Bernstein: Solving The Mystery Of The Disappearing Coach

Sources: Tice Was Unhappy About Notion That He Needed Help

By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) Before we even got the chance to demand that he be fired, the Bears’ new “Passing-Game Coordinator” just disappeared.

The search was on to find the man whose expertise would complement that of new offensive coordinator Mike Tice, and then… poof.


Jeremy Bates was hired as quarterbacks coach, reunited with Jay Cutler after a year out of football and two years removed from a failed stint in Seattle. Nothing odd about that, since Bates was part of the conversation for the job Mike Martz got before the 2010 season, and seems nicely qualified to be the passing czar.

What is odd, though, is that the position suddenly ceased to exist.

When Tice was promoted, the Bears made it clear that a PGC was part of the plan, and set out to interview candidates. They were denied permission to talk to the Titans’ Dowell Loggains, and Tice then wanted Dirk Koetter, who instead took the OC job in Atlanta. Jedd Fisch wasn’t interested, Clyde Christiansen didn’t pan out, and Alex Van Pelt’s name was floated. Greg Olson interviewed for the position on January 12th, before he took a job with Jacksonville.

So in came Bates, but in a traditional role. Immediately after the announcement of the hire, the team informed reporters that Tice will call all the plays, will be in charge of all phases of the offense, and will be advised by positional coaches like all his NFL counterparts.

In other words, Tice is the full-fledged coordinator, and any earlier implication that he was incompetent to coach passing should be forgotten as if it was never said.

Sources tell WSCR that Tice was unhappy about the team’s public position that he needed so much help to do his job, and made his feelings known to Lovie Smith. His point was a fair one: why promote him, only to then make him look like a fool? Why send mixed messages to Cutler and the rest of the offense about who’s in charge? What would the point be in having a nominal coordinator not responsible for passing, in a league that has made that aspect more important than ever?

The good news is that Tice succeeded. He’s right.

We are told that new general manager Phil Emery also questioned the wisdom of how this was being handled, and that’s another good sign. As the hiring process went on, and Tice’s dissatisfaction became stronger, clearer and better known, the job opening changed.

Bates will have more power than predecessor Shane Day, and matters more than others at his level due only to his direct connection to the team’s most significant player. It may also so happen that he does advise Tice on passing exactly as Smith envisioned, with the chain of command better defined.

But at least they righted what could have been a wrong before it happened.

It would have been typically Bears to take something so simple, and make it confusing and weird — like they did with Emery, the de facto personnel director whose eventual GM power vests over time, like so many stock options.

Thanks to Tice speaking up, they backed off a bad idea.

We’ll take the small victories.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Solving The Mystery Of The Disappearing Coach

Dan Bernstein

Dan Bernstein joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995, and has been the co-host of Boers and Bernstein 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).
Listen to The Boers and Bernstein Show podcasts »

More from Dan Bernstein

    “What is this fork for?”
    “It’s for what is this fork used, but that’s besides the point. Well, unless you are dining in a
    parisian hotel in 1970, it’ll probably be for the first thing put in front of you. . . .”
    “How do they know what I’m going to order?”
    “It’s the salad fork.”
    “I don’t like salad.”
    “Then use the other fork.”
    “Got it!”

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    I never would have noticed.

  • Steve Frederick

    Slow day at the score?

  • DennyGreen

    The good news is they made Tice a big boy OC, the bad news is deep down inside the organization does not feel Tice has the ability to do it alone. Here’s to hoping Cutler will make the ol’ lug look good as OC like he has for the last 2 years with Tice’s O-Line coaching.

  • Denver Deadite

    “why promote him, only to then make him look like a fool?”

    Because that’s what the Bears do best?

  • Uncle Larry

    Wow, 5 comments. Quite a reaction.

  • Bum Beater

    Bernstein has cancer!

    • Old guy in a movie

      “get off my lawn!”

  • been banned

    You get more reaction and commentary when you throw the “napalm everyone who lives in Pennsylvania” kind of remarks out there. Dude, if you want to be incendiary, please light it up with the editorials–this one was pure graham cracker in its edginess.

    If you can napalm PA, can we napalm Israel?. I mean they have people there that have treated others badly too and they take a lot of our money…maybe just nuke em all huh Dan?
    But dude, please, if you’re going to take up space writing about something, make it worthwhile, this one was pure milquetoast. We want the napalm and death wish stuff.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live