On the one hand, Bears coach Lovie Smith has empowered his assistants to interview for other jobs, especially promotions. But on the other, the Bears are at a difficult point in the offseason.
Now comes word that the Tennessee Titans are reportedly interested in Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice as their offensive corrdinator.
The NFL Combine is just 10 days away, and the Bears would have a difficult time replacing Tice, not only because of what he did in 2010 but because of who is out there to replace him.
Only a couple of jobs are unfilled, and the most high-profile ones are on the defensive side of the ball.
Staffs are largely settled, and they are collectively shifting their focus to evaluating their own rosters and looking ahead to the Combine.
Given the obvious issues to his position group, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say Tice is one of the -- if not the most -- important assistant on Smith’s staff right now. Tice also has a track record of identifying and developing young linemen, particularly in the later rounds.
Although the Bears have their full allotment of draft picks, the club surely would prefer to leave that first-round pick open to the best player available. While that could end up being an offensive lineman, the Bears would prefer to have options. Tice’s input could help develop a strong contingency plan for players in the second- or even third-round.