The Chicago Bears have been interviewing candidates all week for their vacant position. To this point, they’ve interviewed or are planning on interviewing Tim Ruskell (Director of Player Personnel with the Bears), Jason Licht (Patriots Director of Player Personnel), Jimmy Raye (Chargers Director of Player Personnel), Phil Emory (Chiefs Director of College Scouting) and Chicago Bear Jew’s favorite Marc Ross (Giants Director of College Scouting). So I was thinking, if I could sit in on the interview process, what are some questions I would ask? Listed in bold are my questions and in italics are the answers I would like to hear. Love to hear your thoughts as well…
What is your draft philosophy? Do you take the best player available or draft for need?
I am a believer in drafting the best player available. Even if it’s an area of strength, you can never have enough great players on a roster. Team’s that draft for need always seem to not get the most value out of a pick.
Entering this offseason, what is the Bears biggest need?
The most obvious answer is wide receiver. But I actually believe safety is more important. In order for Lovie Smith’s Cover Two defense to be most effective, the safeties become essential. Chris Conte showed some promise, but the rest of the clown college of safeties would struggle in the CFL. As the Giants proved, you can find guys like Victor Cruz to play receiver in free agency. Finding a good safety seems to be a bigger challenge in the draft.
How do you smooth over the Matt Forte situation?
In any negotiation, both sides need to feel like they’ve been a little screwed over. The Bears are within their rights to Franchise Tag Forte. However, it seems that Forte isn’t satisfied with that approach. Jerry Angelo seems to have made this situation worse than it needed to be, so sitting down with Forte and coming to a compromise seems the most reasonable approach. The Franchise Option remains on the table, but it’s more important to create a collaborative relationship with Forte. It just takes each side being a bit reasonable. And my gut tells me that Angelo made this process much more difficult than it needed to be.
What will it take for the Chicago Bears to be in the Super Bowl next season?
I actually think this is much more obtainable than one thinks. If the Bears had an even average backup quarterback, they would have been in the playoffs. Moving forward, this team needs to improve team depth while addressing concerns in the secondary, receiving core and offensive line. If they’re able to do that through free agency and the draft, things will be different if there’s an injury. But it starts with bringing in players that can contribute. If you look at the teams playing this weekend for the NFC and AFC championships, a few tweaks to their rosters helped them get in this position. There’s a foundation in place with the Bears, there just need to be a few pieces added.
What are your long-term plans with Lovie Smith?
Smith is a good coach. Considering the other candidates that are available, he’s certainly as good if not better than any of the other options. That being said, he will be evaluated on a year-to-year basis. If he’s not performing, the organization will evaluate him fairly. If a change needs to be made, we will not be afraid to pull the trigger. The NFL is about staying current, and Smith needs to keep up with the times. While he’s respected by his players and peers, the Chicago Bears are the most important component here and he’ll be judged accordingly.
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