The search for offensive and defensive coordinators has already begun, with Lovie Smith's former head coach in St. Louis, Mike Martz, a popular candidate to lead the offense. Martz has already said he is hoping to get a call from the Bears. Southern Cal assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who was Jay Cutler's position coach for two years with the Broncos, is another possibility. Fired Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis may have been another person of interest, but Wednesday he took the same job with the Chiefs.
There is no doubt whom Cutler would prefer. He was effusive in his praise of Bates when his former coach got the USC gig.
"Jeremy is one of the best offensive minds in football," Cutler said. "He was extremely innovative with our offense and took our playbook to the next level with some of the things he did, keeping defenses off balance and changing our look, but at the same time keeping it simple for us players. Some of the things he did were amazing to watch. He was always watching other teams and coming up with new ideas for our offense.
"He helped me grow into my third NFL season and helped me reach the Pro Bowl, along with some of the other goals I set for myself. As a unit, our offense became one of the most productive in the league with Jeremy calling plays. He brought a lot of excitement to the meeting room and on the field. He made me want to come to work every day and get better. Jeremy will do great things in his new role, and USC couldn't have picked a better guy."
On the other side of the football, former Bears secondary coach Perry Fewell, who finished the season as the Bills' interim head coach, is a logical choice and the leading candidate.
Defensive end: The pass rush was inconsistent and Adewale Ogunleye, the team leader with a modest 6.5 sacks, is an unrestricted free agent. Backups Mark Anderson and Gaines Adams offered little proof that they're capable of filling the void full time.
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Martz, Bates, Fewell Still Atop Bears' List
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