One lesson people still haven’t quite learned with the Chicago Bears is that they’re impossible to predict. Especially when it comes to changes at the top. Nobody saw Phil Emery or Ryan Pace coming when they took over the GM jobs in 2012 and 2015. Marc Trestman was a huge shock as head coach in 2013 as was Matt Nagy in 2018. Just when it seems like a favorite is emerging, the organization pulls a hard left.
This is why their ongoing process of finding Nagy and Pace replacements is so difficult to predict. Nobody seems to know which direction they may or may not be leaning. This has led many to believe the entire search is nothing more than a muddled mess. The reality is there won’t be any clarity on this subject until the final decision is made.
So the best thing to discuss is who the favorites appear to be with the search approaching the end of its second week. Here are the names that stand out the most for each job.
Chicago Bears appear to have some contenders for both spots
Ryan Poles (Chiefs director of player personnel)
As of this moment, Poles is the only candidate to get a second interview with the Bears. So it’s only natural he would be on the list. A former Bears undrafted free agent, he transitioned to scouting in 2009 with the Chiefs. From there he spent the next decade rising through the ranks from scout to college scouting coordinator to director of college scouting and finally director of player personnel. In that time, Kansas City secured a wealth of future Hall of Fame talents like Travis Kelce, Chris Jones, Tyreek Hill, and Patrick Mahomes. He’s learned from several different GMs too in Scott Pioli, John Dorsey, and Brett Veach.
Morocco Brown (Colts director of college scouting)
Word is that Bears consultant Bill Polian initially pushed Brown as his favorite option for the GM spot. Not surprising given the Colts connection. However, it goes beyond that. The young executive worked in Chicago from 2001 to 2007, navigated some tough stints in Washington and Cleveland, and is now having some great success in Indianapolis. He has experience on both the college and pro personnel sides and comes across as somebody with great communication skills. He’s had some good teachers too including Jerry Angelo, Mike Shanahan, and Chris Ballard.
Monti Ossenfort (Titans VP of player personnel)
He was a surprise late addition to the interview list last week. By the sounds of things, the veteran executive made an excellent impression. Ossenfort played a big role in helping the Patriots win three Super Bowls in 2014, 2016, and 2018. Then he assisted Tennessee in becoming the #1 playoff seed this season. He’s fully instructed in the Patriot Way of building a football team. That is to say, it doesn’t matter what background you come from. First round pick or undrafted. If the team feels you can play, you’ll get an opportunity. He also knows the value of building around the quarterback.
Matt Eberflus (Colts defensive coordinator)
Like Poles, Eberflus is the only coaching candidate the Chicago Bears have officially invited back for a second interview. He is also reportedly the guy Polian recommended to the team as a pairing with Brown. That connection is obvious. Eberflus isn’t just getting preferential treatment. His defense has ranked top 10 in three of the past four seasons. They’ve ranked top 10 in takeaways every year. His ability to coach effort, discipline, and consistency are hallmarks of his success. While not the flashiest candidate, the track record speaks for itself. This is somebody that gets results.
Brian Flores (former Dolphins head coach)
One can’t forget the reports that suggested the Bears were “smitten” with Flores following his interview last week. The young coach had some offensive question marks follow him from Miami but he got the most out of that roster with back-to-back winning seasons. A lot of those problems weren’t of his own making. Many believe he is poised to crush his second opportunity. Especially if he can get the quarterback position right. The current belief is he might be the favorite for the New York Giants job, but things can change fast in these instances. It will be interesting to see if they try bringing him back for another meeting.
Brian Daboll (Bills offensive coordinator)
The Chicago Bears have been connected to Daboll for months now. As far back as November when insider Benjamin Allbright insisted he was the “leader in the clubhouse.” It can’t be ignored that two of the three GM candidates listed in this article have connections to Daboll too. Poles spent a year with him in Kansas City in 2012. Ossenfort worked with him from 2013 to 2016 as a member of the Patriots. There is no denying what the coach could do for Justin Fields at quarterback. Much of this might depend on what the Giants do. They seem high on Daboll as well and are a step ahead having already hired their new GM.