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Halas Intrigue Bears Report: Comings and goings

Halas Intrigue Bears Report
Plenty of candidates have come to Halas Hall this week, but the Bears don’t appear to be in a rush to hire a new coach and general manager. Read the latest coverage and analysis below.

1. Is a different approach needed?
The Bears are casting a wide net in their searches for a general manager and head coach — 15 known candidates for the GM job and 10 for the head coaching job. Some think it’s too wide. But it might not be wide enough.
Maybe the Bears need to think a little more outside the box. Or outside of their box, anyway. Asking the Bears to do anything unorthodox is risky business, no doubt — the Bears are unorthodox by nature. But it might not hurt to shake things up at Halas Hall.
It’s not the worst tack in the world. In fact, virtually every championship team in Chicago since the 1963 Bears has been the result of some unorthodox/surprising hiring or firing of a head coach.
With their search well underway, there’s still time to get it right this time. Mark Potash looks at some candidates outside the Bears’ current list who could make a difference.
Bears have options outside of their box
2. First priority: Protect Justin Fields
When the Bears finally hire a general manager, and it at this point it looks like the process will stretch into next week or beyond, he’ll need to get right to work addressing the very problems that created this job opening in the first place.
The priority and overarching goal will be to establish the necessary infrastructure for Justin Fields to grow into a franchise quarterback. In order to get there, the Bears must treat him like he already is.
The new general manager must support Fields in a way that Ryan Pace didn’t. When the Bears drafted Fields at No. 11 overall, there weren’t any questions about his talent or potential. The predominant concern was whether the Bears were equipped to develop and enhance what he brought to the table.
So, with the first year of Fields’ precious, incredibly economical rookie contract essentially wasted, the new general manager must aim to make the most of the remaining three years before the Bears are forced to either extend him with a huge contract (a good problem) or draft his successor (an actual problem).
New Bears GM’s top priority: Protect QB Justin Fields at all costs
3. Fit the Bill
The admiration between Marv Levy and Bill Polian is such that each man was the presenting speaker at their respective Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinements: Levy in 2001 and Polian in 2015.
So it was no surprise to hear Levy touting the man hired to guide the Bears through their dual coaching and general manager searches.
“The Bears could not — could not — have picked a better person for that search than Bill,” Levy said. “I’ve known a lot of people in all my years in the game. I grew up in Chicago as a kid way back in the ’30s, as a Bears fan. Bill Polian to me is the keenest mind in the game. I was so grateful to be able to work with Bill in every respect. He has respect for everybody in the organization. He answers to the owners. The insights he has are just unbelievable.”
At 96 years old, the former Chiefs and Bills head coach is still as sharp as a No. 2 pencil on the first day of school. Speaking on the phone from his home across from Lincoln Park’s North Pond, Levy said his hometown team — he grew up at the corner of 71st Street and Stony Island Avenue on the South Side — is in good hands.
Marv Levy: Bears couldn’t have picked a better consultant than Bill Polian
4. In other news
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