Phil Emery will have his hands full in Chicago

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By all accounts, new Bears G.M. Phil Emery has a reputation for working hard, and working smart.  He’ll likely need a lot of both once he reports for duty at Halas Hall.

Apart from the inherent awkwardness of being hired to run a football operation with an entrenched head coach who isn’t getting fired any time soon (apparently), Emery faces other challenges in the immediate and not-too-distant future.

Running back Matt Forte has made no secret of his desire for a long-term deal.  If the Bears use the franchise tag on Forte, he can stay away from the team until the eve of the regular season and still earn the full franchise salary for 2012, showing up in something other than prime football shape.

Does Emery regard Forte as a top-tier running back or an interchangeable part?  The manner in which Emery resolves that question will go a long way toward determining Forte’s future in Chicago.

Then there’s the challenge presented by other big-name players who are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning.  Linebacker Lance Briggs hasn’t been happy with his contract (what else is new?), and middle linebacker Brian Urlacher has 12 years of NFL wear and tear.

Throw in the fact that plenty of Angelo’s hires remain in the building, and Emery definitely will earn his salary in the short term, and possibly beyond.

24 responses to “Phil Emery will have his hands full in Chicago

  1. Briggs is never happy with his contract- at this stage, I’d let him play it out or retire. No way the Bears renegotiate.

  2. The Chicago Bears have the most dysfunctional ownership and front office in the NFL and they’re an embarrassment to the city of Chicago. Take a cue from the Chicago Blackhawks and get your act together would you please!

  3. I believe Emery does have the power…I hear a lot of Bears fan complaining about Lovies staff staying on but imo it makes sense. With the talent he has been given the last 7 years he has a pretty damn good record, 3 north titles & a SB appearance. Sure, I dont always agree with his gametime coaching, but he generally has solid game plans and his players prep and play for him. He has 1 year with this group to show Emery if he should continue. Emery has a solid staff in place right now, and can lock in on this very important draft and free agency period for the Bears…

  4. 2012 should be a season of what they can do with the current regime, must be a great season…keyword “must”. If they fail, expect a big turnover.

    All starts with Free Agency and the Draft.

  5. Sad TE is even listed by some as a need in the draft. It was arguably one of the teams strengths with Olson, Davis, and the good vet I can’t think of his name right now. Thanks Martz!

  6. Urlacher is in a contract year also. Do you think he’ll want to play in ’12 without an extension?

    It’s gonna be an interesting year.

    I think Emery was the best hire though, he’s got some damned solid players he scouted, and were drafted in KC and Atlanta.

  7. Re: the power.

    McKenzie in Oakland has the power — first step was firing the head coach.

    Sometimes, a public execution is necessary to make a point.

    Like who is in charge.

    It is not clear to me that, as much as the Bears need it, Phil Emery is in charge.

    Similarly, the Bears’ decision to split the Offensive Coordinator job, between Mike Tice and who knows who else, is baffling. Not clear to me who’s in charge there, either. With Lovie coming from the defensive side, who is really running the offense??!!

  8. My money says that even if the Bears have a lackluster draft and minimal spending in free agency, the Bears will still finish ahead of the Vikings and Lions in the standings next year.

    Some of the Bears personel moves are questionable (Greg Olson trade and allowing Martz control of the offensive roster decisions), but they still have a LOT of talent on that roster. Lovie is still a motivating coach, and barring the load of injuries last year, the Bears would have finished with a much better record.

    Sometimes you can’t prevent the injuries, so I look at their record last year more as a bad luck – blip on their history than as a trend.

  9. It’s an awkward situation for Emery, but I think his first two decisions really need to be elsewhere (and not Forte). They can live with Forte being franchised for a year. He needs to make a decision on two units, IMO, that will dictate their offseason plans.

    LT – Is J’Marcus Webb the answer? With Tice still around, there’s one guy who is likely supportive. Webb was okay, but he needs help and seems a better guy to develop as a RT. But … there really isn’t a quality LT that seems attainable in franchise, and at their spot in the draft, there’s a good chance the top tackles are gone. The rest of the OL is fine (Williams/Garza/Spencer or Louis/Carimi). A Tice, power run, vertical stretch attack offense should help the OL, but they have to make a determination on Webb’s talent level.

    DL – Are Idonije/Melton capable starters for the scheme? I think they probably need to give Melton another go as the primary 3-technique, as there’s simply other needs, but at their spot in the draft, it’s possible, albeit a slim chance, that Devon Still could be available and he might be an upgrade. At end, Idonije showed some age, and Wootton hasn’t developed. They really need a dynamic edge guy to groom.

    I’m not sure what the best answer is on Forte. Looking at loosely similar guys in Edgerrin James/Shaun Alexander/Eddie George, it is hard to imagine Forte, with the heavy use that he’s had in this first four years (and looking solely at carries belies how much pounding he’s taken in pass pro and as a receiver) having more than 3 good years left in the tank. It’s harsh, but franchising him for a year and letting him go might be the best option. I guess they could give him an incentive laden contract and go out and get a legit number 2 back that eases his workload (and limits his abilities to get some incentives), but I’m not sure Forte would agree to that.

    I would like to see them go after a bigger receiving target. A lead target slots everyone in better roles (Hester/Knox as 2/3 guy, Bennett as a 3/4 possession guy). I think they should bring back Kellen Davis as the starter at TE for now … he has better athleticism than people think (remember he played DE at MSU), has solid hands, and is a good blocker. An upgrade can be sought later. CB is a definite need – Tillman’s long been underrated for his career, but he’s aging, and the young guys just haven’t developed.

  10. I think Eddie Royal is a FA this off season. Maybe not a number one but cutler has proven him to b a great number 2 and more than adequate filling in for a number one short term.
    Silly if the bears don’t go after him

  11. So many of these posts sound like a (insert ethnic group of choice here) matriarch, “There you go again with the drama!” I don’t think it is all as complicated as implied. All the questions about a totally solid defense go out the window as soon as the offense brings the time of possession back towards center. Whenever the Bears offense has a game of perpetual 3 and out, the defense gets tired and lets one through. Look at the scoreboard and time of possession in first half of packers game late in the season. The offense needs are obvious and Forte isn’t going anywhere. There is plenty of options for backup quarterback and looks as though they may already have their man the way McCown stepped up with the Martz Chaos Theory offense. Shore up the depth on the O Line, draft a future star receiver, sign an upgrade wide receiver and tie up the loose strings with the defense. As far as not being able to work with Lovie and Ruskell, I find it hard to believe this guy has never had to deal with any strong personalities to get where he has gone. I also find it hard to believe that Smith and Ruskell are not smart enough to work with Emery for the team and to keep their jobs. These guys are professionals and team player as well. I highly doubt their is all that much drama around the Keurig at Halas Hall.

  12. Throw in the fact that every new GM ever has similar decisions to make when taking over, and this article is a complete waste of bandwidth.

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