind or not, 13 candidates is ridiculous! My former company clients, when retaining a search firm to look for a new executive, would usually look at anywhere between three and six candidates before they found the best candidate; on rare occasion the company would request to see additional candidates.

I also think the new GM doesnt want to make a major size mistake; isnt this his first major hire since he took over running the Bears?

This definitely is Emerys first major hire. He did hire some personnel staff but the most-major moves there were promotions of Chris Ballard and Marty Barrett from area scouts to directors of pro and college scouting, respectively.

This is from outside the organization. And as too many organizations can attest, a wrong hire is worse than a slow hire.

Bears-49ers: And the winner is?

Bears-49ers: And the winner is?

Both teams are on track to be drafting in the top five, and the inevitable “the loser is the winner” talk has made its rounds, meaning that a defeat moves the loser higher in the draft order. The reality is that neither team will tank the game for draft position.

But the chances of two woeful teams playing well are slim. The 49ers won in Week 1 and then have lost 10 straight. The Bears are trying to avoid losing four straight for the first time under John Fox.

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Quarterback Colin Kaepernick burst upon the NFL scene in 2012 with a blowout of the Bears in his first start. He has regained his starting job in San Francisco and is still one of the prototypical mobile quarterbacks.

But the 49ers are the NFL’s worst defense in both points and yardage allowed, and they are the worst rushing defense in the league. Expect the Bears to try exploiting that and give quarterback Matt Barkley a balanced run-pass game plan.

Prediction: Bears 24, 49ers 20

Bears hoping to get Kyle Fuller back in DB mix sooner rather than later

Bears hoping to get Kyle Fuller back in DB mix sooner rather than later

Kyle Fuller was one of the seeming fixtures in the Bears’ defense as it transitioned from the 4-3 of old to the 3-4 of Vic Fangio. And he may be again, the Bears hope very soon, as he has begun practicing after months on injured reserve following knee surgery in August.

The Bears could place Fuller on the active roster as late as Saturday after he practiced all three days this week. “He made it three days in practice, no setbacks,” said coach John Fox. “He seems to be adapting pretty well. He has another practice [Saturday] and we don’t have to make a decision until 3 p.m. because of where he is on the roster. We’ll evaluate that after tomorrow.”

Were Fuller to return — restoring one projected 2016 starter to a defense that has been forced to field five different starting secondaries in the span of 11 games — he may be phased back in with a managed number of snaps, as other certain other players returning from injury have been.

But getting Fuller back projects to be an instant upgrade for a defensive backfield among the NFL’s worst at producing takeaways.

“We all play different positions so we’re kind of used to it, people moving in and out over the year,” said Bryce Callahan, who was initially ticketed for nickel duty as the No. 3 cornerback this season but has been pressed into service starting at cornerback in four games.

“It’s always good to get someone like Kyle back.”

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The Bears would need to weigh what workload Fuller could handle vs. roster needs based on only having 46 players active on game day.

“You’re always a little bit cautious because it does affect your roster,” Fox said. “But if you feel like he makes you better, that’s a move you make. Now we’re just working through him medically, durability-wise, and how much he can play.”

Jay Cutler (shoulder) was officially declared out and is headed for surgery on Saturday, ultimately to injured reserve.

Other availability questions include receiver Eddie Royal (toe), guard Josh Sitton (ankle) and safety Adrian Amos (ankle), all questionable. Linebacker Willie Young (knee) did not practice but linebacker Leonard Floyd was able to practice on a limited basis although his status in the concussion protocol will not be known until closer to game time.