By Chris Emma–
(CBS) The Tour de Gase continues on — at least for now.
Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase has been a busy man this week, sitting for head coaching interviews with the Eagles, Browns and Dolphins in consecutive days. On Friday, Gase is scheduled to meet with the Giants in New York.
Not long after the Bears’ season ended at 6-10 with a 24-20 loss to the Lions last Sunday, the slate of meetings was set for the 37-year-old Gase, who’s a top candidate to become a head coach. This whirlwind comes a year after a power play pulled by the 49ers to hire him as coach backfired and led Gase to John Fox’s staff in Chicago.
Gase padded his resume in Chicago by helping quarterback Jay Cutler to his most efficient season in a Bears uniform. Still, Gase was going to be a candidate to become head coach regardless of what happened with Fox’s team. As Broncos offensive coordinator previously, Gase made enough of an impression working with Peyton Manning.
“He’s going to be good,” Cutler said of Gase’s head coaching potential. “If he gets that shot, I’m going to be excited for him. He deserves it.”
The interviews for Gase began on Tuesday in Philadelphia when he met with the Eagles, who dismissed Chip Kelly before their Week 17 finale. The team has also interviewed running backs coach Duce Staley and interim coach Pat Schurmer for the position, though Gase is presumed to be the favorite. The Eagles have reportedly sought a second interview with Gase.
Gase went to Cleveland on Wednesday to visit with the Browns, whose intrigue increased with the hiring of Mets executive Paul DePodesta as into the leading role in their front office. However, a source suggested that the Browns are considered a longshot to land Gase, largely due to their recent instability and quarterback uncertainty. Mike Pettine marked the eighth coach fired by Cleveland since the turn of the century.
On Thursday, Gase met in Miami with the Dolphins, an enticing option. The team has a young core that includes quarterback Ryan Tannehill. However, Gase entered Friday with the Eagles looking to be the leading contender.
The Giants can make an impression on Gase when they meet on Friday. Two-time Super Bowl champion Tom Coughlin resigned after 12 seasons in New York, leaving behind quarterback Eli Manning and a star receiver in Odell Beckham. Still, the Giants haven’t reached the playoffs since 2011, a Super Bowl-winning season.
In New York, there’s a stable situation and supportive ownership that can provide Gase with comfort in the head coaching seat.
Meanwhile, the Bears have long been prepared for Gase to get an opportunity as head coach, with Fox hiring his offensive coordinator from Denver knowing he would again be a leading candidate for a promotion. If Gase leaves, the Bears could act quickly in replacing the position, with quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains and veteran offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt among the options.
“We have a plan in place,” Fox said Monday. “Finding good, quality coaches have never been a problem.”
Joked Bears general manager Ryan Pace: “One of the benefits of John (Fox) being 100 years old is that he knows a lot of coaches.”
What’s next for Gase remains in the works. His fourth interview in four days comes on Friday with the Giants, and then difficult decisions will follow. Gase must decide whether he wants to return for a follow-up in Philadelphia and what his next step will be.
Gase has been busy on his ride around the country this week, but he should have a final destination soon.