Defensive state of mind

With Jim Fassel and the Bears apparently not interested in one another at this point the list of possible candidates is suddenly top heavy on the defensive side of the ball. GM Jerry Angelo will meet with San Francisco defensive coordinator Jim Mora Jr. today.

All indications were that Jim Fassel and Jerry Angelo were to meet today, but over the weekend both sides decided to push the interview back till the end of the week or even in to next week. By that time Fassel could have a job with one of several teams including the Arizona Cardinals, where he spent a season as offensive coordinator, the Washington Redskins or Buffalo Bills.

Jim Mora Jr., the defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, was a finalist for that team's head-coaching vacancy before Dennis Erickson was hired. He's been the leader of a defense that has ranked no higher than 13th since he took over the position in 1999.

Mike Nolan the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens is scheduled to interview with Angelo this week. His team was lost to Tennessee 20-17 in wildcard weekend. He has the unique perspective of spending a season as a wide receivers coach.

Romeo Crennel and Lovie Smith defensive coordinators for the New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams respectively met with Angelo last week, but cannot meet for a follow up until their clubs are eliminated from the playoffs. So there's a chance that the two sides could meet in the Super Bowl, which would put them behind in a search for assistant coaches.

With Angelo stating that he would interview 6-8 candidates and Fassel being eliminated from consideration there are still 2-4 candidates that have not interviewed.

Now that the college bowl season is over other names that could surface are LSU's Nick Saban, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz and Maryland's Ralph Friedgen, all have NFL experience, which is something Angelo desires.

While all three have said that they're happy at their perspective universities, but that's never stopped a coach in the past from bolting the college game for the pros.

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey could also be considered.

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