Emery introduced as Bears GM

Phil Emery presented a thorough plan for improving the Chicago

Bears, and team president Ted Phillips loved his attention to

detail and his toughness from his days as a strength and

conditioning coach at Navy.

That’s how Emery became the top choice to become the team’s new

general manager. And when Phillips called around the league and

talked with other GMs, coaches and executives to get their take, he

heard nothing that challenged his initial impression.

”Nobody had a negative thing to say about Phil Emery, so I

became intrigued early on,” Phillips said.

Emery was introduced Monday as the Bears GM, taking over after

Jerry Angelo was fired following an 8-8 season that featured the

Bears faltering down the stretch after injuries to quarterback Jay

Cutler and running back Matt Forte.

During Angelo’s 11-year run, the Bears won four division

championships, reached the Super Bowl and got back to the NFC

championship game after the 2010 season. But Angelo, who had been

under contract through 2013, was undone on several fronts –

especially when backup Caleb Hanie struggled mightily after Cutler

was hurt.

Chicago has missed the playoffs four out of the last five

seasons.

The 53-year-old Emery actually worked under Angelo when he was a

Bears area scout from 1998-2004. His final year in that post

overlapped for five months with coach Lovie Smith, whose future

Emery will now determine.

Emery made it clear that he’s his own man and not following in

the footsteps of Angelo, who like Emery had an extensive scouting

and personnel background before getting his first GM job.

”I’m a very different person than Jerry. I worked for Jerry. I

respect him. But we both come from different backgrounds as any two

people would,” Emery said. ”My influences are different.”

Emery spent the three previous seasons as director of college

scouting for the Kansas City Chiefs. From 2004-08, Emery held a

similar post with the Atlanta Falcons. Among his several college

coaching stops were stints as conditioning and strength coach at

both Tennessee and Navy.

There are areas where he is not as experienced. Emery said

during his stay with the Falcons he became familiar with salary-cap

issues, but acknowledged he would have to rely on Bears lead

contract negotiator Cliff Stein.

Emery and New England Patriots director of pro personnel Jason

Licht were finalists and both interviewed twice. The Bears also

interviewed San Diego Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy

Raye, New York Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross, and

former director of player personnel Tim Ruskell.

Ruskell and the Bears parted ways by mutual decision Monday, a

team spokesman said, so Emery now has a vacancy to fill.

Phillips said Emery’s previous stint with the Bears was not a

major consideration in him being hired.

”The familiarity really had no bearing at all,” Phillips said.

”I mean, he was an area scout so you really only saw him at draft

time for a couple of weeks so I really didn’t have a relationship

with him.

”But what you do find out is – you did sense even back then –

that he had convictions in his evaluations even back then. You saw

a little start of what might be traits of a general manager but

really had nothing to do with the fact that he worked here.”

Phillips’ mandate for his new GM was an ability to work with

Smith and close the talent gap in the NFC North with the Packers

and more recently the Detroit Lions. He said he also wants the

Bears to be more productive with their higher picks.

As for his relationship with Smith, Emery said he, Smith and all

members of the coaching staff and football operations department

will be evaluated daily.

He praised the schemes Smith has brought to the Bears and said

he would do everything possible to be in synch with Smith and work

with him toward building a championship through the draft and free

agency.

”I have great respect for what Lovie has done,” Emery said

during a nearly hour-long news conference at Halas Hall. ”The

consistency of teaching, of being systematic is very important. I

would say that the Naval Academy taught me more in that area than

any other coaching assignment.

”We had players who were under extreme stress in their daily

activities and it was very important that the scheme stayed the

same so that we could play fast. … When I watch Lovie Smith’s

defense those players play fast because they know the scheme. So

consistency is important.”

Phillips said Emery has the power to hire and fire a head coach

and final say on the 53-man roster but he doesn’t expect there to

be any problems.

”The idea is you work together to find the best team for the

Bears,” Phillips said. ”I don’t know of a single team that’s been

successful with a general manager jamming players down the coach’s

throat.”

Emery, who said he watched tape or six or seven Bears games

before his first interview and even more before the season, praised

Cutler and veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher, who will be entering

his 13th NFL season as the Bears’ marquee defensive player.

”I’ve heard rumblings that there is age on our roster,” Emery

said. ”I kind of look at it this way: It’s not a numerical number.

It’s whether you are making plays. If it was just a numerical

number and number of gray hairs, I wouldn’t be standing here.”