PHIL RECOGNIZE TRILL
“Who’s baddest on the block? What’s my status in the game?”
Phil Emery came into the Bears organization and immediately did what Jerry Angelo failed to do during his tenure. He addressed the Bears biggest need right away, instead of facing the same issues over multiple off-seasons. From 2008-2011, the offensive line was the Bears biggest weakness every single off-season. This year was the first time since then that the Bears needed to upgrade a different position more than the line. Emery came to Chicago with an unbiased opinion and accurately pointed at the WR position as the big weakness on the roster.
Ever since Jay Cutler came to the Bears we have been yelling for a big bodied WR to throw to. Somebody that could resemble the kind of target that he had back in Denver when he went to the Pro Bowl. Somebody who can make adjustments to the ball downfield and take advantage of Cutler’s ability to make throws through tight windows.
I asked Phil Emery to do two things for this team when he signed on. The first thing was to sign a free agent WR that could be the number one target for Cutler. The second thing was to draft one of five WRs that have the potential to become a #1 receiver in the NFL.
Phil Emery came through brilliantly on both of those wishes. He didn’t just settle for one of the three free agents WRs worth targeting, he traded for one that is better than all three of them and that already has an established rapport with Jay Cutler. Still, he wasn’t satisfied with adding just one WR. He then drafted the WR with the highest ceiling in the 2012 draft. Alshon Jeffery has the athletic potential to become the best WR out of the entire draft class, better than Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd.
Emery came to Chicago and projected this aura of competence that we hadn’t seen from the Bears GM position in decades. From his early press conferences, it was clear that he understood the Bears did not have an offensive roster up to 2012 NFL standards. So he did something about it. He identified the problem and addressed it. There’s no guaranteeing that it will work out, but with the actions he took, there’s a damn good chance that it will work out.
Phil Emery also identified the two biggest weaknesses of the defense. The Bears obviously needed a pass rusher and they are far from set at the safety position. When the Bears selected Shea McClellin most of us were wondering who that was. While we may have been expecting them to pick Whitney Mercilus or Chandler Jones, Phil Emery identified a player that he liked more than anyone and took him without hesitation. Even if you don’t know anything about defensive line technique if you watch some tape of McClellin running around a football field, you can tell that he’ll find his way to the QB. He is capable of fast, fluid movements that will allow him to get past defenders.
After the Bears made their first two picks I wondered if they would spend a draft pick on a safety after the Angelo regime had missed so many times in the past. In a move I didn’t expect, Emery went after one in the 3rd round. Even though everything about this selection screams “Lovie pick,” the truth of the matter is safety is a position that still needed to be upgraded. Major Wright is not a legitimate starting safety in the NFL, he is a backup. While he may start the season atop the depth chart, the Bears have brought in somebody else who can challenge for his spot. Regardless of how much we believe Lovie has a boner for Major Wright, if somebody else can come in and play the position at a higher level, he will go with that somebody else.
We don’t know for sure how any of the Bears picks will turn out but, now that it’s over, most of us came out with the feeling that Phil Emery has a general idea of what the game is about. Between free agency and the draft, we can feel confident that the Bears now have a GM that actually knows what he’s doing. It’s a very unfamiliar feeling but I like it.