The Chicago Bears are expected to complete their second round of general manager interviews Friday, barely beating the scheduled melting of your local glacier. Unless something veers off the Bears' steady but obviously unhurried course, a new general manager could be in place by the weekend.
It's been nearly three full weeks since the Bears fired Jerry Angelo. Team officials interviewed five candidates last week, one per day, and are bringing two of them back at the end of this week for additional talks. New England Patriots executive Jason Licht is at Halas Hall on Thursday, according to the team, and Kansas City Chiefs executive Phil Emery will have his second round of interviews on Friday.
Numerous media outlets have suggested Emery is the favorite, largely because he once served as a Bears scout and is a workaholic talent evaluator who isn't likely to rock a leadership structure that team president Ted Phillips wants to preserve. Licht's lack of previous ties to the organization make his future plans less certain.
As for the Bears' methodical approach, in all seriousness, I don't think it will prove a big long-term issue. It's true that the Bears' next general manager has missed a chance to hit the ground running at the Senior Bowl this week, but it's not as if he was needed to conduct a coaching search or begin the process of overhauling the roster.
The Bears will do neither in 2012, and the pace of this process is a strong indication of the place the new general manager will have in the Bears' organization. This is clearly not a job that, when unfilled, leaves the organization unable to function. If the Bears intended this job to be the second-most powerful role in the franchise, just below that of Phillips, I imagine they would have moved with greater urgency.
The best way to describe the Bears' next general manager, be it Emery or Licht, is that he will be the team's top talent evaluator and will share in decisions with coach Lovie Smith and others. He will not be an all-powerful guru or a franchise-wide authority figure, at least not any time soon.