If it's possible to "win" a press conference, Phil Emery did just that when he addressed the media following his firing of Lovie Smith back on New Years Day. If we would have done an approval rating at that time, it assuredly would have been skewing towards favorable. Even those Pro-Lovie fans that were livid with their guy being fired had to admit that Emery appeared to know his stuff. Optimism was running high.
Fast forward to over a dozen head coaching candidates on the interview list, and the optimism has started to shift to confusion.
Most fans were on board with the hotshot young offensive coordinator types. We were fine with the young up and coming special team coaches. Our excitement may have peaked when veteran offensive mind Bruce Arians was mentioned, but then some were concerned with his age. Then he was hospitalized before the Colts playoff game, and some started showing concern with Emery's search method.
Then he dipped into the CFL ranks, and some fans started to really turn on his process. Forget about the fact that Marc Trestman was a long time NFL guy before going up North. Fans started wondering about the direction the search was taking.
So far Emery was only looking at coaches with no NFL head coaching experience, until last night when news broke that he planned to interview former 49ers head coach Mike Singletary. Even hardcore meatballs that have been begging for passion and fire from a Bears head coach, were left scratching their heads at this decision.
The Twitterverse started speculating that this interview was a favor to the McCaskey family, and I really hope that's not the case. The 1985 Chicago Bears are a phenomenal part of the franchise's history, but making your G.M. interview one of those guys is asinine. If this is just another guy that Emery wants to gather intel on, then fine, I'm perfectly OK with that. But if this is a candidate being force fed because of his past glory, then it's taken all the good will the Emery regime has gained, and flushed it down the crapper.
The McCaskeys need to let the man do his job, and you know what, that's also something that can be said for the frustrated fans looking for him to get on with the hire already.
Let the man do his job.
The way I see it, Phil Emery is just being thorough. He has a particular kind of coach he's looking for, and until he has an opportunity to interview every assistant coach he has his eyes on, there's no harm in filling his time thickening up his Coach-Files. Emery hasn't had a chance to interview Tom Clements of the Packers, or Darrell Bevell of the Seahawks, and who knows which other assistants, that are currently prepping for playoff games, are on his radar.
Talking to as many coaches as possible is no different a process than interviewing every single rookie at the NFL Combine. A team may only acquire a handful of rookies, but it's good to have a file on hundreds of potential Chicago Bears. You never know when you'll need to add to your coaching staff, so why not have files on several potential new hires at your fingertips as well?
In the few encounters Phil Emery has had with the media, he's come across as a very detail oriented, and meticulous person. He's been described as a tireless worker, and as a strong-minded individual. Does this prolonged search really surprise you?
I wonder if fans would rather Emery sit on his hands and do nothing while he waits for the next assistant to be made available to him. I'll bet if Emery were patiently waiting for his next guy to be eliminated from the playoffs, and conducting zero interviews in the meantime, the backlash would be just as puzzling. As Uncle Rico once said, "Might as well do something while you're doing nothing."