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Gruden worth call, but maybe not best for Bears

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Northwest Herald sports writers Tom Musick and Joe Stevenson face off:

Musick: Hey, Joe. First things first: Happy New Year! Second things second: What do you make of the Bears’ coaching search? If you were general manager Phil Emery, would you sniff around regarding the availability of somebody such as Jon Gruden?

Stevenson: I believe the Bears will look for an offensive coach. Their last three head-coaching hires have been defensive guys, but it’s an offense-driven league now. Gruden fits that profile and is an intriguing possibility, but I’m not sold on him being the right fit. He’ll probably be pretty expensive too. Not sure how much of a consideration that will be for Emery.

Musick: I agree with you that the Bears should go after an offensive-minded coach. Another season filled with three-and-outs might give Bill Swerski and all of his Superfan friends another heart attack. Daaa Bears.

I would make a call to Gruden to gauge his interest. After all, he’s a Super Bowl-winning coach, and we all know that he loves to work with quarterbacks. But if Gruden says no thanks or if the price is too steep, which candidate catches your attention the most at this point?

Stevenson: I don’t know a lot about some of the candidates, but I like what Mike McCoy has done in Denver and what Bruce Arians has done in Indy. Sure, McCoy has that Manning kid, who’s pretty good, but the Broncos even won a playoff game with Tim Tebow last year. Arians did a heck of a job with a very talented rookie, Andrew Luck, this season and had a head-coaching audition when Chuck Pagano was battling cancer. I’m good with hiring a hot coordinator.

Musick: I’m with you, Joe. McCoy and Arians both come with great qualifications and have proved that they can succeed with a wide range of quarterbacks. When Arians was the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator in 2002, he won nine games with Tim Couch as his quarterback. Imagine what he could do with Cutler.

No matter what, I trust that Emery will do his homework before naming the Bears’ next head coach. He really impressed me during his lengthy news conference last week, and I would guess that he selects someone with a similar passion for football and attention to detail.

Under Lovie Smith, the Bears almost always were good. Let’s see whether the next coach can make them great.

Stevenson: It’s encouraging Emery has impressed people so far. This is a huge hire for Emery. He hasn’t been on the job for a full year and this is way more important than a draft pick or signing a game-changing free agent.

• Write to Northwest Herald sports writer Tom Musick at tmusick@shawmedia.com. Write to Northwest Herald senior sports writer Joe Stevenson at joestevenson@shawmedia.com.

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