By the end of Sunday, it's possible the Chicago Bears will have concluded their first round of interviews in what has already been an epic coaching search. Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was scheduled to be the 13th known candidate to speak with general manager Phil Emery. If there are more first-round interviews scheduled, they haven't been reported.
My educated guess is that some interviews have been completed in secrecy, so I wouldn't be surprised if Emery has spoken with 15 or more candidates. We've discussed the possibility that Emery is using this opportunity to pick the brains of as many smart assistant coaches as he can, but I think we have also seen an undeniable quality emerge as well.
Here's how Tennessee Titans general manger Ruston Webster put it last week during an interview with my AFC South colleague Paul Kuharsky on 104.5-FM in Nashville: "I know Phil Emery, and Phil Emery is about as thorough of a human being as I've ever known."
Meanwhile, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, two of the coaches Emery has spoken with said "they never have interviewed with anyone as prepared and detailed" as him.
So before we try to ascribe some kind of ulterior motive to Emery's approach, and rather than conclude he is flailing blindly in the night, perhaps this search is best viewed as a physical extension of Emery's meticulous personality. Where and when it ends remains anyone's guess. Former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson tweeted that Emery favored his former assistant, current Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman, but nothing more has come of what appears to be Johnson's personal view.
For the record, here are the Bears' Lucky 13 to this point:
Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong
Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell
New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr.
Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements
Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis
Houston Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison
Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy
Minnesota Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer
Vikings special assistant to the head coach Mike Singletary.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan
Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub