First impression of hire

The recent search for a coach turned out exactly as I had expected. Once again, the Bears are the laughing stock of the National Football League and most of the blame goes in Jerry Angelo's direction.

The whole situation reminds me of the Bears quarterback search last winter.

Jerry Angelo hemmed and hawed then finally got Kordell Stewart long after all of the top candidates for the job had signed elsewhere. Conceivably, a team could get away with tactics like that if they had a top quarterback already in place.

The Bears hadn't had one in years and their desperation as evident to everybody in the league. Stewart, whose good years in professional football were behind him, was a nice enough guy, but just wasn't the right fit for this team. The end result? A disaster. And what does Angelo get out of all of this? An extended contract. Go figure.

To me, it seems that Angelo's ego was the driving force behind the pursuit of LSU's Nick Saban. Ironically, he met his match in Saban, a fellow with an ego the size of the entire state of Louisiana.

Can't you just see it? Saban telling his ‘close friend' to come on down to Louisiana. ‘Let's talk,' he says. Angelo swallows the bait and heads south, but with a lowball offer. It's a comedy of errors.

Saban turns Angelo down after letting him twist and turn for 9 hours. Nick looks good to the LSU fans, while Angelo looks bad. In the meantime, good coaching candidates are being snapped up right and left by other NFL teams while this charade is going on.

Next, Angelo goes after the coach at Cal who turns him down immediately. What is with that? You start your search by going after two college coaches? Granted, one has limited NFL experience, but still, there are a lot of better guys floating around out there.

Now, comes time to showcase the finalists. Who do we see at Halas Hall? Russ Grimm and Lovie Smith are not exactly headliners in the world of coaching.

But don't get me wrong. I do think that both men have potential. Lovie Smith presents himself well and talks a good game. I was somewhat concerned as I saw nothing from him outlining his plans for coaching Rex Grossman or for handling the offense of the Bears where there is a glaring need for some direction. It's no secret that Smith is defensively oriented.

Hello, Jerry? Did you miss the last season completely? We need help on offense, not defense. Why not interview a few offensive coordinators? There are plenty out there. Are you hoping to find the right guy to handle the quarterbacks and the offense should Smith take the job? Good luck. It didn't happen last time around.

Then we have Grimm. Frankly, of the two, I would have gone with him because things are bad with the Bears right now. Why not take a chance and go with a guy who just might be the perfect fit? OK he didn't wear a suit to his interview. Who cares? Grimm definitely is what I'd call a lunch bucket kind of a guy, like the Super Fans on the old Saturday Night live broadcasts. Nothing wrong with that.

There were comparisons drawn between Grimm and Mike Ditka, which is a stretch. Clearly, once again the media doesn't want facts to get in the way of a good story. Their backgrounds are different; their experience level is different. Ditka came in and won the Super Bowl in 4 years as head coach. Could Grimm do that? Nobody knows, but it might have been worth giving him a chance just to see what would happen. And at least it would have been fun.

The mystery candidate fiasco just seemed like a smokescreen. Did this person even exist? My gut feeling is no. Just mentioning him gives Angelo an automatic fall back position in case something went wrong in the hiring process. What does that tell you both about Angelo's ego and his supposed ability to spot and hire talent?

I find myself wondering just when the search process for the new head coach began. Remember Angelo's last press conference? The one that was held the day Dick Jauron was fired? Angelo said then that he had decided to let Dick go a week before actually firing him. Did Angelo begin his search that point? I doubt it. If he had, things wouldn't be so disorganized now. So much for his supposed management ability.

Think about it. So far, the Bears have interviewed 4 college coaches, 1 position coach and 3 defensive coordinators. Not enough people, and more importantly, not enough of the right people for this job.

Better preparation by a GM brings better candidates to the forefront. Having a GM who is willing to relinquish some of the control to the head coach will have potential hires beating down the doors to Halas Hall instead of running the other way.

Angelo scared away those who were most qualified. The team and its fans are paying the price for this shortsightedness. Few top coaches would come into a situation like we have here. It's Angelo's problem right now and it's staring him in the face. If Smith fails, then Angelo could be the next fall guy at Halas Hall.

Mike Pyle played center for the Bears from 1961-69. Since retiring from the game he has spent time in broadcasting and following the Bears.


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