Interesting tidbits on Bears head-coaching finalists

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Interesting tidbits on Bears head-coaching finalists

The past is often a window into an individuals future; what they have done, not done or experienced can provide a glimpse into how they will act or react in times to come. Where someone has been can be a clue to where they are going.

RELATED: Profiling the Bears' head coaching candidates

The three finalists for the Bears head-coaching job have a number of interesting elements on their curricula NFL vitae:

The Bears have never hired a head coach who has been a pro head coach previously in his career. Two of the three have not only been head coaches; they have been successful in those jobs.

Bruce Arians was 9-3 as interim Indianapolis Colts head coach last season when coach Chuck Pagano was away for leukemia treatments. Marc Trestman has coach the Montreal Alouettes since 2007.

Darrell Bevell has coached against the Bears every season of his NFL life. He was a Green Bay assistant from 2000-2005; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator from 2006-2010; and Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator in 2011-2012.

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All have been quarterback position coaches. All coached quarterbacks who won Super Bowls in their careers (Arians, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger; Bevell, Brett Favre; Trestman, Steve Young).

All three were themselves Division I college quarterbacks: Arians at Virginia Tech; Bevell at Wisconsin; and Trestman at Minnesota.

All three candidates were in the 2012 playoffs but their teams were losers in their last games. The Colts lost in the 2012 wild-card round, although Arians was hospitalized with a virus for the game. Bevells Seahawks staged a dramatic comeback in the divisional round against Atlanta but lost in the final 8 seconds. Trestman and the Alouettes lost to the Toronto Argonauts in the Grey Cup semifinals last Nov. 18.

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All three coached against Lovie Smith. Arians with Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, with Cleveland vs. Smith as Rams defensive coordinator; Bevell with Green Bay, Minnesota and Seattle; Trestman with Oakland vs. Smith as St. Louis defensive coordinator and with Detroit vs. Smith as Tampa Bay linebackers coach.

The Bears were not caught up in landing the hot young candidate. Arians is the oldest of the 13 candidates at 60. Trestman turns 57 on Tuesday. Bevell is 43.

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Improvement typically comes in incremental steps, not leaps. And the Bears of 2017, based on what they have done at a handful of positions, the latest being Thursday’s signing of wide receiver Victor Cruz, fit that template.

The clear organizational commitment is to build through the draft, even if injuries have undermined some otherwise apparent upgrades to starting lineups on both sides of the football. But if there is a “theme” to what GM Ryan Pace is doing to muscle up a sluggish roster, it is that the Bears are willing to take flyers on veteran players – with additions like four veteran wide receivers with injury and issue histories – that arguably point to a win-now mindset while draft picks develop and contribute.

Jaye Howard and John Jenkins. Make the defensive line “better?” Than Jonathan Bullard and Will Sutton, probably. But “good?” Mmmmm…..

The game-one tight ends last year were Zach Miller-Logan Paulsen-Gregg Scruggs. Now they’re Miller-Dion Sims-Adam Shaheen (based on a second-round draft choice). “Good?” Maybe, maybe not. “Better?” Obviously, based on Sims alone.

Mike Glennon-Mark Sanchez-Mitch Trubisky. Bears “better” at quarterback? Than Jay Cutler-Brian Hoyer-Matt Barkley, probably. “Good?” Mmmmmm…..

The decisions to sign Glennon and Sanchez to the quarterback depth chart have sparked their shares of understandable cynical skepticism. But Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo were not available in trade, so the Pace decision was to gamble on upside with Glennon over the known quantity of Brian Hoyer (the preference of some coaches) and certainly Jay Cutler, for whom “potential” and “upside” no longer applied.

Add in the aggressive draft of Trubisky and the result was three possibilities of hits on a quarterback (Sanchez and Connor Shaw being combined here as a pair entry in the hit-possibility scenarios). All three were deemed an improvement over Cutler and/or Barkley.

The results may not vault the Bears all the way up to “good” at the pivotal position for any franchise. But “better” is sometimes all you can realistically manage.

Taking a wider-screen look at wide receiver in this context… .

Coach John Fox has cited the need for the Bears to establish the ability to get yardage in bigger chunks. Accordingly, all four of the veteran wideout signings this offseason – Cruz, Rueben Randle, Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright –  have posted yards-per-catch seasons of 14 or longer.

All four won’t be on the opening-day roster, but all four offer the promise of major impact. Cruz, Randle and Wright have had seasons of 70 or more receptions, and Wheaton topped out at 53 in 2015 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice weren’t available, so “good” was hard to achieve in an offseason in which Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal were expected departures long before their exits. But are Cruz, Randle, Wheaton and Wright, with Kevin White and Cameron Meredith, a “better” starting point than Jeffery, Royal, White, Bellamy, etc. of a year ago?

Obviously. But players with even moderately established NFL “names” (like Cruz, Randle, etal.) are typically available for a reason; teams do not routinely give up on talent. And none of the four come without significant shadows on their NFL resumes, whether for injury or other questions.

Cruz missed most of 2014 and all of the 2015 season, and hasn’t played a full season since his Pro Bowl year of 2012.

Randle was described as a head case by scouts and was so bad that he was let go in the Eagles’ cutdown to 75 last year, followed by disparaging comments from those in and around the organization.

Wheaton flashed promise in his 2014-15 opportunities as a part-time starter but played just three games before a shoulder injury landed him on IR last season.

The Tennessee Titans thought enough of Wright, their 2012 first-round draft choice, to pick up his fifth-year option going into las season. But by week 14 he was benched for tardiness and was a healthy DNP in game 16, announcing after the game that he already knew he was not in the Titans’ plans for 2017.

The prospect of the Bears going from 3-13 to “good” borders on fantasy. But if being among the NFL’s busiest this offseason hasn’t propelled the Bears to that level, the results point to “better.” At this point, that’s something,.

How big of an impact will Victor Cruz have on the Bears?

How big of an impact will Victor Cruz have on the Bears?

The Bears inked Victor Cruz to a one-year deal on Thursday, adding another receiver to an already crowded corps.

But it never hurts to add a veteran one to a young group, especially with a new starting quarterback.

Cruz is 30 years old and isn't the same Pro Bowl-caliber player he was before missing the entire 2015 season with a calf injury, but he surely has a lot left in the tank and can serve as a great mentor for the Bears receivers.

Just how big of an impact will he have on his new team? See what the SportsTalk Live panel had to say in the video above.