Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery takes questions from the media at an NFL football news conference in Lake Forest, Ill., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. A day after the Bears fired head coach Lovie Smith, Emery explained his decision to the media. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: January 16, 2013 12:16AM
The Bears’ coaching search took another step Tuesday as they wrapped up second interviews with three candidates.
The question is, how significant was that step?
Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman visited Halas Hall on Monday, while Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians visited with the Bears’ brass Tuesday.
But as general manager Phil Emery continued his methodical search for the franchise’s 14th head coach, other teams were finalizing or accelerating their respective hiring efforts.
The San Diego Chargers introduced Mike McCoy as their new coach at a news conference Tuesday. McCoy, formerly the Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator, had interviewed for several vacancies, including the Bears. He was not believed, however, to be a serious candidate to replace Lovie Smith.
That leaves four NFL teams still without a coach: the Bears, the Arizona Cardinals, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Philadelphia Eagles.
After Bevell finished his second interview with the Bears, he reportedly was drawing interest from the Jaguars and Cardinals. It’s not believed he’s one of the top candidates in Jacksonville, but he has a strong link to Arizona. He graduated from a Scottsdale high school and started his college career at Northern Arizona before finishing as the starting quarterback at Wisconsin.
Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be much competition for the other two candidates the Bears have interviewed twice.
While Trestman interviewed to be the Cleveland Browns’ head coach, that team tabbed Rob Chudzinski to replace Pat Shurmur.
As of Tuesday, four league sources continued to believe that Trestman is the favorite to become the Bears’ coach. Although he’s never been an NFL head coach, he led the Alouettes to two Grey Cups — the Canadian Football League’s championship — and was a successful NFL offensive coordinator with a history of helping quarterbacks have standout seasons. Trestman uses a West Coast offense, similar to the one Bears quarterback Jay Cutler ran in Denver, and he emphasizes protecting his quarterback and providing him a pocket to pass from.
Numerous prominent quarterbacks, including Steve Young and Rich Gannon, have vouched for Trestman’s football IQ and potential.
Arians was also a hot candidate, drawing interest from the Chargers and Eagles. He never finalized a visit with the Eagles. Indications are he might have preferred the Bears job all along.
A candidate for the Associated Press’s NFL Coach of the Year award, Arians was 9-3 as interim head coach of the Colts this season.
Indications are that all three candidates may be open to retaining some of Smith’s assistants who are under contract through 2013, particularly on defense. Bears defenders have been vocal in their hope that defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and others will stay.
One prized assistant who won’t be around anymore is Dave Toub, the special-teams coordinator the last nine seasons. Although he interviewed with Emery, Toub was considered a long shot and was allowed to interview for coordinator vacancies with the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs, who announced Tuesday they had hired him.
As of Tuesday evening, the Bears still hadn’t notified several other candidates if they were eliminated from contention. That may be a formality, once Emery works out an agreement with his choice.
One league source believed that could happen as soon as today.
Surgery for Marshall
Bears Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his hip, a league source said. Marshall isn’t expected to be slowed for more than couple of weeks, but he may not play in the Pro Bowl later this month. He was the MVP of the Pro Bowl last year, scoring four touchdowns.