Fully aware that locking up a new head coach is priority No. 1 for his organization, Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery told Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times that he plans to fill his team's vacant coaching spot before the upcoming East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 19.
Though a number of names have already been rumored to be interested in the wake of Lovie Smith's firing, Emery stressed that he will review every single viable candidate for the job before making a final decision, regardless of the relatively short timeline.
"No. 1 criteria is excellence in their role,'' Emery said Tuesday. ''Whatever that role is, we're going to look at a wide variety of candidates. We're going to look offensively. We're going to look defensively. We're going to look special teams. We're going to look NFL. We're going to look college."
Emery has already set up interviews with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, but could be forced to pump the brakes in his search if a candidate or two happens to move deep into the postseason. If the second-year general manager has things his way however, Chicago's new man on the sidelines will be able to join him at the two vital college senior games in late January.
'I'm going to do everything with a sense of urgency,'' Emery said. ''My druthers would be ideally that I could stand shoulder to shoulder with this person during the All-Star games."
While some organizations are often content on making the largest possible splash when faced with this situation, it's refreshing that Emery has placed a trait like consistent excellence above the chance to acquire a big-name target. Chicago's 2012 campaign represented a significant step forward even though it resulted in Smith's dismissal, and it's not a stretch to say that Emery's new hire will have a well-stocked cupboard to work with.