Black and Blue all over: Ruskell and Bears

It is only a matter of time before longtime NFL executive Tim Ruskell lands in Chicago, according to Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald.

LeGere terms the union "more than likely" and quotes a source saying "it's almost a given" that the Bears will hire Ruskell into the slot vacated by ousted director of pro personnel Bobby DePaul. In his new job, Ruskell likely would be vice president of player personnel.

But David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune suggests the Bears should expand their search and identify an heir apparent to general manager Jerry Angelo, who could be nearing retirement in the next few years. (Although I wonder if Ruskell, who had a similar job in Seattle, would be a candidate to replace Angelo one day.)

Haugh: "That's the most inspired, aggressive way to proceed now for the Bears if they want to ensure they have a trusted football guy in place in anticipation of a regime change in 2011. Start searching now for Angelo's eventual successor and give him whatever title you want in the press release. The role will be obvious."

Angelo's contract runs through 2013.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com doesn't believe Orlando Pace will return as the Bears' left tackle, even under new offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

  • Detroit coaches are grading players twice on their 2009 performances, according to Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press: Once after the season and once after watching cut-up videos of each performance.

  • Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson isn't ruling out using the franchise or transition tag this offseason, although it appears unlikely he will use either. Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette has more.

  • Minnesota assistant defensive backs coach Derek Mason has accepted a job as the secondary coach at Stanford, according to the National Football Post via the Star Tribune.