FanPost

My Analysis and Grading of Phil Emery's 1st Off-Season as Bears' GM

What's up Bears nation, ECD here, finally returning to write FanPosts after a good 2 months of navy boot camp. I've missed a ton of major moves, but have used some of the free time I've earned to research just what Phil Emery has done to reshape the Bears. Many great moves were made, as well as a couple of head scratchers. Let's see how well Emery has done after the jump.

Article promoted from our fanpost section. Welcome Back ECD, and please enjoy your welcome back gift of a front page spot.

First off, I'm pretty sure I'll miss a couple of minor moves in each position, so feel free to add anything I missed in the comments section after reading my article. Anyway, I'll admit I'm still stunned as to how aggressive Phil Emery and the Bears' front office in general was this year. I knew that big things would happen, but just wow did he shock the world or what!? In one off -season, he pretty much solved all the issues on the former roster. Just about every position on this team has at least 1 notable new addition this season. Let's look at each position to see what's happened.

QBs

Addition(s)

QB Jason Campbell (FA)

Subtraction/Departure(s)

QB Caleb Hanie

Overview

It's good to see Josh McCown returning to the Bears, but it's even better to see that there will be competition for the #2 position behind Jay Cutler. Seeing how poorly Jerry Angelo did to prepare for a worst-case scenario, Phil Emery decided it would be beneficial to sign a proven QB that will add insurance in case Cutler goes down again. This is a QB driven league, and the back-up spot at QB is pretty damn important these days, as we all (unfortunately) witnessed the consequences that will happen if you don't prepare properly for such a situation. With Cutler back to 100%, this is one of the best QB situations in the NFL.

RBs

Addition(s)

RB Michael Bush (FA)

Departure/Subtraction(s)

RB Marion Barber

Overview

In one of the more controversial moves made by any team this year (so far) Phil Emery signed Michael Bush to be the new #2 back and to perhaps push Matt Forte into signing a more reasonable contract with the Bears. In all this talk about Forte's health, position, and demands, I can see why Emery pulled the trigger for one of the better plan "Bs" in the NFL. Granted, Michael Bush isn't Matt Forte by any stretch of the memory, but as he showed in Oakland he can carry a fair share of the load when called to duty. Plus, he adds a real physical dimension to the running game that will compliment Matt Forte. As long as Matt Forte continues to play like a professional and return to the beast he was prior to the injury, I'm confident these two will team up to form one deadly running game.

WRs

Addition(s)

WR Brandon Marshall (Trade w/ Dolphins), WR Eric Weems (FA), WR Devin Thomas, WR Alshon Jeffery (Draft)

Departure(s)

WR Roy Williams, WR Sam Hurd

Overview

This position has by far seen the most change. Phil Emery really deserves a standing ovation for not only identifying the biggest weakness on the team, but for turning said weakness into a possible strength. We go from seeing REW/ Johnny Knox, Devin Hester, and Earl Bennett as the top 3 receivers on the depth chart, to Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Earl Bennett as the top 3. We now have a Pro Bowl QB, reunited and throwing to a Pro Bowl WR. Is that even possible in Chicago!? Looks like Emery wants to go right at Green Bay this year with a far stronger passing game that will surely take advantage of a not-so-good defense. Also to keep in mind; the signing of Weems may show that the uncertainty with Knox's availability is rather high at this point. Anyway, we should see a dynamic passing game next season with a now talent enriched receiving corps.

TEs

Addition(s)

TE Evan Rodriquez (Draft)

Departure/Subtraction(s)

N/A

Overview

In a position that has been under-used the past two years by Mad Martz, we'll see far more involvement with the TE's during the passing game. Evan Rodriguez is a curious prospect, as he draws comparisons from stud TE Aaron Hernandez of the Pats. I'm not sure if he's that good, yet it's rather...optimistic to say the least. Kellen Davis also returns along with Matt Spaeth and Kyle Adams to present a pretty solid looking group heading into training camp.

OL

Addition(s)

OG Chilo Rachal (FA)

Departure/Subtraction(s)

OT Frank Omiyale

Omiyale

Once again, we see very little change in a major headache of a position. Kinda surprised to see virtually no competition added at OT or even depth. We're looking at J'Marcus Webb @ LT and Gabe Carimi @ RT this year. Now, Chilo Rachal does impress me with his run blocking as well as positive grading according to PFF. Also, he will add competition to the interior, possibly at RG with all signs pointing to Chris Spencer moving to Center. Under a new and far less complex/risky offense, maybe our OL will make moderate improvements in protection. I certainly hope Mike Tice knows what he's talking about in regards to his confidence with the OL, one which will see the return of 1st rounders Chris Williams and Gabe Carimi.

LBs

Addition(s)

LB Geno Hayes (FA)

Departure/Subtraction(s)

N/A

Overview

The Geno Hayes signing surprised me a little, and I'm suspecting that he'll have dibs on the Sam LB job heading into the preseason. Lance Briggs ought to feel happy after he got paid with an extension, and Brian Urlacher is still a monster of the midway. A line-up of Briggs, Urlacher, and Hayes should be a great one to watch. Pretty much Phil Emery adding some much needed depth to a position with such a large gap between Urlacher/Briggs and everyone else.

CBs

Addition(s)

CB Kelvin Hayden (FA), CB Johnathon Wilhite (FA), CB Isaiah Frey (Draft), CB Greg McCoy (Draft)

Departure/Subtraction(s)

CB Zachary Bowman

Overview

After Tim Jennings resigned with the Bears, Emery signed a pair of vets to add depth behind Charles Tillman and probably to compete with Jennings for a job. I don't know much about Wilhite, but I do like the signing of Hayden, someone I wanted last year. I didn't expect to see our final 2 draft picks result in another pair of CBs, but both look great and athletic, probably additions to Special Teams. Hopefully, consistency and depth will take shape as time moves forward this year.

S

Addition(s)

S Brandon Hardin (Draft)

Departure/Subtraction(s)

S Brandon Meriweather

The draft selection of Brandon Hardin is the biggest question mark I have with all of Phil Emery's moves. I mean, I know Lovie loves him some 3rd round safeties, but really, another 3rd round safety for the 3rd year in a row? Chris Conte proved to be a surprise as Brandon Meriweather proved to be a large disappointment; however, I don't understand why another safety was chosen in round 3 where say an OL or DT could have been taken instead? Hopefully, Hardin proves valuable this year as presumably a player to push Major Wright for playing time, but I also feel just fine with Conte and Wright as the starters at FS and SS, respectively. I wonder if a vet will be added at some point before OTAs and training camp starts?

DL

Addition(s)

DE Shea McClellin (Draft)

Departure/Subtraction(s)

DT Anthony Adams, DT Amobi Okoye

Overview

Our DT corps took a rather big hit during FA, loosing a major player in the rotation with Okoye. Also, with the release of Adams comes the search for a younger run stuffer to clog holes against the run and to add some pressure against the pass. This has to be resolved ASAP. Good news is that Henry Melton is still a Bear (duh) and that our DE rotation looks great with the re-signing of Israel Idonije and the addition of a speed demon in Shea McClellin to pair with all that is man; Julius Peppers. Our DL is still in decent shape, but we have to find proven run stuffers to help against the running game.

Overall, I'd have to say Phil Emery has done a spectacular job in re-shaping the Bears into what I feel is a heavy weight contender for the Super Bowl this year. Jay Cutler finally has his #1 in Brandon Marshall, a great running game behind him, and a defense that should only be even stronger. My overall grade for this year; A-. How well do you guys think Phil Emery did in his first year as da Bears' GM? Sound Off!

<em>This FanPost was written by a Windy City Gridiron member, and does not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of its staff or community.</em>

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