Commentary

Weis interested in Bears? Well, duh

Bears already have an offensive coordinator, but that's not stopping former ND coach

Updated: December 7, 2009, 8:29 PM ET
By Melissa Isaacson | ESPNChicago.com

The report said a Charlie Weis confidant confirmed that the recently fired Notre Dame football coach would be interested in the Bears' offensive coordinator position, should it become available.

First thought: Weis needs new confidants. Second thought: Is it really necessary for word to leak out to the Chicago Sun-Times -- or any other media outlet -- for the Bears or any other NFL team to know that Weis is available?

[+] EnlargeCharlie Weis
AP Photo/Chitose SuzukiCharlie Weis was the New England Patriots offensive coordinator from 2000-04.

No question, the Bears have had their difficulties of late, their judgment in many areas under heavy scrutiny. But given the team's proximity to South Bend and the fact that a can and a string would work even if we didn't have cable TV and the Internet, the Bears' brain trust probably can figure out that Weis not only is available but also might be interested.

The sticking point currently is that the Bears' offensive coordinator position happens to be filled. And despite the facts that the team's offense ranks among the bottom 10 in most categories and that Jay Cutler's zero interceptions (in 23 pass attempts) in Sunday's victory over St. Louis on Sunday was cause for talk of a small but tasteful reception in his honor, Ron Turner is not completely to blame.

In fact, Turner happens to be the most successful offensive coordinator the Bears have had since the early '90s, when he took the job for the first of two tenures.

Although this might qualify as something along the lines of being the tallest guy on your 6-foot-and-under basketball team, remember that under Turner and quarterback Erik Kramer, the Bears set several franchise records on offense in the 1995 season.

Remember also that Turner had five starting quarterbacks in his first stint as Bears' offensive coordinator (1993-96) and has had four in his second (2005 to present), and had winning seasons with four of them -- Kramer, Steve Walsh, Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton.

Also consider that Turner has been handed such starting skill position players as Lewis Tillman, Rashaan Salaam and Justin Gage.

These facts are offered less as defense for Turner's current job performance than as evidence that serving as the Bears' offensive coordinator is like being given 2 pounds of ground beef, a couple of baked potatoes and a bottle of ketchup, then asked to serve a gourmet meal for four.

In other words, Weis should be careful what he wishes for.

It is quite possible that Weis, despite the fact that his personal net worth exceeds that of at least several Notre Dame boosters in contract settlement money alone, is trying to position himself into a nice bidding situation.

[+] EnlargeRon Turner
Warren Wimmer/Icon SMIRon Turner served as the Bears offensive coordinator in the mid-90s, and again from 2005 to the present.

Weis' ill-labeled confidants say he has at least a half-dozen NFL teams interested in his services, although coordinator would seem to suit him better than head coach at this point, particularly if his new boss employs the Bill Belichick assistant-as-mute rule.

Weis has been making up for lost time ever since getting out of being muzzled by Belichick, with this past weekend and Weis' ridiculous comments about Pete Carroll at the very least probably keeping him out of the running for the ESPYS this year.

Weis certainly built up some impressive credentials in New England, guiding the Patriots' offense to three Super Bowl titles in four years. But unless he brings along Tom Brady, Corey Dillon circa 2004, Deion Branch circa Super Bowl XXXIX and any of his Patriots' offensive lines, Weis does not guarantee anything more than Jerry Angelo gives him. And we all know the current condition of the Bears' cupboard.

Yes, it would be fun for someone to mold Jay Cutler into the quarterback his skills suggest he can be. But raise your hand if you can envision Weis and Cutler, with their personalities, enjoying a harmonious union. It's also tough to imagine Lovie Smith warmly welcoming the guy who might be looking to replace him.

Asked Monday about the situation and Weis' reported interest in the Bears, Smith's post-win buzz was nearly killed.

"You'd like for me to comment on something Charlie said?" Lovie asked. "I can't comment. I wouldn't know anything about that. We have an offensive coordinator in place now."

Asked how he thought Weis might do back in the NFL, Smith replied, "I have no idea how he would do. He was a good coordinator when he was back there then. But that's all I would say."

Decent advice for Weis right about now.

Melissa Isaacson

Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for espnW.com, ESPN Chicago and ESPN.com. The award-winning writer has covered Chicago sports for most of her 31-year career, including at the Chicago Tribune before joining ESPN in 2009. Isaacson has also covered tennis since 1986.

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