Q: Jeff, Please tell me why the Bears are not going after Mike Nolan right now? We're going to end up with a second-rate bum, I can feel it. -- Bobby Lee, Chicago
A: First of all, while it has been accurately pointed out that Nolan has worked at one time in a 4-3 scheme, his trademark is the 3-4, which we all know the Bears will not be running next season. Nolan landed in Miami, which is a good fit because the 3-4 already is in place. Plus, his parting with the Broncos was "mutual," so my guess is Nolan already had another job in mind (Dolphins) before he left Denver. Remember, Nolan is a former head coach and decorated defensive coordinator. He likely wants final say on all things defense. That would not happen in Chicago for obvious reasons. Would you come here if you were Nolan?
Q: It seems like Mike Martz would be the best choice for offensive coordinator. Why do you think Lovie Smith is taking so long? Do you think he wants Martz? Wouldn't it be smart to get him or whoever else in early so he can start implementing the system? -- Jason Howell, Virginia Beach, Va.
A: If the Bears truly felt Mike Martz was the best choice, they already would have hired him. That's not to say Martz isn't still somewhat in the mix, because the longer this thing drags out, Martz might become a more attractive candidate. The good news for the Bears is that it doesn't sound like Martz is being pursued by anybody else, so if all else fails, he will be available. Hiring Mike Tice is interesting, because that clearly signals the Bears (Smith) still want to run the ball. With Martz, you don't run much, so that probably is working against him when it comes to reaching a philosophical agreement with Smith. Then there's the Jay Cutler factor. Cutler has been involved in this process since the day Ron Turner got fired -- some wonder if he's been too involved -- so Martz and the quarterback would have to see eye to eye on certain things. I agree it's better to get this done sooner rather than later, but for a variety of reasons, this process is taking some time.
Q: With so many holes (secondary, defensive line, offensive line, wide receiver, running back) this year and not having a draft pick until the third round, will the Bears actually sign any key free agents? If so what areas will they give their attention to first? -- Matthew McGnarly, New Castle, Del.
A: Is that really your last name? McGnarly? Anyways, in my opinion, the Bears need immediate (and preferably veteran) help at safety, defensive end, wide receiver and running back. That's a tall order to fill given the expected depletion of the free-agent pool. Figuring out safety is essential. If that means moving Charles Tillman from corner to safety, then do it. If that means making another run at 34-year-old Darren Sharper, then do it. Unfortunately, O.J. Atogwe, Nick Collins and Antoine Bethea are scheduled to be restricted free agents, so they are probably out of reach. The Bears just need some consistency at that position, and the blame doesn't fall solely on the players on the roster. Bottom line: It's going to be a tough offseason trying to navigate through free agency.
Q: Does Rob Chudzinski have any relationship with Greg Olsen? Would he be a good fit here? -- Peter Stallings, Des Moines, Iowa
A: Yes, Olsen said Monday he worked with Chudzinski for one season (2003 redshirt year) at the University of Miami. Based on his past work with tight ends such as Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow and Antonio Gates, Chudzinski's arrival would be an enormous benefit for Olsen. However, as we mentioned over the weekend, it might be tough to leave San Diego, given that Norv Turner was just awarded a contract extension. Plus, who knows what kind of feedback Chudzinski is receiving from Turner (his brother was just fired here) and all the former Bears coaches on his staff, not to mention Philip Rivers. Something tells me Rivers isn't giving any glowing recommendations about Cutler. But who knows, only time will tell.
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Q: I'm a diehard Ravens' fan. Has Hue Jackson been rumored to be the Bears next offensive coordinator? -- Robert G., Baltimore
A: Mike Lombardi of the National Football Post mentioned Jackson over the weekend as a potential candidate for the Bears job. Jackson has been Joe Flacco's quarterbacks coach in Baltimore the past two seasons, and spent one year as offensive coordinator in Atlanta -- the same season Bobby Petrino resigned in mid-December. From 2004 to '06, Jackson coached receivers in Cincinnati, and previously spent time in Washington. He has a fairly impressive résumé, and might be worth taking a closer look at.
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