By Chris Emma–
(670 The Score) The Bears have their first coaching candidates identified just hours after officially firing John Fox.
Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo have both been requested for interviews, according to NFL Media reports. Bears general manager Ryan Pace will speak in a 4 p.m. press conference Monday at Halas Hall, where he likely will address the qualifications for his next head coach.
Black Monday in the NFL has brought widespread change, with six vacancies by noon and more likely to come. Teams are getting a head start in setting up interviews for potential replacements. Wilks has also been requested by the Colts and Lions, while DeFilippo has been requested by the Cardinals.
Wilks, 48, is working his first season as defensive coordinator for the Panthers. He served as the Bears defensive backs coach from 2006-’08 under Lovie Smith and alongside Ron Rivera. Wilks followed Rivera to San Diego before joining his staff in Carolina. The Panthers were seventh in total defense and 11th in scoring defense this season.
DeFilippo, 39, is in his second season as the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach and has been instrumental in the development of Carson Wentz. Philadelphia was seventh in total offense and third in scoring offense this season. DeFilippo previously worked one season as the offensive coordinator for the Browns, his only play-calling position in the NFL.
League rules allow initial interviews to be conducted through next Sunday with assistants who are coaching teams with a first-round bye. That would mean the Bears could interview DeFilippo this week. Assistants on playoff teams that win in the wild-card round can have an initial interview between Jan. 8-14, which would be the time frame for the Bears to possibly interview Wilks.
The Bears will likely evaluate many other coaching candidates. Here’s a list of names to watch.