Bernstein: What Are The Bears Doing?

By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) Nobody snaps into inaction like the Bears.

With last week’s rambling, incoherent press conference at Halas Hall providing the perfect symbolic catalyst for his efforts, team president Ted Phillips apparently decided to race back to his office and play Angry Birds.

The Raiders have already hired away Packers football-operations director Reggie McKenzie to be their general manager and empowered him. McKenzie fired the coach. The Colts fired GM Bill Polian, and are reportedly set to hire Eagles player-personnel director Ryan Grigson. The league is abuzz with chatter as executives and coaches are flying in all directions.

And the Bears have interviewed nobody.

Amazingly, word out of Halas Hall is that Phillips and his bosses are surprised at the early lack of interest in Jerry Angelo’s old job. Had they listened to themselves, they would have heard them scaring qualified candidates away by describing their desire to hire an emasculated administrator to come in and work for the coach.

Smart, aggressive teams target the people they want, get on a plane, and go hire them. They don’t embarrass themselves publicly by failing to even adequately explain what the job is, let alone having any real idea of whom they want to pursue to fill this position that they haven’t quite defined.

That’s why you’re hearing the leaks about Angelo’s old buddy Tim Ruskell quietly falling upward into the job. Ruskell is with his fourth NFL team, and three of them were not unhappy to see him go. But he has an advantage over other possibilities, in that he’s actually here.

Phillips may figure that he’s already down to two types in his “search” — old and desperate, or young and hungry – and Ruskell is the former. It may be the perfect match of a recycled, unaccomplished guy for a phony-baloney position.

Meanwhile, leave it to them to do what they’re doing with the offense. Mike Tice made for a convenient, stress-free hire as the new coordinator, after he won rave reviews for turning a suspect offensive line into a mostly bad offensive line. The problem is, Tice knows little or nothing about the forward pass, so the Bears are looking to hire a “Passing Coordinator.”

This, considering the way the modern game is played, is like hiring an accountant who requires an assistant for all things tax-related. It’s a doctor who’s still a little fuzzy on the whole “anatomy” thing. A short-order cook who’s really good, except he just can’t fry stuff. A plumber who doesn’t do sinks.

Their first try on that front was a request to interview the Titans’ Dowell Loggains. Yes, THAT Dowell Loggains. The request was denied. It was denied because requests to interview someone for something other than a clear promotion are denied routinely.

Here’s the state of the Bears: somebody you never heard of was denied permission to discuss a made-up coaching position. And it has been a week since they ousted Angelo, with no progress made on where to go next.

It’s possible Phillips will shock us all with this eventual hire, either luring some mysterious, famous bigfoot or getting lucky with a no-name who turns out to be a visionary.

I’m not betting on that. Relying on dumb luck is way less satisfying than trusting a clear, cogent, well-executed plan.

You can’t pull a rabbit out of a hat you don’t have.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: What Are The Bears Doing?
Dan Bernstein joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995, and has been the co-host of ‚ÄúBoers and Bernstein‚Äù since 1999. Read more of Bernstein’s columns, or follow him on Twitter: @dan_bernstein.

The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM (or you can listen online).
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  • Larry

    So far, I would have felt much, much better if the Bears had just retained Angelo and Martz. Ugh.

  • Dave

    In two months, the only choice left as passing coordinator will be Mike Martz.

  • Dorothy Gale From Kansas

    Oh Uncle Dan! There’s no place like 8-8! (Cue music)

  • Satan

    Nothing new here; this organization never inspires confidence in its fans when it comes to decisions like this. After perhaps another week of extended “winter hibernation”, they’ll proudly announce Ruskell’s promotion, just like everyone expects. These guys are just oozing with creativity, lemme tell ya.

  • Slim of Lombard

    I’m beginning to think in order to apply for any Chicago Pro Sport coaching or managerial position the 1st thing on your resume has to say “YES – I’M AN IDIOT

    • BearsFan401138

      Either that, or the candidate has to be a friend of the head coach or manager

  • Asst2RegionalMgr

    Either Ted Phillips is highly incompetent or he was forced by the McCaskeys to do it this way which means they are incompetent. Either way, you get the point, someone’s incompetent. I don’t see a lot of gray area here.

  • Batman

    The passing coordinator will be a glorified QB Coach who will just do whatever Cutler tells him to do. He will get Jay his Starbucks and put on goggles when Jay starts screaming at him–to avoid the inevitable spray in the eyes. The new GM will make suggestions for player acquisitions and draft picks that will have to be approved by Lovie. He will also have a fully loaded Starbucks card at his disposal for the frequent runs he will make on Lovie’s behalf. Really, these positions could be combined so as to save money and cut the Starbucks runs in half. I propose the Bears name Jonathan Quinn as their new General Passing Coordinator Manager.

  • Bronzo

    For a Charter franchise that has been around so long, they seem to be run by a group of rank amateurs… from top to bottom..

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      Especially from top!

      The Beloved are just waiting for the best candidates to have been hired elsewhere.
      Cheap and stupid!

  • Jeff

    Dan, having the GM answer to the head coach is embarresing and the main reason why no big name GM is interested

    Also the fact that they have to live in Chicago. Having lived on both coasts, chicago is known as a flat, boring, cold, midwest city. Never hear someone say, “Lets go visit Chicago or I am moving to Chicago!”

    But hey, they do have a good sports history with Bears.

    • Meatless Meatball

      If you never hear someone say, “I am moving to Chicago,” you really ought to have your hearing tested, Jeff. In fact, no one thinks of Chicago as a “midwest” city because in truth, Chicago has less of the folksy midwestern flavor to it than Minneapolis, which is much further north.

      Lastly, you prove your clownishness by talking about the “good sports history with the Bears.” Um… Perhaps you’ve forgotten the six championships a li’l dude named Michael Jordan and his teams won in the ’90s. Perhaps you haven’t seen the reigning NBA MVP, Derrick Rose (born and raised in Chicago). You may also have missed the recent Stanley Cup victory by the Chicago Blackhawks, or even the World Series that was won by the White Sox less than a decade ago. No city in the United States has had as many successful sports teams over the last quarter century than Chicago. Not New York. Not Boston. Certainly not LA, where sports not named basketball go to die. Trolling trolls will troll, but you’re just an ignoramus.

    • Matt

      Why yes Jeff you are correct, nobody ever comes to Chicago!

      That’s why it’s the third largest market in the US with a MSA of close 10 million residents. Don’t forget Chicago is always in the top 5 in tourism nationwide and among metropolitan areas; the Chicago area has the 4th largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the world.
      Do me a favor, before your chime in on a local Chicago radio site; check your east coast/ west coast bias at the door. You sir are a d-bag.

      • Jeff

        No, just the truth. The only people who move to Chicago are those from small towns in the midwest or those who stay. Great sports city, just not glamerous.

      • Bronzo

        Except those of us who were actually born here in Chicago. I work in the futures market have for the last 18 years and last time I checked Chicago is the Futures market capitol of the world ….see CME.

        Our office is in the Sears / willis Tower i see literally thousands of tourists from all over the world EVERY DAY.

        Just what do you consider “glamerous” ?

  • Kenny's Lobster

    I propose Danny White’s daughter for passing coordinator. Or is it Mark Rypien’s daughter?


    It is so Bears that they fired Jerry Angelo as General Manager, but decided to keep Lovie Smith as head coach. It’s one thing to fire a guy in Angelo who couldn’t draft his way out of a paper bag in the early rounds of the NFL Draft throughout his tenure, yet Bears’ President Ted Phillips & new Chairman George McCaskey insisted that Lovie will continue to be the head coach regardless who the next GM will be. It doesn’t make much sense from a business standpoint. Whoever ends up the next GM will likely want his own guy as head coach. It’s very, very awkward the way the Bears are conducting themselves. If they have to promote Smith in the dual role of head coach & General Manager like other teams around the NFL, so be it. The way the Bears are conducting themselves is absolutely backwards.

  • Perry Richey

    No body wants the job of dealing with the prim a dona players, coaches, staff and least not the know it all media. When Martz was hired all you heard from local media was how a nice fit he was going to be with Cutler.

    The Bears are now one big cluster $%@&

  • ace

    maybe they are talking to matt millen-wouldn’t surprise me at this point. why is it that everyone on the outside can see they have no plan or direction except themselves! that’s why nobody in their right mind would come here to deal with this fiasco.

  • Markie Maypo

    To reiterate the point that has been made SO many times……as long as the McKaskeys own this team….THIS is how things will be. They AREN’T a football family, they don’t know their a$$ from a hole in the wall.

  • Puddin Head

    hey markie its Mccaskey…you don’t know your a$$ from a hole in the wall its their team they can run the way they want if you don’t agree with what they are doing go buy the team from them…easy

  • Denver Deadite

    If it ends up being Ruskell, I’m done with the Bears for a few years.

    I’ve been done for a few years with the Cubs due to Hendry, and even with the housecleaning there, I’m not ready to come back yet.


      “You can’t have too much pitching. . . .” So, we dumped Cashner, Marshall, Zambrano, “exploring all options with Garza that DON’T include trading” and are getting in to a bidding war for Kerry Wood.

      It used to be cute–the Bears stupid brand of football. The legendary defense (every team in the playoffs is a reminder of how that legendary defense has been shamed a few times), the uber Krappie offense, the draft debacles. But, it stopped being cute when they asked for public money to crash the UFO into a national monument. Or came up with the idea using PSLs.
      But, I’m not going back to Chicago, until they get rid of the cows, the gangsters, and the barefoot hicks that mill around the feedmills and bogs. I’m moving to SoHo!

  • Puddin Head

    good bye spauling

  • pulseczar

    There is no way the Bears were going to eat two years of Lovie’s contract. That’s why he’s staying. Why they continue to empower him is a mystery.

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