If Phil Emery moves on to the second stage of his all-encompassing search for Lovie Smith's replacement, the Bears' general manager won't be held back from speaking to many of his candidates a second time after what happened in the divisional playoffs Saturday and Sunday.
Bears candidates Tom Clements (Green Bay Packers), Rick Dennison (Houston Texans), Keith Armstrong (Atlanta Falcons), Darrell Bevell (Seattle Seahawks) and Mike McCoy (Denver Broncos) were all involved this weekend in the playoffs. But only Armstrong's Falcons are still playing.
Assistant coaches who are on teams that make a conference title game or the Super Bowl have a harder time landing a head-coaching job. After Sunday, teams looking for a coach can't conduct any initial or second-round interviews with assistants who are still in the playoffs until the open week before the Super Bowl, per NFL rules. Teams typically don't want to wait that long.
In other words, Clements, Dennison, Bevell and McCoy are there for the "talking" if Emery wants.
It's believed that Emery, who was scheduled to meet with Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians on Sunday, will enter the second stage of the interview process this week.
He said that he'll introduce his finalists to Bears chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips, before making his final decision.
"After the first round, or you if want to call it waves ... after we're at the point where we feel we have good quality candidates to select two or three as finalists, we will either have them come to us or go to them so we have an opportunity for them to talk to George or to talk to Ted and that George and Ted can interact with them and get a feel for them," Emery said weeks ago. "At the end, the final decision will be mine."