LeGere: Bears' search for new GM is on
The Bears are expected to decide on their next general manager and then let him select the 15th head coach in franchise history, although circumstances could dictate a deviation from the norm.
That being said, Bears chairman George McCaskey and team president and CEO Ted Phillips, along with adviser Ernie Accorsi, are more focused on getting the general manager hire done first.
According to reports, Accorsi already has arranged interviews for the Bears with Baltimore Ravens director of pro personnel Vince Newsome, New York Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross and Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson.
There are no set-in-stone criteria, relative to experience or past affiliation with the organization.
But there are several candidates who, in addition to being qualified, seem to be good fits for the Bears.
As it happens, many of them have some kind of local connection.
The Franklin Park native and East Leyden High School graduate is more often suggested as a head-coaching candidate, and Bovada lists him as the favorite, at 2-1 odds, to become the Bears' next head coach, just ahead of Rex Ryan at 5-2.
But, when Shanahan was hired as Washington's head coach in 2010, he also was named vice president of football operations with the final say on all personnel matters.
In his four years in Washington, Shanahan's teams were a combined 24-40 with three double-digit-loss seasons outweighing his only playoff team, which went 10-6 in 2012.
That served as the most recent example of why NFL teams shouldn't give anyone not named Bill Belichick supreme control over personnel along with head-coaching duties.
As a coach only, Shanahan won back-to-back Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos after the 1997 and 1998 seasons, and his 14-year reign included a 138-86 record. He also coached the Broncos to seven double-digit-win seasons, each of which led to the playoffs, where he compiled an 8-5 record.
The Broncos had only two sub-.500 seasons on Shanahan's watch and starting with his second season he went 39-9 over a three-year span.
At 62, Shanahan might be better suited to the front office than the sidelines.
On ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown last week he said, "Only one thing I want to do is win.
"It's not just coaching but going to the right organization that will make a strong commitment because there's only one team that's happy at the end of the year and that's the team that wins the Super Bowl."
His past and relatively successful three-year history of working with Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in Denver has been well-documented.
Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel
Ballard has held that title since 2013, overseeing the college and pro scouting departments. He works with Chiefs GM John Dorsey on player acquisitions.
Before that he spent 12 years with the Bears, 11 as an area scout (southwest region) under former GM Jerry Angelo. In 2012 Ballard was the Bears' director of pro scouting in Phil Emery's first year as GM in Chicago.
A year ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sought the Chiefs' permission to interview Ballard for their GM job but were denied, and Ballard said he preferred to stay in K.C.
Ballard might be a tough sell to Bears fans considering the parallels to Emery, a longtime Bears scout who served briefly with the Chiefs before returning to Halas Hall as GM.
Minnesota Vikings assistant GM
The Jets already have requested permission to interview Paton for their vacant GM job, and his name has been mentioned frequently in recent years for such positions.
He declined an overture from the Miami Dolphins a year ago and was a contender for the St. Louis Rams' gig in 2012.
At that time he was promoted to his present position after seven years as the Vikings' director of player personnel under GM Rick Spielman.
Paton and Spielman worked together with the Bears and the Miami Dolphins before joining forces in Minnesota. Paton was the Dolphins' director of pro personnel for six years (2001-06). He was the Bears' assistant director of pro personnel in 2000 under Mark Hatley.
New York Giants vice president of player evaluation.
Ross was a strong candidate for the Bears' job in 2012 that went to Emery and has done nothing since then to tarnish his reputation. Many NFL insiders consider him among the top few GM candidates.
He has run the Giants' scouting department and their draft the past two years. The previous six years he was Giants director of college scouting.
His first year with New York was 2007, Accorsi's last year with the team. Before that he was a national college scout for the Buffalo Bills for three years.
Baltimore Ravens director of pro personnel
He has been with the Ravens since 1993 and their pro personnel director for five years, but is no relation to Ravens respected GM Ozzie Newsome.
He played safety for 11 years in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams. Newsome oversees the Ravens' pro scouting department and free-agent evaluation.
In 2008, he served on the committee that interviewed and selected John Harbaugh to become the Ravens' head coach.
Tennessee Titans director of pro personnel
Dawson been with the Titans for eight years, first as director of pro personnel and the past three as vice president of player personnel, where he oversees college and pro scouting departments.
While Dawson was the Seattle Seahawks' pro personnel assistant and the assistant director of pro personnel from 2001-06, they won three straight division titles and went to Super Bowl in 2005.
Dawson is a Notre Dame graduate, and he played wide receiver for six years in the NFL after being drafted in the third round by the Chiefs in 1994.
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