Emma: Unlike in 2015, Bears need to allow new GM to completely control coaching search


(670 The Score) Bears chairman George McCaskey and team president Ted Phillips claim they've learned from their past hiring mistakes. Now, they must prove it.

Podcast Episode
Bernstein & Rahimi Show
Transition: Bears hire Ryan Poles as new GM
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing

The Bears are set to hire 36-year-old Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles as their next general manager, as first reported by ESPN on Tuesday. This Bears search process played out similarly to the one in 2015, with McCaskey and Phillips being guided by an outside consultant – Ernie Accorsi then and Bill Polian now – and selecting a rising scout from a successful organization to lead their football operations department. Back in 2015, the Bears hired young executive Ryan Pace from the Saints and seemed to arrange a marriage with veteran head coach John Fox.

How McCaskey and Phillips came to choose Poles feels like what happened when they hired Pace as general manager in 2015, but they can end the similarity with one important change. That’s letting Poles own the Bears’ hiring of their new head coach.

Prior to picking Poles on Tuesday, the Bears’ search committee – McCaskey, Phillips, Polian, director of player engagement LaMar “Soup” Campbell and senior vice president of diversity, equality and inclusion Tanesha Wade – had interviewed 13 candidates for general manager and 10 for head coach. The goal was to set a foundation with each candidate in the virtual interviews.

With all due respect to head coach candidate Jim Caldwell, who according to ESPN is at Halas Hall on Tuesday, Poles shouldn’t need to interview him if he doesn’t see the fit.

If Poles wants to conduct a second interview with any of the Bears’ 10 coaching candidates interviewed, he should have full control over that – and also be allowed to put aside whatever convictions McCaskey and the search team previously formed. If Poles recognizes potential in a candidate like Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy -- who hasn't been interviewed by the Bears -- he should be allowed that opportunity.

The Bears are set to conduct second interviews with Caldwell, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. That group of apparent finalists should be whittled down or expanded based on what Poles sees as best.

As for McCaskey and Phillips, they need to live up to their previously stated word and stay out of the Bears’ football operations after appointing their lead executive.

Now that he’s in charge, Poles must be taking the lead for the Bears’ future.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Chicago Bears