Urgency building in Bears coaching search

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Urgency building in Bears coaching search

It was nine years ago Tuesday that the Bears hired Lovie Smith to coach their team. They are unlikely to hit that date this time but perhaps not by much.

The divisional playoff round was not a great weekend for four candidates in the Bears search for Smiths successor. But the Bears and several NFL teams may not have been entirely unhappy with Denver, Green Bay, Houston and Seattle losing in divisional-round playoff games because it unlocked several doors.

The Bears have the offensive coordinators for all four teams and those individuals are now free for second interviews with Phil Emery if the Bears GM has them on his finalist list. Emery said that his search would include college coaches but none have been among the 13 reported candidates.

The only still-unavailable known candidate interviewed by Emery is Atlanta special-teams coach Keith Armstrong, who is not widely considered one of the leading prospects. Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman and Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan are believed to be among the top candidates so far but Emerys final list was still unfinished as of Sunday night.

Emery said on Jan. 1 that his ideal would be to have his new coach standing with him watching this months college all-star games and he may yet get his wish. Some of his competitors hope he does.

Indeed, at least one other NFL team is privately irritated at the pace of the Bears search because it wants to know if it needs to replace its offensive coordinator. That decision could be coming within a week based on Emery narrowing his finalist choices to 2-3 as planned, those candidates meeting with Chairman George McCaskey and President Ted Phillips, and a deal being reached.

Urgency rising

A note of urgency does in fact enter the process now because several of the Bears candidates are high on other teams lists.

Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, interviewed by Emery last week, is set to interview now with San Diego, is on the Philadelphia Eagles list, and has met with and impressed the Arizona Cardinals.

Houston offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell have met with Emery and have been linked to other teams as well. Bruce Arians was on Emerys Sunday interview list and also is a candidate with the Chargers.

Looking for assistants

The need for prompt action concerns more than just the top spot. The organization still has Smith's assistant coaches under contract, giving the incoming coach a ready selection of coaches familiar with Bears personnel but no coach retains the full former staff and each hiring around the league sets in motion the search for assistants.

Alshon Jeffery spurned ESPN's Adam Schefter after getting free agent contract advice

Alshon Jeffery spurned ESPN's Adam Schefter after getting free agent contract advice

This is an enlightening glimpse into the craziness that is the world of NFL free agency.

The MMQB published a longform recap of 24 hours in the life of ESPN's Adam Schefter at the start of NFL free agency and apparently it also included a moment where he advised Alshon Jeffery on the receiver's contract situation.

[RELATED - Bears free agency analysis]

Before Jeffery signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, the former Bears wideout called Schefter to see what the market was like for receivers:

But here's the kicker:

The MMQB circled back on the news later and Jeffery never called Schefter back, instead giving the news to Schefter's ESPN colleague Josina Anderson to break about the Eagles deal.

[Buy Chicago sports tickets]

That's cold, bro.

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

6'2" | 225 lbs.

2016 stats:

5,052 YDS, 65.7 CMP%, 41 TD, 10 INT, 157 QBR | 131 CAR, 285 YDS, 12 TD

Projection:

First round

Scouting Report:

"Mahomes is a big, confident quarterback who brings a variety of physical tools to the party, but he's developed some bad habits and doesn't have a very repeatable process as a passer. Mahomes' ability to improvise and extend plays can lead to big plays for his offense, but he will have to prove he can operate with better anticipation and be willing to take what the defense gives him in order to win from the pocket. Mahomes will be a work in progress, but he's a high ceiling, low floor prospect." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Video analysis provided by Rotoworld and NBC Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles