Do You Trust Phil Emery?

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April 26, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; General manager Phil Emery during a Chicago Bears press conference announcing their first-round selection of guard Kyle Long from Oregon University at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears face another offseason watching the action from their couches instead of on the field.  When Phil Emery replaced Jerry Angelo a couple of seasons ago, he made his mission statement really clear – WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS.  After two seasons under his leadership, are the Bears any closer to that goal?

In his short tenure with the Bears, Emery has confirmed a few things about himself as a GM – he’s meticulous, forthright and unconventional.  But the most important question facing Bears fans has yet to be answered – DO YOU TRUST PHIL EMERY?  We still have a limited sampling, but there is evidence that we can dissect to help us at least form an early opinion.

Let’s look at the Bears’ lengthy press conference earlier this week.  I was very pleasantly surprised to hear GM Phil Emery pointing thumbs instead of fingers.

On his first draft pick Shea McClellin:

“When we needed a pass rusher to step up, Shea contributed greatly in terms of our overall production,” Emery said. “No matter how we shake out the stats as far as the importance of the person on the field to our pass rush, Shea was No. 1. But he did not have enough impact plays. Sacks are king, and Shea did not have enough of those.

“What we have to do with Shea is find ways to use the unique talents and skills of the players that we have. Putting him at defensive end, that’s on me, not giving him the ultimate opportunity to succeed. He produced in a positive way, but the overall impact of the last two seasons has not been at a high enough level.”

On the trouble at the safety position:

“Needed another safety to provide competition to improve our group,” Emery said. “That’s on me. I selected Brandon Hardin. I put that young man in a bad position to succeed, moved him from a corner to a safety, and he wasn’t able to make that transformation, and that’s on me.”

On the lack of defensive depth, particularly on the defensive line:

“There was a dramatic dropoff,” Emery said. “I have to look at did we have enough depth to win football games? The answer is no, OK? From a personnel perspective and from my perspective, I had not done enough to provide enough depth.

“We were at least one defensive lineman short at the tackle position going into the season. For that fourth tackle, we felt like we had a tackle signed in Sedrick Ellis. That didn’t work out. That’s on me.

“The fact that we couldn’t replace Sedrick, that’s on me. We didn’t have enough pass rush from the outside or the inside. We needed one more. (Rookie) David Bass came in and did a very good job against the run, but he’s a young rusher. We needed one more there.”

Those are the kind of direct and pointed words and self-criticism that you’d never have heard from the previous regime.  But in hearing Emery’s “mea culpa’s” it also makes you ask, does this guy know what the heck he’s doing? 

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  • Lloyd A Brodnax

    Let’s hope he gets it right this upcoming draft? Hire Todd McShay or some other consultant that specializes on defensive players… Do something 2get it right this upcoming draft and any FA (free agents)…we need some hitters and safeties and pass rushers and finally a new defensive scheme and DC

  • Thompson Way

    After Angelo, Emery is doing much better. We have to be kidding ourselves, that the experts announcing the draft know better about the draft picks than Emery. The draft is a crap shoot, and how many first rounders get benched in their first year. Enough!
    I trust Emery, but the only thing that bothers me is when he talks up Shea. When in reality, he stinks in the position that they put him in. There was two other DE in the draft, in the same area, that have done much, much better.

  • George Hotchkiss

    I grade both Phil Emery and Mark Trestman at C+. Last year Emery drafted Shea first when he should have improved the O line. This year he let a bunch of defensive players go we could have used. Trestman and his staff were out coached badly in several games, especially in Philadelphia. I don’t care what he say’s as a lifelong Bears fan, I have no confidence the bear’s can return to a team with a defensive swagger with this group. I am dissapointed and not very encouraged. I do believe if we didn’t have a ridiculous rash of injuries we would have made the playoffs, but the team’s defense was weak even before the injuries. I understand that teams must b balanced, but to disassemble the most dangerous defense in the league and turn it into the worst defense in franchise history is inexcusable.