Jan 19, 2022

Where the Bears search stands

Where the Bears search stands
(USA Today Sports)

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Good morning, friends!

Twenty years ago today, Michael Jordan returned to the United Center wearing a Wizards uniform.  Yes, it seems like just yesterday — and yes, it's still really weird to watch.

Tuesday's results
Loyola 77, Evansville 48
Wisconsin 82, Northwestern 76

Today's schedule
Cavs at Bulls (7, NBCSCH)
Xavier at DePaul (8, FS1)

The process continues

(USA Today Sports)

It's been nine days since the Bears said goodbye to Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace.  Nine days since George McCaskey held that news conference that instilled the opposite of confidence in the hearts of most fans.

But the last nine days haven't been so bad. It's been a steady trickle of completed interviews with the top names on the market and a river of advocacy from fans on Twitter. Everyone has their favorite candidates for the next coach and GM.

Here's what we know so far about the search:

1. They're taking their time
The Bears hired Matt Nagy on January 8, 2018, just two days after the Chiefs' playoff loss to the Titans.  This year's regular season didn't conclude until January 9 so Nagy's successor was always going to come aboard later on the calendar. There also hasn't been any reason to rush. None of the seven other teams looking to hire a coach have made a hire and five of the 10 coaching candidates tied to the Bears are still alive in the playoffs.

2. They're casting a wide net  
Here's the list of head coach candidates the Bears have interviewed so far (or reportedly plan to): Doug Pederson, Jim Caldwell, Brian Daboll, Matt Eberflus, Brian Flores, Nathaniel Hackett, Todd Bowles (Jan. 22), Leslie Frazier (Jan. 21), Byron Leftwich (TBD), Dan Quinn (TBD)

And here's the list of GM candidates: Morocco Brown, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Glenn Cook, Ed Dodds, Jeff Ireland, Joe Schoen, Omar Khan (TBD), Eliot Wolf, Champ Kelly, Monti Ossenfort, Ran Carthon (TBD),  Reggie McKenzie (TBD), Ryan Poles (TBD), Rick Smith (TBD), JoJo Wooden (TBD)

That's 25 names. I hope someone's taking notes in all these interviews.

3. They probably weren't hurt by not firing Nagy early so they could start interviews a few weeks earlier.
Remind me not to be mad about that the next time the Bears "need" to fire a coach in season.

4.  They want to hire a GM before they nab a coach
We should believe it when we see it, but the Bears reportedly want the brains of the new GM involved in selecting the new coach. That would make sense given that Bill Polian is really the only true front office-type on the five-person search committee. But we'll see what happens when push actually comes to shove because ...

5. They're "smitten" with Brian Flores who could diminish the importance of the GM role
That's according to my good friend Charles Robinson, who believes Flores has the upper hand as one of the offseason's top candidates and could grab more power in whatever organization he lands. "It would be a coach-driven organization first with the GM being, not on the second tier, but just holding back behind the head coach," C-Rob said.

I like Flores and am intrigued about the possibilities here, but has he really earned that concession? I don't see it.

6. Their eyes are going to be on Brian Daboll this weekend
A good cross-section of Bears fans were ready to offer him the job after the Bills offense throttled the Patriots last weekend. The Bills have a tough challenge in Kansas City on Sunday and it'll be interesting to see what happens if Buffalo posts a lot of points but loses. The Bears' preference to hire a GM first could be severely tested if Daboll is available to move while Flores gets a big offer from, say, the Giants.

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Three thoughts about Les Grobstein

  1. It almost seems impossible there will never be another Chicago media scrum that includes the Grobber, who died over the weekend at age 69. He was around the scene long before almost all of today's Chicago media crew and it seemed like he'd be around long after all of us left. He was Forrest Gump with a microphone and bulky tape recorder, showing up in the background of every big Chicago sports moment of the last half-century and even more of the small ones. I've had a good idea for a Chicago sports book and I always figured I'd interview him to fill in what others have long forgotten.
  2. I was a regular listener of Les' overnight show when I was in college. The Score's radio signal wouldn't reach Madison during the day, but I could catch it at night by putting my clock radio on the window sill. I'd put the college newspaper to bed and come home to listen to Les while logging onto the old ChicagoSports.com website, which would update all their stories once at the end of the day. Both were one of the few ties back home and I loved marveling at Les' recall of the most mundane sports details. I remember him once telling a caller who had started both games of a doubleheader for the '77 Southside Hitmen — plus who homered for the Cubs across town the same day.
  3. Ben Joravsky's Chicago Reader profile of Les should have been in the 1997 edition of the Best American Sportswriting.

News and results

Bulls: Alex Caruso could return tonight

Remember him? He's been out since December 4 with a hamstring and a COVID-19 list appearance. Bulls are looking to break a four-game losing streak tonight and Caruso is listed as probable for Cleveland's visit.

MLB: Dylan Cease and Carlos Correa hire Scott Boras

Seems newsworthy on both sides of town.

Loyola: Winning streak hits 10 with blowout win

Tuesday's walk over Evansville runs the Ramblers' record to 14-2 and 5-o in the Missouri Valley Conference.

1. Robert Mays on how Brian Daboll found his voice and became one of the best coaches in football. The Athletic

2. Marv Levy thinks the Bears are in good hands with former Chicago Blitz co-worker Bill Polian. Sun-Times

3. Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Chris Kamka went deep on the Sox-Tigers brawl from 2000. White Sox Talk

4. Everyone's favorite Bulls fan (Trey Kerby) and the No Dunks crew made the six-hour drive from Atlanta to Memphis to watch the Bulls play the Grizzlies. A vlog and beaver nuggets ensued. YouTube

5. Huge win for Chicago journalism last night: WBEZ will acquire the Sun-Times and possibly set the template on how to save newsrooms in other cities. WBEZ

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