Since being named General Manager of the Chicago Bears, we've heard a lot about Phil Emery as a hard-working, nose to the grindstone, scout with a vision kind of guy. Since his first press conference, we've been inundated with articles both in praise of what he said and condemning what he said (and sometimes how he said it). I'm not going to go into detail about my thoughts on the hiring (fyi: not jumping for joy but excited and anxiously waiting to see what he does). Instead, let's take a look at why Emery is the perfect man to be General Manager of the Chicago Bears. Jump in support of bunnies (hop, hop, get it?).
Last weekend, after the second interviews of Emery and Licht were completed, it became clear with all the rumors and reports that Emery was the leading candidate for the G.M. position. Before that, though, when we were looking at five candidates (Marc Ross, Licht, Emery, Ruskell, and Jimmy Raye), it was clear that really there were only two viable candidates that made the most sense in terms of how Bears' management operates: Ruskell and Emery.
While management's decision to kick Angelo where the good Ditka put his brain was surprising, keeping Lovie Smith set off some flares about how far-reaching the impending change would be. If they, Phillips and McCaskey, were interested in a complete rehaul, Lovie would've been gone too and a new G.M. would be given carte blanche immediately in all aspects of personnel, both coaches and players. G.M. candidates such as Ross, Licht, and Raye would've been viewed as excellent candidates by the Bears' front office for that scenario, but in terms of how the Bears currently operate, they were strong candidates, but in the end not what the higher-ups were looking for.
With Emery now, it is clear that Bears' management wanted someone with a strong background in scouting college players to improve on Jerry's
putrid spotty draft record, and previous G.M. experience was non-essential. To be fair, every candidate has some background in scouting on a collegiate level, and Emery's past involvement with a variety of picks with the Bears, Falcons, and Chiefs holds up well against the other four G.M. candidates, and has already been debated numerous times on this site and others. So then, what was it that made Emery stand out from the other candidates? His history with the Bears.
Emery already "served time" in Chicago, so he had an edge over all other candidates except for Ruskell; essentially, management knew what kind of guy they were getting because he already worked there. Plus, Emery knew how the Bears operate their organization, maybe not from a position as G.M., but even lower-level employees get a good sense for how any franchise or business is run. So, the Bears were comfortable with Emery, he was comfortable with the Bears, and he had a resume that looked solid on paper and made some strong points during his interviews. Should've been obvious to us fans knowing that the chances of the Bears reinventing how their organization runs is as likely as Lovie inviting Mike Martz to Christmas next year.
Even though Tim Ruskell had experience as well in Chicago, his time here was tainted by his association with Jerry Angelo. I don't know what to think of Ruskell - bum rap in Seattle or just a bum - but once Jerry Angelo was forced out, Ruskell was either going to be promoted or fired. And despite attempts by the media (and certain WCG paranoids) to propagate Ruskell's ascension over the proverbial corpse of his fallen friend (like Caesar, but with two of three Stooges), Ruskell didn't stand a chance. He was given an interview, yes, an opportunity to see if the front office was willing to just turn things over to him. But, he didn't wow them, and in the end, his time with the Bears ended in similar fashion to Jerry's (yes, it was "mutual" while Angelo was canned, but whatever).
Hindsight is twenty-twenty, and looking back at the search, the candidates, and how the Bears' front office operates, we should have expected Emery to be the newest General Manager in Chicago. He has history with the team so he's comfortable and safe, he hasn't been a G.M. before so he won't cost a ton, and he wasn't Tim Ruskell. It wasn't the most dynamic hire in the world (which is fitting if you watched Emery's press conference) but hopefully the Bears finally got a guy that not only fits within the mold of their organization, but excels at doing his job.