Bears Rumors

Ed Dodds Withdraws From Bears GM Search

Thanks, but no thanks. After some consideration, Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds has withdrawn his name from the Bears’ GM search (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero).

It’s not yet clear if Dodds is staying put or if he’s choosing to focus on other opportunities. The Raiders also have Dodds on their GM search list, alongside Bengals scout Trey Brown, Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly, and Patriots director of personnel Dave Ziegler.

Dodds in the running for GM jobs with the Lions and Panthers in the past cycle, so he has enough cache to be selective. A Colts exec since 2017, Dodds also impressed in his previous front office role with the Seahawks.

On the plus side, the Bears have already cast a wide net with roughly 15 candidates in the mix. As you’d expect, most of the names in this group are out-of-house candidates, though Kelly, a former Ryan Pace lieutenant, had the chance to interview last week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Matt Eberflus Set For Second Bears Interview

The Bears will conduct a second interview with Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus next week (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). With that, Eberflus now finds himself as a finalist for both the Bears and Jaguars. 

Despite lots of injuries, Eberflus’ Colts defense has been mostly solid over the past four years. The 51-year-old has long been regarded as one of the league’s sharpest minds and, finally, it appears that he’s on the verge of scoring his first ever head coaching position.

The Jets strongly considered Eberflus last year, but ultimately found a different defensive guru in Robert Saleh. The Chargers also met with Eberflus, though they ultimately chose Brandon Staley as their HC.

Colts head coach Frank Reich has spoken highly of Eberflus’ credentials and so has Nick Sirianni, the one-time Colts offensive coordinator who now serves as the Eagles’ HC.

Adapt or get exposed at practice. Yes, we hustle. Yes, we finish. But we put a (higher) standard on it after being with Flus for a little bit,” Sirianni said towards the end of 2020 (via FOX59). “The way they practice obviously makes us better. The reason I think we’re good at protecting the football is because of how crazy they are at coming after it. Not everybody practices that way.’’

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Request To Interview Bears DC Sean Desai

The Seahawks have requested an interview with Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai, according to Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic (Twitter link). If the request is granted, Desai will have a chance to take over for Ken Norton, who will be let go this week.

[RELATED: Seahawks To Part Ways With DC Ken Norton]

Desai, 38, has been with Chicago since 2013. The Bears promoted Desai to DC last February, handing him the keys to a talented, yet underperforming, unit.

I’m not a big car guy, so my analogies may not be great, but this is like a tune up,” Desai said at the time. “We’re going to refine some things and we’re going to make sure our players are playing to their strengths on a consistent basis and they’re going to buy into the system and the whys and the hows of why we’re doing certain things. But we’ve got a good defense. We’ve got really good players here.”

Unfortunately, Desai got something of a lemon. Injuries to standouts like Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks left the Bears with a severely weakened pass rush, though Desai is credited with keeping things afloat throughout the year.

In addition to Desai, the Seahawks are also considering Ed Donatell, another product of the Vic Fangio coaching tree.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2022 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

Along with the head coaches being fired, a few NFL teams are looking for new general managers. The Bears, Giants and Vikings are in the market for new GMs, while the Steelers are soon to follow. Listed below are the GM candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status.

If and when other teams decide to make GM changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-19-22 (8:42am CT)

Chicago Bears

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, seven NFL teams opted to make a head coaching change. With the Texans firing David Culley, there are now eight full-time vacancies available this year.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-18-21 (8:40pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Updated 2022 NFL Draft Order

With the Wild Card round complete, another six positions in the 2022 NFL Draft have been confirmed.

One of the most interesting developments relates to the Philadelphia Eagles. After losing on Sunday, their own first round pick has been locked in at No. 19, having already known they would also own the 15th and 16th selections. What the team does with that much draft capital will be one of the most interesting storylines of the draft.

For non-playoff teams, the draft order is determined by the inverted 2021 standings, plus a series of tiebreakers, starting with strength of schedule. For playoff teams, the order is determined by their postseason outcome and regular season record.

Here is the updated order after this weekend’s results:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-14
  2. Detroit Lions: 3-13-1
  3. Houston Texans: 4-13
  4. New York Jets: 4-13
  5. New York Giants: 4-13
  6. Carolina Panthers: 5-12
  7. New York Giants(via Bears)
  8. Atlanta Falcons: 7-10
  9. Denver Broncos: 7-10
  10. New York Jets (via Seahawks)
  11. Washington Football Team: 7-10
  12. Minnesota Vikings: 8-9
  13. Cleveland Browns: 8-9
  14. Baltimore Ravens: 8-9
  15. Philadelphia Eagles (via Dolphins)
  16. Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts)
  17. Los Angeles Chargers: 9-8
  18. New Orleans Saints: 9-8
  19. Philadelphia Eagles: 9-8
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-7-1
  21. New England Patriots: 10-7
  22. Las Vegas Raiders: 10-7
  23. Arizona Cardinals: 11-6
  24. Dallas Cowboys: 12-5
  25. Cincinnati Bengals: 10-7*
  26. Miami Dolphins (via 49ers)
  27. Buffalo Bills: 11-6*
  28. Detroit Lions (via Rams)
  29. Kansas City Chiefs: 12-5*
  30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 13-4*
  31. Tennessee Titans: 12-5*
  32. Green Bay Packers: 13-4*

* = Remaining playoff teams

Bears Request Interview With Chiefs Exec Ryan Poles

The Bears’ long list of GM candidates continues to grow. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter), the organization requested permission to interview Chiefs Executive Director of Player Personnel Ryan Poles.

Poles was mentioned as a candidate for the Panthers GM job last offseason. The executive has spent much of his career with the Chiefs, working his way up from director of college scouting to executive director of player personnel, where he works alongside GM Brett Veach and assistant GM Mike Borgonzi.

The 36-year-old has been a popular name once again in the GM circuit. Poles has already been connected to the open gigs with the Vikings and Giants.

Among the (now) four GM openings, the Bears easily have the longest list of candidates. Poles will join a group of potential interviewees that includes:

Pats’ McDaniels Not Getting Interview Requests?

In an article for NBC Sports, Mike Florio divulged that a source with knowledge of the situation informed him that Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels hasn’t received requests to be interviewed by any of the eight teams currently looking for a new head coach. This development has surprised the Patriots, but they expect the situation to change soon. 

McDaniels is a long time Patriots’ staffer, first joining the organization in 2001 as a personnel assistant. After a year, McDaniels worked with the team as a defensive assistant for two years before switching to the offensive side of the coaching staff. After one season as the Patriots’ quarterbacks coach, McDaniels was promoted to offensive coordinator, developing the Patriots’ offense into the juggernaut that broke several NFL records in the 2007 season. His coaching success led to much speculation that he could be a top candidate for head coaching jobs, but he pulled his name out of the ring before the Patriots even finished their playoff run.

When McDaniels was able to lead a Patriots team quarterbacked by Matt Cassel to an 11-5 record, following a season-ending injury to Tom Brady in Week 1 of the 2008 season, the Broncos saw fit to name McDaniels as their new head coach for the 2009 NFL season. McDaniels’s tenure in Denver started with a six-game win-streak before losing eight of the next ten games to finish the season 8-8. After a 3-9 start to the 2010 season, and multiple controversies from his handling of difficult players, Denver decided they’d seen enough and fired McDaniels after Week 13. McDaniels spent a year as the offensive coordinator of the Rams, under Steve Spagnuolo, before returning to New England following Spagnuolo’s firing.

McDaniels has stayed in Foxborough ever since. He’s continued to draw head coaching interest here and there, even accepting the head coach position for the Indianapolis Colts in February of 2018 before backing out of his commitment on the same day to stay in New England, prompting his long-time agent, Bob LaMonte, to sever ties with McDaniels.

McDaniels’s handling and development of rookie quarterback Mac Jones has led to some speculation that one of the two teams that have both 1) a head coaching vacancy and 2) a young quarterback might show immediate interest in the 45-year old coordinator. Can Bill Polian overlook his lack of a good relationship with McDaniels and advise that the Bears bring him in to mentor Justin Fields? Will McDaniels decide that he can handle working for Trent Baalke and agree to take Trevor Lawrence under his wing? Keep track of McDaniels and other candidates in our 2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker.

Bears Request Reggie McKenzie Interview

The Bears have requested an interview with Dolphins senior personnel executive Reggie McKenzie for their GM vacancy (Twitter link via Albert Breer of The MMQB). This marks McKenzie’s first GM interview since he was fired by the Raiders in December 2018.

After several years as an NFL linebacker, McKenzie for the Packers’ front office from 1994 through 2012. After that, he was hired as the Raiders’ GM, inheriting a team with an awful cap situation and depleted draft capital. McKenzie was not perfect, but he did manage to turn that club into a playoff team. Then, prior to the 2018 season, new head coach Jon Gruden wrestled away much of his control, shaking up the roster by trading superstar Khalil Mack to the Bears and shedding other veterans.

McKenzie made some of his best moves in the 2014 draft and did hit on some of his bigger free agency deals, leading the Raiders to a 12-4 2016 with a playoff appearance to snap their long-standing drought. McKenzie earned executive of the year acclaim for his role in that 2016 turnaround. He’s spent the last two years in the Dolphins’ front office where the jury is still out on Chris Grier‘s performance.

Here’s the full rundown of the Bears’ search, via PFR’s tracker:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Interview Titans’ Monti Ossenfort

Today the Chicago Bears announced that they interviewed Monti Ossenfort for the their open general manager position. While not previously mentioned as a candidate for Chicago, Ossenfort has interviewed with the Giants and will interview with the Vikings tomorrow.

Ossenfort has been the director of player personnel in Tennessee for the past two years. Prior to the Titans, he spent 17 seasons in the Patriots’ organization, acting as the director of college scouting in his last six years in New England.

As far as we’ve seen, Ossenfort is the fifth candidate to interview for the open general manager position and Chicago has several other targets who have yet to interview. Follow the updates on all three open general manager positions on our 2022 NFL General Manager Search Tracker.