Plan of Action

While Jerry Angelo has begun the interview process, the Bears GM will not talk to all the candidates this week.

General manager Jerry Angelo has a list of between six and eight candidates to succeed Dick Jauron. Although Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel was to be interviewed on Wednesday, Angelo has talked only in general terms concerning who and what he's looking for in the Bears' next head coach.

Dozens of names are being tossed about as potential candidates for the several head coaching vacancies in the NFL. Many of them are assistants on teams competing in the postseason, and those whose teams have byes this weekend will be making the rounds of teams looking for a new leader. Some of them are on Angelo's list, and he will talk to them this week, but he will not meet with all of his candidates this week.

He hopes to pare his list to no more than three or four by the third week in January.

"I'm not limited to any particular type," Angelo said. "I've made sure that I've explored all our options and made sure that we're going to do our due diligence to all our candidates. Once I've established who the finalists are, I will bring them here to Halas Hall. I will introduce them to ownership, management and to the media. Once that process has started, then shortly after we'll make our final decision."

Although president and CEO Ted Phillips will have input into the decision, as will the McCaskey family, Angelo has the final word.

"The decision rests with me ultimately," Angelo said, "and I feel very confident that we'll find a coach that will take us to the next level."

Because the Bears are obligated to pay Jauron and his staff for next season, there has been speculation that the team might be financially restricted in hiring a new coach.

"No, there won't be," Angelo said. "We'll create a very good package, and I don't anticipate that to be a problem at all.

"Our bottom line is to find the best football coach for this football team. The monies will take care of themselves. If somebody's fixing a dollar sign, and he's going to create an auction, I'm not necessarily motivated to go down that path with that type of person. I want somebody who wants to be here. I think that's very, very important."

Angelo said head-coaching experience will not be a prerequisite but it would be a plus.

"It would be a good something to have on your resume, but I'm not going to be restrictive with it," Angelo said. "Naturally any time you've been through the process of being a head coach, it's beneficial."

Angelo expressed admiration for some of Jauron's assistants, who are still under contract for another year but will be allowed to explore other interests. He hopes some will interview with the Bears' new head coach before moving on.

"If that works out, it would be great," Angelo said. "One of our coaches brought up to me (that) it's a business of musical chairs, and they want to make sure that when the music stops playing, that they have a spot to sit, and I understand that, too. I told them I'd take it on a case-by-case basis. But I would like the new head coach to come in, look at our staff, evaluate it and make his own decisions."

One perk the Bears' new coach will not be offered is any of Angelo's authority in personnel decisions.

"I think I know personnel," he said. "That's my lifeline. That's what I do. His lifeline obviously is to coach the football team and develop players. I don't do that well. I don't call plays, and I'm not in the mind to learn our coach's playbook. I think these jobs are very, very difficult, and there's a lot involved, and I want to draw from everybody's expertise. My expertise happens to be in personnel and I don't want to surrender that."


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