As they get their head coaching search underway, the Bears have already reportedly circled two top candidates.
Per reports, the Bears have requested an interview with Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reported earlier this morning that the Bears requested an interview with the 48-year old Wilks. Wilks, the defensive coordinator in Carolina, wouldn’t be able to be interviewed until after Carolina’s wild-card matchup against the Saints.
Wilks has a history in Chicago, serving as the defensive backs coach from 2006-2008, reaching Super Bowl XLI with the team. He was fired in 2008 and moved to San Diego with then-defensive coordinator Ron Rivera.
Wilks hasn’t left Rivera’s staff since that 2006 season, moving with him to Carolina after Rivera got hired as the head coach there. He served as the defensive backs coach for the Panthers until 2016, when he was promoted to defensive coordinator after Sean McDermott was hired by Buffalo. Wilks also spent that 2015-2016 season with the title of Assistant Head Coach for the Panthers.
The Bears aren’t the only team vying for Wilks’s services, however. Wilks has already confirmed that three other teams, the Lions, Giants, and Colts, have already requested to interview him. He did not confirm that the Bears have, but since John Fox wasn’t technically fired until around 11:00 AM central time, that makes sense.
Given Wilks’s high standing around the league with his work as a coach, it’s unlikely that these interviews are solely set up to satisfy the Rooney Rule. Many around the league consider Wilks to be one of the top defensive candidates, and it is highly likely he will land a head coaching job somewhere.
The Bears have also reached out to Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
DeFilippo has bounced around the league since 2005, where he started with the Giants as a quality control coach. Since then he has had multiple stints as the quarterbacks coach for the Raiders, and his highest ascension up the coaching ladder was as the offensive coordinator for the Browns in 2015.
DeFilippo’s best body of work, however, is undoubtedly his current one. Under his direction, Carson Wentz has gone from a struggling rookie quarterback to an MVP candidate in his sophomore season.
DeFilippo is almost unilaterally seen as the best head coaching candidate on the Eagles staff, even ahead of either of the coordinators. It’s not often that a positional coach makes the jump to head coach, but DeFilippo is seen as one of, if not the best candidate to ever arise given that criteria.
Like Wilks, the Bears have competition on DeFilippo as well. Mike Garafolo has also reported that the Arizona Cardinals, whose coach Bruce Arians retired this morning, have reached out to the Eagles regarding an interview.
Since the Eagles have a first-round bye, DeFilippo can interview this week. No details on the time, nor officially confirmation of the interview has been publically announced as of yet.