John Fox’s timeline could be the same as Ryan Pace’s with the Bears: interview on Wednesday, announcement on Thursday and press conference on Friday.
Talk about synergy.
But like Pace, Fox — despite his connections to the Bears’ new GM and consultant Ernie Accorsi – needed to shine in his interview.
The Bears confirmed that Fox was interviewed for their head-coach opening on Wednesday at Halas Hall, just 48 hours after he parted ways with the Broncos. The interview lasted into the early evening.
There’s a theory that the Bears brass wants to pair Pace, an up-and-comer at 37, with an experienced coach. But chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips have been clear that Pace will make the final call on the next coach.
Pace has taken Accorsi’s recommendations, but also came to Halas Hall with his own list, which wasn’t bound by age, experience, level or side of the football.
It’s about having the right fit and feel.
Greg Gabriel, the former Bears director of college scouting who worked with Fox as a Giants staffer, said Fox was “interviewing Ryan Pace and Ted Phillips just as much as they’re interviewing him,” but said he believed Fox was a good fit.
“I’m a really good judge of character,” Pace said last week. “I have good instincts. That helps me as an evaluator. And that applies to finding the right head coach too. You feel it.”
Pace only revealed that he’s drawn to coaches in the mold of the former Saints co-worker Sean Payton.
Fox was his fourth interview, following Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Bowles on Thursday and former Bills coach Doug Marrone and Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Wednesday.
“My experience in New Orleans, the relationship between the head coach and general manager, that’s critical,” Pace said. “So is the head coach and the quarterback. Those are the two most important relationships in the building.”
That said, former Texans, Redskins and Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan could be part of Fox’s plan, according to a source familiar with the Bears’ search.
Shanahan, 35, posted to two top-five offenses in Houston and led Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III’s breakout rookie season in 2012.
The NFL’s coaching carousel, meanwhile, spun. The Jets hired Bowles, and the Bills introduced former Jets coach Rex Ryan. he 49ers promoted defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and the Raiders hired former Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
If the Bears hire Fox, he and Del Rio could compete for the same Broncos assistants.
Austin has a second interview with the Falcons on Thursday. Marrone, perhaps as a sign of where he stands with the Bears, interviewed for the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator opening Wednesday, according to the Florida Times-Union.
Former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who the Bears interviewed last week, remain available.
Contributing: Patrick Finley