Getting to Know New Bears General Manager Phil Emery

Reading through the comments in yesterday's Emery announcement thread, I get the impression that Phil Emery - who I've confused in Google-searching with Blackhawks backup goaltender Ray Emery on more than one occasion (...what?) - is receiving a mixed reception as either the front-office equivalent of Tyler Hansborough, a workaholic who works hard at working really hard, or as the savior to all things Beardom with an incredible eye for talent... which may or may not come about through working really really hard.

With all that being said in quite possibly the longest run-on sentence in blogging history (which given the Internet is probably an accomplishment in and of itself)... I suppose I fail to see why being a hard-working, nose-to-the-grindstone workaholic is a bad thing when it comes to the front-office positions of keeping the football team staffed with guys with actual ability at their actual positions.

So the phrase "hard worker" was attributed to current ex-GM Jerry Angelo. It was also attributed to another guy who, so far, has built up a pretty solid team up north: Ted Thompson.

Thompson spent eight years with the Packers in various personnel roles between 1992 and '99 before returning as general manager in 2005. Emery brings a similar reputation as a blue-collar scout and workaholic who figures to spend a good portion of his years on the road personally scouting college players.

So I guess he'll need a free-agency coordinator. Sarcasm aside, under Thompson's model, last year's Super Bowl champion Packers (a notion that still makes me gag reflexively) included 49 players that Thompson brought on, be it free agency, draft or trade market. Even accounting for that taking place over a five year stretch, that's still a lot of turnover.

But certainly Thompson had carte blanche to fire whomever he wanted, hire whomever he wanted and make every change immediately, right? Well, when Thompson was brought on, not only did he retain much of the front office staff, he stuck with coach Mike Sherman for a season (taking note, Lovie-bashers?) before canning him and hiring Mike McCarthy. So keeping Lovie for another year doesn't automatically mean the end of all worlds is coming immediately.

And aside from retaining Lovie for 2012, according to Sean Jensen, the Bears' won't tie his hands in any sense - he'll get to retain any scouting staff, including Tim Ruskell, that he so chooses.

Which could be an interesting nugget in itself.

But it'll be curious to see what Emery does with Ruskell. In 2004, Ruskell provided Emery his break in the NFL, naming him the college scouting director of the Falcons. Ruskell, at the time, was the Falcons' assistant general manager.

But one league source who worked with Emery said the Bears new GM won't be threatened by Ruskell, who, before joining the Bears, had been the president and general manager of the Seattle Seahawks. Not lacking in confidence, Emery will make an informed decision with one overriding idea in mind: what's best for the Bears.

Odds are that Ruskell will not be retained and could be let go before the veteran free agency period that begins in March.

You'll also note another Ted Thompson comparison in there relating to his work ethic and teammate demeanor, as well as...

Three league sources said Emery possesses a clear vision for shaping a franchise, one he articulates clearly without superficiality.

Dan Pompei also jumps on the Emery-train...

A GM should be able to think outside the box. More than anything, he has to see a big picture. And that's really why Emery will be introduced as the Bears' new GM on Monday.

In two interviews, Emery impressed team President Ted Phillips and Chairman George McCaskey with his vision, his command of the room and the depth of his plan.

The Bears were looking for passion and commitment. They wanted someone who could communicate well but also someone who could listen. They wanted a strong personality.

It sounds like Emery can really talk a good game. Let's hope he can deliver for the Bears. And if so, maybe in Google searches I'll stop typing Ray instead of Phil.

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